In a development from my ‘trail of breadcrumbs’ (collecting, making and placing crochet pebbles along my journey), I made a piece in response to an arts group call out from TarpSpace. TarpSpace are an artists run initiative based in Adelaide, some of the artists from which spent much of last year on a road trip around Australia in ‘Henry’s Mobile Studio‘. It was this project I had hoped to have the chance to collaborate with. With dates of my trip not quite matching up with theirs, however, it was a shame not to have been a part of the HMS. Despite that, as an extension of the project (mine and theirs) I was commissioned to make a piece once I arrived in Bexhill, New South Wales. I was also very well looked after in Adelaide by the tarpy crew (arriving just in time to enjoy the fringe as well as Grid Festival) and had the great pleasure to meet Jessie, Jock and Brad.
TarpSpace “aim to work outside of the constraints of traditional gallery spaces. Rather than having the artist fit the work to the space, we want to fit the space to the project. The only consistent factor is the use of a large blue tarpaulin – other than that, how the project develops and where it happens is entirely up to the artist involved…pushing the boundaries of what and where an art space can be.” Jessie Lumb. This worked really well with my own model of practice, often working in public spaces.
Once I arrived in Bexhill, my time was initially spent seeing as much of the area and talking to as many people as I could. While planning for this part of my trip I had anticipated making some work in connection to the train tracks which run through the village, the Open Air Cathedral and/or the disused brickworks, famed for their incredible blue waters. The train tracks and the brickworks won my greatest attention, drawn to things disused and abandoned.
I collected some stones from the train tracks. Along with a pebble from Tasmania that I had collected the previous week, I placed several crochet pebbles/stones on the railway tracks (also long abandoned). I spent time walking along the tracks, imagining what it would have been like when the trains were running. The presence/absence of a train service altering the community considerably.
Then, armed with a shiny new sheet of bright blue tarpaulin, not entirely dissimilar to the shade of water at the brickworks, I set about making a crochet pebble with it. Sited at the brickworks I found a lump of brick suited to the task. I needed to make a larger scale version of the previous ones in order for it to work. The tarp strips needed to be thin enough to crochet but wide enough not to split. This was a trial and error that took me much of my travels along the Queensland coastline to establish a working model. On my return to Bexhill a few weeks later I completed my task and placed the brick back at the brickworks, now covered in blue tarpaulin crochet. A frame was made from the edging of the tarpaulin sheeting, suspended at the boundary of the water. Liz, whom I stayed with, was an able and willing supporter, took photographs documenting the installation and placement of said brick. It, along with my other pebbles and stones have been placed and left. Liz said she would visit to see what happens to it.