You are all very very very welcome to my first ever solo exhibition “It’s Never Too Late To Mend”.
The show runs from Friday the 13th of April until Sunday the 13th of May. It is showing at Incinerator Gallery in Moonee Ponds, Melbourne. For those who don’t know Incinerator, it is one of Melbourne’s most beautiful buildings. It was originally designed by Walter Burley Griffin (aka the guy that designed Canberra) as an actual incinerator, one of a number he designed at the time. At the time, locals were concerned about the amount of waste going to landfill and decided they wanted an incinerator to turn the waste into clinker ash which could be used on the large number of roads which were being sealed at the time. There’s a great article about the history of the building (including a cute photo of my curator, Richard), here.
While the building wasn’t used for its original purpose for very long, it now exists as one of the greatest community assets in the West. And even decades on, the fantastic design of the building proves that function shouldn’t preclude beauty.
It is truly (a sometimes daunting!) honour to be showing in this wonderful space.
It’s Never Too Late To Mend is part retrospective and part new work and it covers a wide range of mediums from traditional canvas needlework through to large installations, photography and animations.
The timing of this opportunity was perfect. I had just come out of a six month break from ‘work’ craft and over that time I had spent a lot of time reading craft and design history and teaching myself new techinques. Most significantly I re-read The Subversive Stitch (AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ!!!!!) and spent a lot of time considering which direction I wanted to take my craft in. I see most of my work as having two roles: 1. Encouraging creative types to be more political (and more brave) and 2. Encouraging activists to be more creative (and less serious..). But the more I meditated on these ideas, the more I realised that there was a third role that I hoped my work would play which was to encourage better design. Not that I really see myself as a particularly good designer, but I do believe that in this time of global ecological crisis we are facing, if we are going to make stuff, we should make a real effort to ensure it’s bloody good stuff that’s going to be around for a while.
In this exhibition, I have examined the history of needlework design and come to the conclusion that, bar a few exceptional examples, needlework design has been pretty rubbish since the end of the art nouveau and art deco periods. In fact, if you want fine examples of cross stitch design, you’re better off going back further than that.
So I have sought to go back to those times and pick up some of those design techniques and bring them to a new time and place.
It’s Never Too Late To Mend asks creative communities to consider our roles as makers and vision shapers, to consider the urgency of our consumerist climatic crisis: to reflect on our practice and demand the best of ourselves for the sake of our collective imagination.