My Pretties have been made using “precious” things that I have found, collected, or given to me. These “precious” things have been constructed into specimens of imaginary/magical/whimsical/mystical worlds in jar. I have been fascinated through out my life in the way we collect things that perhaps have no monetary value but are rich with memories or evoke a sense of another fantastical/magical world or just simply the child like act of picking up a thing such as a pretty stone and keeping it or giving it as a treasure.
The Canberra textile visual artist Catherine Dabron came up with the jars that have a LED battery lights in the top for props she made for a Radiance Dance Project performance, which I borrowed with permission.
The first 12 Pretties I made were for a “sacred space” at Dragon Dreaming Festival 2011. In 2012 I made more, which were exhibited in “Hey little sister, what have you done?” and at Regrowth Festival 2012. I’ve made over 30, some of which are in private collections.
Using such things as parts of dead flora and fauna sounds macabre and in a way it is – but death is a part of life. Working with these materials is about appreciating the life of what was and giving it a kinda new life; finding and showing their beautiful/mystical/fantastical/whimsical nature and life’s. It’s also playing with how things we perceive as ugly or yukky are also beautiful if you look at them in a different way and from a new perspective.
Each of My Pretties carries a story thru the history of all the different components within, not only how the objects came into my possession but the unknown previous stories. For example My Pretty – a light in a dark place houses dried seaweed from a trip to a wollongong beach, there is the story behind the trip but so too there is a story in how that dried seaweed came upon the beach, the marine life that fed or sheltered in it, how it grew, lived & died. Same with the dragon flies, I found them stuck in my radiator after driving back from North Queensland with a friend, I’m not quite sure when they got stuck in my radiator or what their life was before that, I can only tell you the stories behind why I was driving back from Far North QLD with a friend, why I had my radiator out and how I had to rescue their bodies before being discarded. Most of the bones I or a friend has collected from the side of the road, I’ve cleaned them. I can’t help it when I find a dead bird or other animal I always say sorry before I touch its remains.
I’m deeply indebted to all the people who have given me some of these “precious” things like a hermit a met in North Queensland at a caravan park on my travels up there, a couple few of my friends and a friend of my mothers.