From Then to Now: Designing Old New Again (Geelong)
Creativity Cluster presented the exhibition From Then to Now at The Reimaginarium in Geelong. The Reimaginarium bills itself as ‘Australia’s home for the best products made from reclaimed materials’.
The exhibition featured products using second-hand or repurposed objects converted into new forms with new uses. This included brooches from street trash; garden furniture repurposed with mosaic inlays; 3-dimensional décor integrating old doilies and lace; artworks on glass shards; wall hangings from reused wool; and collages from vintage posters and textbooks.
The exhibition was part of both Geelong Design Week from 18 – 28 March, and Melbourne Design Week from 26 March – 5 April 2021. Six of the Creativity Cluster artists displayed their works. A ‘sister’ exhibition with the same title was held at The Old Auction House in Kyneton, where works by eight Creativity Cluster artists were on show.
Connected with the exhibition was a workshop called Design a Miniature Cityscape facilitated by NancyDee Sculptures. Participants enjoyed playing with Nancy’s collection of found objects – and some brought their own – to create a range of designs. Once they had decided on their favourite, they glued it to take home.
My works in this exhibition have all been created by recycling or upcycling. Rags left over from manufacture of clothing, old magazines, tiles left over from renovation, wool from a weaver. Scraps and icons that no longer exist, things that were and are no longer. Most of the materials were destined for landfill, but are now recycled and will hopefully enrich somebody’s life.
When I learned the basics of mosaic making in my art school days, I became hooked. However, I had limited knowledge of the long and rich tradition of this amazing medium. In 2008, a trip to Italy enabled me to study ancient techniques and to see both traditional and contemporary mosaics. Since then, I have explored making mosaics in many forms – murals, furniture, garden pieces, sculpture, wall art – both practical and fine art works. As well as the traditional materials of smalti, marble and stone, I enjoy working with ceramics, glass, found objects and polymer clay.
In my collage art I like to reuse old papers to compose a new contemporary artwork. I have been greatly inspired by Matisse’s cut-outs and call it painting with paper. The versatile collage process allows me to express something personal to me, at the same time leaving it open for interpretation by the viewer. From pure design to social commentary, the possibilities of collage are endless. Yellowed pages from vintage books frayed at the edges, old photos and magazines, sheet music stained by time – these are my prized materials. The old and discarded, scraps and off-cuts, very little is wasted in my artworks or my jewellery.
My passion is designing quirky, imaginative wall sculptures and brooches from the metal, wood, tiles and plastic I gather from the streets and beaches of Melbourne and other cities where I work and travel. The weird assortment of identifiable and unidentifiable bits and bobs that have been lost, dropped or discarded in the gutters or washed up by the waves constantly amaze me. I hope that my creative use of such unloved and unwanted found objects will inspire others to refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle.
From Then to Now is the theme of this exhibition by Creativity Cluster. My rendering of a stained-glass window by Marc Chagall reuses part of our old kitchen, dismantled 30 years ago. The pieces were stored for just this opportunity to create something new again. All the elements of this group of artworks use old and discarded materials. I paint mainly in oils, but enjoy the challenge of using different materials. Alcohol ink brings the broken glass to life as shards from the stained-glass window.
Lindsay Hussey was originally attracted to old op-shop doilies and table linen as a way to add texture to her textile work. Now she also wants to extend the life of these once valued household items, often discarded to op-shops when mothers and aunts pass away. To these she adds scraps of lace and fabric, left over from other projects. While the subject matter of each work is different, it’s her use of discarded textiles that brings the past – From Then – to Now.