Mardie Whitla and Deidre Ogilvie describe the creation of their botanical installation
Seven artists from Melbourne-based Creativity Cluster began planning for our exhibition, Melbourne: Our Creative Heart, with a group lunch meeting at Beaumaris in early January 2022. We were able to develop this exhibition, thanks to support from a City of Melbourne Arts Grant.
With a wide range of artistic skills, our group had developed a variety of ideas by January 23. One of these ideas was working together in various pairs.
By March we had also decided on bringing to our exhibition three large central artworks.
The emergence of Botanical Splendiferous
Botanical Splendiferous gradually emerged from a joint endeavour by Deidre and Mardie, in Mardie’s garage. Despite the distance between our workplaces (a half hour there and back on each occasion for Deidre), we managed, in true Melbournian manner, a coffee to get us going each visit.
Creating the infrastructure
A couple of bricks, a curtain rod, an antique golf club, a cylinder of chicken wire, various circular bases, an old bike basket, a garden climbing frame, and lots of old newspapers were the beginning of our installation.
A potpourri of objects
As a starting point for gathering our thoughts, we made a list of possible objects.
These included natural objects – flowers in various shapes, trees, water, birds, swans, mushrooms, butterflies, ladybirds, frogs and insects, and stones for paths.They also included manufactured objects, such as statues, garden seats, picnic tables and chairs, flowerpots and green houses.
We shared skills. We shared suggestions regarding placements. We learnt from each other.
A couple of workshops moulding clay, arranging found objects, drift wood, rocks and a drone. A few
ceramic pieces for live flowers, a chimney for small ceramic pieces. To this was added a generous serve
of green spray paint.
Melbourne: Our garden city
All this was assembled, together with the inspiration of the Garden State, as front of mind.
We hope our viewers will smile at our installation and enjoy the outdoor spaces in our garden city.