Kerala, India January 2004. Arrive at the beach as the catch comes in …the fish gathered into baskets and the nets folded ready to be spread across the sand for drying and mending. Looped and swathed, the laciness stretched over many metres. Incredibly beautiful – organic – pliable – suggesting endless possibilities.
Cumbria UK. Photograph wool trapped on wire fences.
Working on MA project Two Lives, Two Ply… plying Merino wool (Australia) and Herdwick wool (UK) representing my life shared between the two hemispheres. Making wool nets of 5inch gauge as soft versions of fences, the trapped wool becoming the trapper. (K)not Nets.
Draped as installations they integrate with the environment like the nets drying in Kerala. Textiles reform as they adapt to their supports. Spanning spaces while linking forms.
Remember my Marmalade Cover - Camouflage Net made of silk shreds machine stitched for an exhibition titled Bed and Breakfast at Craft ACT. 1990s.
Hair Nets. Thinking of trapping. Being trapped by circumstances. Family obligations. Collect samples of hair from family and friends. Playing with ways of making hair and hair net pieces. Happen to visit parents when they are having their hair cut. Keep the clippings. Plan a memento mori piece – still just an idea though both parents died five years ago. How to trap the hairs while retaining their integrity. Contact MA pathway leader, Angie Wyman about nets. She is considering a body of work about snoods (splendid word) as hair nets. (Angie’s mother was a hair dresser.)
Ruth Lee’s book Creative Knitting inspires me to think of Knitted Nets. Knitter and colleague Lynne Johnson suggests (K)netting – combining knitting and netting. Good one. Three other friends express interest in net-working. Possibilities open up.
Take part in Liz Jeneid’s Sieves (and nets) workshop in Fibres Ballarat. March 2008. Time to start a body of work about nets. Travel with friend Carolyn Rolls who participates in Pat Hickman’s workshop, opening up basket making techniques incorporating hog skins - semi-opaque nets of closed versus open forms. Pat shows slides of netting forms – some from textile structures cast in metal. I am particularly struck by her 8 foot wide gates designed with polystyrene ropes and cast in aluminium by the Tasmanian foundry – the only one Pat could find to handle such a large project, all the way from new York!
Networking ideas develop as I get down to making nets on my return to Canberra in April 2008. For the next few months I am working almost daily in my studio at Strathnairn, Canberra. Rhythmic meditative time. Over the first two weeks my first string net emerges five metres by one metre. It started out as a door net but I got carried away and decided to see what would happen if I used the whole ball of string.
My friend, Jenny Martin sends me an enticing ball of natural hemp thread. I knot it with a large gauge to display the tactile texture. I am collecting many threads, knitting with wire, making a Fly Screen with fishing flies. Inside/outside. Trapping/letting through. What is trapped responsibly/ irresponsibly? An article in the Canberra Times alerts me to the problems Aboriginal people are experiencing in North Queensland where nets trap indiscriminately. Carolyn sees a TV program about irresponsible fishing off the Italian coast – with nets many kilometres longer that regulations permit. Son Alex tells me about the problems of shark nets…..
Think more workshops – how to make a billum (Ruth Hadlow has shown me how to make the basic loop). Wendy Dodd lends me Margaret Mackenzie’s book Androgynous Objects – String Bags and Gender in Central New Guinea to read. I am reminded of the anthropological significance of whatever we make.
Think of travelling to North Queensland and New Guinea to learn from the makers.
I talk to Quaker friends about these ideas. The missing link is a contact to look at internet net work. Michael Adams takes the challenge and a Blog is Born.
The world of devices that screen flows - of light or sound, of water or information - their attraction, their impact, their strengths & vulnerabilities
NETS Project CoordinatorsValerie Kirk
SUBSCRIBING TO NETWURKS
Up to 100 participating artists/students can dialogue here about Nets - with their posts and comments - by joining Netwurks.
A post doesn't need to be too polished in the first instance. It is a simple matter to return to radically edit it later if desired.
It is a simple process to add images and videos, however, to avoid clogging the blog, an accessible image gallery can also be maintained on a personal website, the link to which can be included in a relevant post.
Ongoing help with using Netwurks can be provided. Difficulties encountered and general queries can be posted to the blog.
THINKING ABOUT NETS
The function of any net is to separate defined items of interest from a specific flow. They are intrinsically mysterious.
Is the function of a facial veil to screen out or to invite the external gaze?
Blinds and net curtains are covert street surveillance systems, sometimes revealing pretty images, other times odd behaviour. If insiders leave the light on, they are exposed and the outsider hidden from view.
When do those nets that are being strung across the flows of cyberspace - the 'firewalls' - change over from being defensive (stopping 'incoming') to being aggressive? How can the misdeeds of their creators be detected by the outsider?
Nets of lies and half-truths are woven over events, winding up as 'history'. Before becoming spoken words, means of expression are continually modified by a host of personal and institutional restraints.
Micro-nets block contagions. Fishing nets haul in 'by-catch' (marine 'collateral damage') with their targeted prey. Good nets, bad nets?