Lindy de Wijn

Public Artist – Project Coordinator

The Project

Welcome to the site of Peace-Place-Lace. This process based interactive lace project will run from late April to late June and will directly explore the relationship of nature and creativity to wellbeing. During this time contemporary lace will grow and weave along the access path located in Wild Cherry Drive Eltham. This is one of the paths that allows us to connect to the Yarra and stunning bushland located in Eltham. I am a lace maker and nature lover with a background in occupational therapy and I cannot wait to share this project with you!

The Process

The lace will evolve from community contributions and conversations and its journey will be documented weekly on this site.

I will be making lace on site every Wednesday from April 27 10am-12pm until June 22. However, if you or a small group of individuals would like to meet me and contribute to the project at another time, please contact me via the details below :

E – Peace-Place-Lace@dewijn.net

M – 0418 382 119

Logistics

Please note, the path this project is located on is not paved, has a gentle slope and is quite bushy so if support with access is required, please contact me prior to your visit so I can meet you at the entrance to the path. As mentioned, I have a background as an occupational therapist and love using this part of my brain so am happy to discuss individual requirements prior to your visit. I can adapt sessions to suit – such as working on a larger scale due to limited dexterity, working in texture or high contrast due to decreased vision and adapting the discussion to meet the pace and rhythm you need. Everyone is welcome, including children.

Weekly Reflections

WEEK 1 – the beginning!

 Day one of making lace on site was a quiet one as I ease myself into the space. The aim was to have something on site by the end of the week for the public to enjoy and …………… – ta da!!!!

This initial part of the installation is close to my heart. I have been making gum leaves for the community and with the community for many years now. For me each leaf is unique, just like us. We are all incredible despite our imperfections and the challenging conditions we may face. We are all significant and help contribute our tree (a metaphor for community) to thrive. I felt this a very fitting piece to start this process based project.

This week I also had some wonderful chats with passers by about the benefits of exercise and pets to wellbeing …….. .and how lucky we are to have this landscape to walk amongst.

Stay tuned for week 2!

 

WEEK 2 – Pets

This weeks addition was sparked from a discussion I had last week with a wonderful soul and his dog. Not only did we chat about the benefit of walking and nature, but also of the beautiful relationship that occurs between a person and their dog.  I see many folk stroll by with their k9 companion/s and I cannot help but think that sharing this landscape together just helps strengthen the bond.

This weeks lace making was cold and wet and I sat undercover listening to the sound of rain on the roof.   As I sat creating a tennis ball in lace to honour the role dogs and pets in general play in our lives, my own fury friends lay beside me.  It really was lovely. 

 

 

This piece also captures the moment of taking a new ball to throw on a walk and how quickly it can be lost in the landscape as it mixes with the dirt, mud and dust……….. only to be sniffed out by my furry companion and thrown again.

What will week three inspire I wonder?

 

WEEK 3 – Wattle

I have always admired wattle.  It brightens some of the darker months in the bush with its golden flowers.  Little burst of warmth that shimmer in the rain.  In a week where I have felt a bit tired and run down it was wonderful to see these sprays of yellow brightening the foggy mornings.

In 2017 I was part of the Nillumbik Living in the Landscape Public Art Incubator.  It was a grass roots project that really launched my confidence in using lace in my practice.  It seems only fitting to add some golden wattle buds made from this project to Peace-Place-Lace.  It was lovely to visit this older pattern and reminisce about the stories shared by the locals of Diamond Creek, where that project was based.

Little did I know back then that Nillumbik would become my home and the landscape my own backyard. 

This week the dogs decided to keep me company again.

I also had the honour of having my mum try out lace today.  A woman who is very creative in her own right.  We are part of a family who has stitched, knitted and crafted through the generations and the ups and downs that pave the journey of life.

I cannot believe this project has run for three weeks already. What will unfold in week four?

 

WEEK 4 – Weeds

This week I decided to work in wire. Copper wire is one of my favourite
materials to make bobbin lace in. It requires different bobbins and technique. You
need to need to handle the bobbins differently and really manipulate the wire.
It is less forgiving to undo as wire weakens every time it is bent.

 

My inspiration of this week are weeds.  There is a bit of a story behind why I chose to include weeds as a feature in this project.  It is going to take a couple of weeks to make this element so I might leave the full explanation until next week’s entry.

These little leaves are called leaf tallies in lace and they take a bit of practice and a bit of concentration to master.  I prefer making them in wire than thread as they hold their shape well as you go.  These are by no means perfect tallies as working in the elements with people walking by and questions being asked means broken concentration.  But a few wiggles and bends just adds to the character I think and the organic feel.

 

 

Stay tuned next week for how this piece is developing and a bit more about why it was made.

 

WEEK 5 – Weeds continued

So why make weeds as they are despised by so many?

When studying public art, there was once a discussion about weeds and what they are.  One description that resounded with me was –

WEED: – a plant that is growing in a place it does not belong.

Often weeds make a habit of thriving in this area they do not belong to the detriment of native species.  So now I ask you to think about this with a lens of people rather than plants…..  like the impact of colonization for instance……..

Or what about the time when humans have innocently meddled with nature for their benefit.  Like introducing blackberries so bushwalkers would have something to eat when walking in the landscape.

So as my family desperately try and control these weeds that seem to have sprouted over Autumn taking over the landscape, I wonder what they are and where they originated.  I wonder about the many plants and footprints that have trodden over this land long before my time, the conflicts and battles for power and control.  The times of harmony and balance and how fragile life is and how balance is constantly shifting in life.

So here I am at the end of week 5!  The fence is becoming quite the gallery space.

 

WEEK 6 – Winter

This week I feel like winter really hit.  Misty mornings, the sound of rain on the roof, the smell of wood fires burning.

One thing that I find striking about the Australian bush as the strong trunk of a eucalypts emerging from the mist on a cool wintery morn.  They almost look mystical and the muted tones I find extremely calming.

I decided to break out some wool this week and work on a larger scale, recreating some bark patterns that were used in a past workshop in Nillumbik as part of the Living in the Landscape Public Art Incubator in 2017. 

When searching through past patterns I also found some samples from this workshop that I decided to display.  I had the honour of having my son and his friend, who is an avid crafter, help me hang this piece.  It really is such a pleasure to introduce the art of lace to all ages. 

Working in wool allowed me to make lace in my fingerless mittens last Wednesday and the thread matched my mittens!  It is fair to say it was rather brisk.  I always find it interesting working in different scales and how you need to handle the threads and bobbins differently.  Each thread type has its own personality.  Much like people they need to be treated differently and their own personality traits need to be respected in order to shine.

I look forward to finishing the large scale piece next week and seeing the contrast against this finer work,  It will be a great example of the role scale and material type impact the look and feel of lace.

Welcome to winter all.

Week 7 – Winter Continued

This week I finished the larger scale bark piece and love the softness and 70s feel.  It reminds me of the macrame wall hangings that are all the rage at the moment.  I cannot help think that people choose softness and turn to organic forms during more unsettling times.  They seem to ground and are so calming.

 

I love the contrast between the small and large scale and even though I could not resist introducing a few more complexities to the large piece, they are very similar in construction.

 

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It is still wintery and cold and as I come to the last couple of weeks of this project I feel so grateful for the opportunity to create and connect though Peace-Place-Lace.

 

Week 8 & 9 – The wrap up….kind of

For Week 8 I decided to tap into skills learnt from a course run by The Adventurous Lacemakers.  It was called Taking Your Thread for a walk run by Dagmar Beckel Machyckova.  It is available on Patreon.  Dagmar introduced us to the idea of stripping back the number of bobbins used in lace to just 1-2 pairs and creating designs by taking those threads for a walk along your design.

 

When we first moved to Eltham we realised there are two kookaburras living in a dead tree on our property.  I love watching them swooping along the creek and chasing us around the garden eating worms as we turn over the soil.  These feathered friends are the inspiration for week 8. 

 

I grabbed an image of a kookaburra and took my threads for a walk along it, capturing key features as I went.  It was a fun piece to make, despite the number of sewings I needed to make it work. 

 

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I really like the shadow effect of pieces such as this but for presentation in the outside gallery this was not possible.

 

Week 9 is the final formal week of my project, although I have decided to keep the artworks up for the school holidays.  So, if you planned to visit but did not get the chance, feel free to pop by and get in touch to see if we can meet should you wish.

 

To mark the conclusion of my project I had two ideas.  The first was to place an existing work into the space, which will happen in the coming weeks.  The second was to document the Yarra River in lace. 

 

This new work will become a memento of my AIOR experience.  It will be documented on this website but not hang in the outside gallery space.  It also draws from skills learnt from taking part in The Adventurous Lacemakers, mainly their introduction to using Inkscape in lace design run by Pierre Fouché.  Pierre is one of the most inspiring contemporary lace makers and he often uses Inkscape to develop his designs.

 

First, I took an image of the Yarra and inserted it into Inkscape.  Then, using the skills learnt I designed a lace pattern based on part of the photograph.  Due to limiting the number of bobbins used to 70 (35 pairs) the finished piece will be quite abstract.  The more bobbins you have, the more details possible.  This makes the detail of the piece minimal, but the personal meaning and learnings from the experience are not lost.

 

 

Because this piece uses more thread and more bobbins than other pieces made for Peace-Place-Lace, I got the opportunity to use my newest purchase, a French bobbin winder.  Many items I purchase for lace making, including bobbins, are second hand, and hold the stories of lacemakers past within them.

 

 

I also had some wonderful visitors to the space in the last week   This included little folk who have a huge curiosity in life to some fabulous locals yearning to use their hands to create.  They both felt this was lacking somewhat from their lives at present.

 

 

It has been such an honour to present lace to my community and use it as a medium to connect, chat and explore our beautiful landscape and the impact of creativity/making to wellbeing.  I will keep posting as the final 2 works unfold but the formalities of this project have come to a close.  Thank you Nillumbik Arts for allowing me the opportunity to be an Artist is Own Residence for 2022 and share Peace-Place-Lace with the community.

 

The Final Report

Over the final weekend of School Holidays, the works for Peace-Place-Lace were taken down from public display.  However, as promised, I installed my lace heart into the space for the public to enjoy and formally mark the conclusion of Peace-Place-Lace.  I hope you like it. 

 

If you look back on past projects on this website, you will see that this lace heart was made in 2018 as part of an Arts Partnership with City of Darebin and adorned the façade of Bundoora Homestead for Craft Lab+.  Since then, it has appeared in other locations.  In 2020 it became my way of giving Melbourne a hug during our extended lockdown when it was hung from my home.  It has also been part of the launch of Spaces Make Lace in Uralla in early 2022.  Now it hangs at my new home in Eltham.  It is symbol of love, warmth, and connection despite the challenges we face in life. 

I have also finished the Yarra River in Lace.  It was so much fun to make and also a great piece to challenge myself.  It now hangs in my studio next to the trial piece I made for The Lace Project in 2017 and is a reminder of how truly lucky I am to live within this landscape and how it is a source of much comfort, strength, and creative inspiration.

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Thanks again to Nillumbik Arts for allowing me the opportunity to be an Artist is Own Residence for 2022 and share Peace-Place-Lace with the community.

 

One Response to “Peace-Place-Lace”

  1. Mary

    So lovely to be following your journey with this project. Love reading your insights. I especially enjoyed this last one, the scale difference & the textural quality of the bark lace!

    Like

    Reply

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