Tell me a little about you and where we are right now…
I am an artist working out of my home studio in Broken Head. I work with marine debris rope that I’ve collected from beaches across Australia, and I weave them into various sculptures and objects.
What brought you to broken head? Can you tell me more about this area?
I grew up visiting here as a kid, and it was an opportunity that came up because my uncle’s cabin was vacant. I love this place because it’s just right on the beach and so pretty — and it was a chance for me to step back from my full-time work and allow myself to just work part-time and really focus on my art work.
Is it a different community out here?
Broken Head itself is quite small. Byron is a very transient town, and you find there’s many people who live in the outskirts, who sort of travel into Byron, then escape back to their little oasess — their little hinterland spots. It’s all a small community, I guess.
What made you choose marine rope as a material, and did you have to teach yourself to weave it?
It sort of evolved organically. I was doing a lot of ink drawing at the time, and I was really inspired by — and revolted by — the amount of plastic that was washing up on the coast line. I was seeing photographs by a fellow named Chris Jordan, of albatross with plastic in their stomachs, and I was responding to that through ink drawings. As I became more and more aware of what was happening, I began noticing more debris in my travels, and I began picking it up. Then from that, I began working with polystyrene, and I started to sew a bit of rope, and I was really drawn to the texture and the fibers and what the ocean and elements had done to them. A lot of the rope that I work with is severely faded and tangled and brittle on the outside but, on the inside, it can be really vibrant still. I think at the time, I was living in a house down in Torquay, which had a lot of woven objects in it, and I they got into my psyche a little bit; my subconscious joined the dots together a little.
It was definitely a process that I freestyled. I didn’t google how to weave and didn’t get any books; I just began exploring what the fiber could do, and it was almost as if it just led me on this journey… Although, having said that, there’s definitely a bit of a negotiation process, because the medium is often quite stubborn in what it wants to do and what you can do with it. I think my technique itself is pretty basic, but I’m quite happy keeping it that way — it allows the medium to do the talking!