• Valley Project

Abandoned items repurposed

LOCAL ŌTEPOTI Dunedin artists Nicola Hansby and Anna Perry, with the help of The Dunedin Dream Brokerage (DDB) and DCC Creative Communities Scheme, recently showcased their exhibition and workshops for ‘The Clothing Bin Art Project’. The project highlighted the issues of dumping unwanted items in our local areas. For Nicola this was specifically the Pine Hill Clothing Bin and for Anna, Caversham.

Opening night. Photograph Mitch Frew

I strolled down George Street excited to see the exhibit come to fruition. The window of the old Scottish shop was illuminated by a green zigzag, the symbol of an event associated with DDB. The space was brimming with attendees all fascinated by the set-up. The table in the centre of the room held the dumped items that inspired the works, which were hung in clusters on the surrounding walls.

Opening night. Photograph By Mitch Frew

The public were encouraged to move the items, presenting an opportunity to engage with the exhibition making it ever-changing. When I popped in to do the final workshop I was intrigued to see how the exhibition had evolved since my visit on opening night. Paintings had been taken off walls and placed with their ‘subjects’ , some items were stuffed into holes in the walls or hung off light switches, and other items were grouped together in random spaces.

An art work reunited with its subject matter, a result of the ad-hoc nature of the exhibit. Photograph Nicloa Hansby

The workshop itself was extremely fun, with the content taken from Kimon Nicolaides, a teacher of art who believes the way to learn to draw is to observe details. The first exercise, and my favourite, was to draw the item set in front of you - in our case an abandoned vintage exercycle. You were to look at the item, not your paper, and draw the contours as you saw them. If you did lift your pencil off the page you could glance down to reposition it. This exercise proved to have interesting results and was such a fun way to draw that I implore you to give it a go! Another exercise was drawing textures, and finally drawing a still life set up for us by Nicola using the dumped items. After attending both the exhibit and workshop, it was evident that these two artists had successfully communicated the societal issues of waste, consumerism, Kaitiakitanga (guardianship and protection of our environment) and community, to a wide audience.

Workshop drawings. Photograph Nicola Hansby

Workshop drawing. Photograph Jess Covell

Anna and Nicola will be involved in an upcoming event run by Stitch Kitchen, with the help of the DCC Arts Grant. Called ‘Restitched’, this is a programme aimed at tertiary students and the wider creative community, and focuses on reducing textile waste from a ‘whole system’ perspective.

They will also host a workshop that intersects with the ‘Restitched’ values, in which items retrieved from their local clothing bins will be presented. The focus will be on seeing holed and ‘broken’ cloth/fabric items, as well as others that have been carefully mended in the past, from a new perspective. The idea is to initiate conversations about the art of mending and how to repurpose these items once they are irreparable. The workshop will be held Saturday 20 February from 1-3pm at Stitch Kitchen HQ.

If this piques your interest, there will be plenty of other workshops on offer in the series including harakeke weaving, upcycled plant pot covers, shirt upcycling, T-shirt printing and more!

In addition to the workshops, there will be a series of industry speakers (via internet conferencing and in person) who will help attendees understand the opportunities to recreate a healthy and regenerative fashion system.

For more information visit www.stitchkitchen.nz


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