Its been a year since ex-tropical Cyclone Debbie swept through northern New South Wales and flooded my art studio. Looking back over the year it has been one of major upheavals as I relocated to create a home based studio and revelation as I found a new way of interacting with paper.
I have just finished a major project in response to this event. SILT is a series of collaged artworks and an artist book using flood affected papers found in my paper drawers. Their story of survival and resilience has been mine to uncover, stitching together a narrative about a cyclone and its paper survivors.
This suite of works was awarded one of two c.a.s.e. INC Mullumbimby arts grants last month allowing the works to be professionally photographed and presented.
They will be on exhibition at the Tweed Regional Museum from 18-27 May as part of the Murwillumbah Art Trail and will complement the bottles of flood water Preserved Memories acquired by the museum after the Posts From the Big Flood exhibition last year.
Cyclonic Paper is the title of a presentation I will be giving in Sofia, Bulgaria in May for the biennial congress of the International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists (IAPMA). The theme of the congress is Paper: Conscience and Consciousness and will include several of my works on exhibition.
This presentation will be about the dialogue I had with the flood affected papers which were a conscious entity, reminding me of the flood and the cleaning up, the way the silt stuck to everything, the dirt, the smell and the grief of loss. The residual stain remained as its own language, to become elegant with its own beauty.
These mud lines and spatters were testament to the torrent of flowing muddy water which in its aftermath left traces of its passing, as memory markers on paper. Its revealed a new method of responding to the materiality of paper, that of submission and listening to what it will reveal.