Earth Stories 2020

Earth Stories

Gallows Gallery, Mosman Park, Western Australia
9-19 January 2020

In this exhibition I am sharing with you the memories of my childhood growing up on a farm in the south-eastern wheat belt. The object collections ‘acquired’ as I explored the far reaches of the farm, sometimes kilometres from home, come to the surface.

“Just outside the house yard fence was the farm ‘junkheap’, a large scrap metal pile comprising all the old farming and household implements right back to settlement. It contained harvesters, combines, a truck, a grader, several cars, other horse drawn machinery, tanks, wood stoves, beds and cooking pots and all sorts of cast off interesting things.

Dad was often picking through the metal for just the right piece to fix machinery or for his next farm invention or improvement. It was a resource to make new things, nothing was wasted.  This metal filled heap is probably what we would call a recycling yard now. Making do with what you had or could find is what I learned and is a large part of my art practice.”

“This amazing playground was my favourite place to be fossicking through selecting the things to play and build with. Along with my three brothers we dragged header separators, sieves, scarifier tynes, and sets of combine points behind our bikes down to the bush patch and made little farms and cubbyhouses. We took bind-a-twine and wheel spokes to make fences and old china, bottles and tins to put in our cubbies amongst the Mallee and Sheoak trees. We ‘styled’ with the wildflowers from the bush and swept paths with Teatree brooms.”

“Much to Mum’s despair I gathered old bottles, glass, sticks, seeds, leaves, stones as well as metal and welding rods ends from the workshop and hauled them all back home and hid them under my bed. Eventually she gave me a cupboard to house and contain my collections! I still like to pick up these things wherever I go, like a bowerbird as Dad says. They are signifiers of the recollection of a certain place for me.”

Recently I have begun to make jewellery and objects with these precious holders of memories. Seeds and nuts rocks and glass, combined with steel wire and metal, these rustic and raw pieces reflect my travels and lived heritage. These fragments of nature and human artefacts hint of stories of their use or inspire me with their perfectness. I have used humble cold joins and wire forming techniques to emphasise the collected piece and honour its past life.”

Tania-Spencer - Earth Stories 2020 - Exhibition views
Tania-Spencer - Earth Stories 2020 - Exhibition views

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