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I Tell Stories

April 2, 2013

Bunya 4_6_600

I don’t understand all art, I don’t even like all art, but I know what I do… I tell stories.

It’s hard not to. For any of us. Our experiences in the world, make our life what it is. They make our life unique to us. And yet, when we tell stories there are more often than not common threads that weave their way through our collective stories. They connect us. You know, when we say things like, “yeah, I know what you mean”, or “that also happened to me”, or “I feel the same way”. Our individual experiences with the colours, textures and sounds that fill our minds and our senses are uniquely ours. That’s for sure. But, when we share those experiences with others through our work, through our conversations, we naturally build connections with each other, little bridges to understanding.

I think that’s why projects like Collected Patterns, are able to resonate with others. When I learned about Walter Hill, the first curator of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens in the 1800s, I knew I wanted to share his amazing story with others. Through my language of patternmaking, I tried to communicate his essence through my prints and embroideries and bring awareness to his life’s work (which was pivotal to the development of agriculture throughout Queensland and has been crucial to our economy ever since). I thought, WOW! This man is amazing. Why don’t I know his name? I’m sure others (at least locals) would be fascinated to learn more about their city and their state. There is a lifetime of stories to tell, specifically, his lifetime!

The letterpress print, Bunya 4 (pictured above), was inspired by Walter Hill’s love for Bunya Bunyas (Bunya Trees). It features the female Bunya cones, which the tree produces. He loved the Bunyas so much that he planted a whole avenue of them in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. He wrote in one of his annual reports, “The walks on either side of the Bunya Bunya are the most favourite promenades of the public, and the noble line of these splendid trees justly excites general admiration.” Most of these trees still remain today and you can just imagine what it was like at that time in Brisbane. On Sundays everyone in town would promenade in the Gardens wearing their Sunday best, kids would be playing, there were a number of musical groups who would play in the rotunda and people would socialise.

I feel such a strong connection to that Bunya walk now I know this. It really helped me tap roots to my city in a very deep way. And, it’s all our stories, the stories we tell each other every day, that grow our understanding of and connection with each other in a wonderfully strong way.

What stories are you telling in your work? What stories are you sharing with your friends? What is your story?

You can see more works from the Collected Patterns series and learn more about Walter Hill’s story over at the Collectibles store.

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