“Looming Shelter” Desert X Installation
Makerville, Palm Desert, California USA
Cotton, acrylic, wood, metal
Amid the iron rich red ochre sands of the Australian desert, a tussock grass, known as Australian Triodia, flourishes. It is this understated desert plant which inspired my working of cotton, acrylic, wood and metal in a fiber piece honouring Australia’s iconic outback. The piece, titled Spinifex, reflects the contrasts of the scorched and arid red earth with the vibrant yellow greenery of the Triodia, commonly known as ‘spinifex’.
This piece also works to explore notions of shelter as well as the influence of changing natural forces. Triodia is a plant which transforms over time, growing outwards into rings, leaving a bare centre. The close-fitting and dense knot-work echoes the plant’s natural structure and growth while leaving the free and frayed rope ends to mimic the flowing tussock grass foliage. Triodia’s vegetation is vital to the habitat, providing protection to native species from the harsh environment as well as offering a refuge from predators such as feral cats and foxes.
Not only does this piece celebrate the Australian desert, but it works to both compliment and contrast its placement among the Californian high desert landscape.