Shades of Red

A previously embargoed project can now be revealed: Shades of Red, one of a series of exhibitions and events making up The Red Project: Celebrating Creative Women in North Sydney.

Shades of Red will be a collaborative, site specific installation of 32 umbrellas by 22 artists from Basketry NSW. The process was collaborative from the start, with selection of a theme and development of criteria. Each individual piece started with an actual umbrella or parasol frame. We used shades of red, with limited use of black, white and natural. Naturally basketry techniques play a major part of construction. Ideas of sustainability/recycling and International Women’s Day were also considered, as was durability and safety in an outdoor installation.

I’ve seen quite a few of the individual works, and there is an amazing array. Most retain a basic umbrella shape, but there are a few very inventive exceptions. It will be exciting to see them all come together at the venue – installation begins in around 10 days, and the actual exhibition is 3 – 18 March.

I have made two umbrellas.
The first was based on an umbrella I bought while living in the UK in the early 1980s. It has been dubbed an “un-brella”. Yarn and heat-distressed organza, random weave, coated in resin. I wanted to play up how useless it now is, so there are tatters and permanent resin “raindrops” dripping.

Given the outdoor setting of the installation I really wanted some interesting shadows, and it’s great to see them plus the sparkle of resin in the sunshine.

An umbrella used by my children was my second starting point, happily already red in handle and other fittings. Steel wire, random weave, cold forged and painted. The weave is spaced to create an effect of stripes – tricky to capture in the photo, especially with the satisfying shadows.

Shades of Red will be open 3 – 18 March at the Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability, 2 Balls Head Drive, Waverton. Note that the specific area of the installation will be ‘The Terrace’ (stairs behind the café), a late change not reflected in printed versions of the Council material. There will be basketry demonstrations and mini-workshops 11 – 2 Saturday 10 March.

For more information see www.northsydney.nsw.gov.au/redproject

‘Shades of Red’ is part of THE RED PROJECT, a North Sydney Council Arts & Cultural event exhibiting artworks by 74 artists at 6 venues throughout the month of March, in celebration of creative women in North Sydney and International Women’s Day.

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