Indoor Mists

Indoor Mists

This work is a result of one month spent working in Beijing as part of the Red Gate Residency program. It must be said that, as a city to create in, Beijing can take a lot from you but it can also give so much back. It's difficult to explain how it feels when dissolution is met by true and subtle beauty, I've known this many times.  Here I've experienced heartache and joy, isolation and prosperity, and an overwhelming understanding that I am doing the right thing. As I worked and as I walked, I always came back to this feeling. "I am meant to be here," I thought "This is hard, this is exhausting, and I am building my soul." This work inhabits space in a way I find very pleasing. It's unobtrusive and quiet, as mist should be. As an obstacle it takes some getting used to, in the first week or so I caught wool and fluff on my hair and cloths. But you incorporate this new thing into your daily habits and soon I was moving around as naturally as if the room were empty. When I took it down on my last day in Beijing, I felt dizzy and lightheaded. Disoriented, as if my body had been spun around several times and then told to walk a straight line. It was so much a part of my space, of this place that had been my brief home.

I feel a strong urge to return to Beijing. I need to grow in many ways before I go back. I need to learn Chinese. I need to continue building my soul. And when I see Beijing again, how will she greet me? How will I greet her? I really want to know.

Indoor Mists 1

Sit down

Indoor Mists 2

Indoor Mists 3

Looking in

The Surprising Smell of Australia

un-felted

Slowly, slowly, slowly I'm exhaling mist - its physical form through physical action. I've been holding my breath for one entire year, and now, as I breathe out, this is what's forming in the condensation. And oh boy am I breathing heavily. I've been busy rolling, rolling, rolling these long strands of fog out of softly coloured wool.

"You look like you're making noodles."

I wonder if people who make noodles hurt this much in the morning. Every day I wake with a groan. But I love this feeling, my aching body feels real and present. It's making something true, something it needs to. This pain is the feeling of growth.

As I walk through the streets and parks I pretend I am walking through a classical Chinese landscape. Beijing is so far removed from these images and yet if you squint you can see yourself  as that eremitic wanderer. In Canberra, when I walk though the streets and parks, I imagine myself as forest-dweller, sometimes a fairy tale figure. In many ways the project reminds me of home but it's the smell of the work that's the strongest trigger, something I didn't expect. It's the wool.  I need to wet it in order to felt it, and the smell seems such an Australian experience that it's comforting to return to it every day. And every day I'm a little less sore as my body accommodates. Odd sadness here is frequent but these feelings assure me I'm on the right path.

early mists           early mists

layering

steed

At the Temple of Heaven

How to begin an indoor mist

Cathy was right - this place is so different from Hong Kong. On my first day I realized I was scared of leaving my apartment. I'm not used to that feeling. I think I'm scared because there's so much I am unable to define, so much I can't categorize.

studio window

Summer Palace

It is a truly unique city. I could love it here, if I could speak and if I could work I could be happy. On my second day things changed and I began to remember how travel alone. So I rode my bike to the station and caught a train to the Summer Palace and it was beautiful and sacred and tacky and vile all at once. What a difference it makes to catch a train, the city opens up and you  begin to find your rhythm. The beginnings of a rhythm only for you, between yourself and the city.

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

This is like nowhere I've ever been, people seldom smile and I suck at Chinese. I live in a dusty village with tiny shops, convenience stores and wet markets, I ride my bike around and I love being scared on the road, learning to adapt. I love the Chinese music carried on a breeze from tinny shop-side speakers and I love the shop that plays Backstreet Boys back-to-back.

Fei Jia Cun

I have never been in a new place without a fellow explorer. That scares me more than I thought it would. I miss my companion so much.

But I will find my bearings. I will make the work. I know I can do it - now all that's left to do is do it.

Morning Mist 2