New pop up shop for yardworks art, WA

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In Freo, many commercial businesses have moved out and  artists are moving in, and revitalising empty spaces! Lots of pop up shops are happening in Fremantle, with artists at the heart of the towns economy, they are developing new shops everywhere. So, I have been very busy making lots of lovely hand made creations for the first yardworks art shopfront in the woolstores, fremantle, wa.

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In a collective with other artists and retailers, we are sharing the overheads and using a commercial space to promote our creations and retail stock.

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Its a great opportunity and location for developing the idea and concept of yardworks art, and displaying other artists upcycled creations aswell.

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yardworks art is a mix of homemade artworks for sale, upcycled and lovingly made for your life. Lost and found art, oddities, curiosities, vintage and retro all for sale.

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Come and have a look, open every day……..yardworks art, woolstores. 28 Cantonment St
Fremantle Western Australia 6160

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Yardworks art exhibition & workshops

new hanging commission – ‘It is what it is’ 2016 – upcycled Balga tree wood ring, wire, natural material, found decorations

yardworks art has been very busy developing business with new art work on exhibition and a workshop programme developing at the new Creative Collective space at Gypsy Tapas House in Fremantle , Western Australia. Exhibition until end of September.

The new space is available to hire for creative events contact Gypsy Tapas House

Rachel Riggs – yardworks art creative director, is now running regular workshops in vintage collage, upcycling everyday objects into something extraordinary. Last weeks participants made  beautiful artworks in a relaxed evening with live music, good food and creativity!

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Check out yardworks art facebook page for updates on workshop dates and times

Victorian Bride Ships

‘The Cinderella Colony of Western Australia’

Research from ‘An Australian Parsonage’ by Mrs Millet, published 1872

‘ Of the single girls we had more than sixty on board our ship, and one fortnight’s acquaintance with them had sufficed to show us that they were a most unpromising set; and moreover, our early impression that several of them had made acquaintance with the inside of a jail was not at all effaced by the experience and events of the voyage’.

The Tartar ship left London October carrying 118 passengers including Mrs Millet & her husband Edward, the newly appointed chaplain of York in WA, as well as the 50 young female Lancashire cotton weavers. Arrived Fremantle 12 December 1863.

‘The proportion of single adult males was eleven to every single adult female.’ Inquirer, 11th November 1863, Perth, Australia.

The Bride Ships by Rica Erickson, Hesperian Press 1992

Experiences of Immigrants Arriving in Western Australia 1849 -1889

‘As the passengers came on board their names were listed and each was allotted a berth number. Married couples occupied berths amidships, single males were accommodated forward in the dark part of the ship near the crew. The single women’s compartments were separated from both by a partition. Each section was divided into messes, or groups of six ( in larger vessels there were messes of eight). One in each mess was chosen to be responsible for the behaviour of the others. They descended below decks by steep ladders, shown to their numbers berths and instructed how to hoist a bench table, at night, between the tiers of bunks and fasten it to the deck above with iron bars. The bunks, ranged on either side of the table, were like coffins, one above the other, with little headroom. A small curtain gave a little privacy to each.

Women could wash on bath days in a large wooden tub wearing a shift and screened by canvas.

Those in charge of the messes brought down the daily issue of rations and supervised the fair division of food. Food could be salt pork, potatoes and peas with ginger pudding, hard biscuits always. They ensured that all utensils were cleaned and properly stowed away after meals, and that the bedding was aired on deck, weather permitting, at least twice a week. They usually won a small gratuity and several privileges on board for their duties.’

‘All were then mustered on deck, segregated as they would be below decks with married couples standing between the servant girls and the lads. After rollcall they listened to a recital of ship’s regulations. These were posted up, but not all the passengers could read. The most unwelcomed rule forbade communication between the single women and males.’

‘The first few days at sea were usually rough and tested the stomachs of the passengers who had never before been at sea. Below decks the air was foul with vomit, but few people had the strength to climb the hatchway ladders and pace the heaving decks for a breath of fresh air.’

Books and sewing materials were donated by organisations like the British Ladies Female Emigration Society. Literacy lessons, games and library books were sometimes provided.

‘The pilots long boat put off from Rottnest to guide them into safe anchorage. Another long boat from Fremantle came alongside bringing the Colonial Immigration officer and the Colonel Surgeon. The immigrants were lined up in order on the deck for the last time.’

‘The arrival of any ship at Fremantle always created a flurry of activity. Colonists in the most isolated settlement in the world were always avid for news.’

‘Most of the single women were Lancashire lasses who were thrown out of work when cotton mills closed down as a consequence of the Civil War in North America. British ships blockaded the North American ports in retaliation for the sinking of a ship, and this prevented the export of raw cotton to Lancashire….left thousands of people…. in abject poverty.

Donations to the Lancashire Relief Fund were sent from the British Colonies to save families from starvation. Under these circumstances Lancashire mill lasses were glad to migrate. One of the girls on the Tartar, although only 23, looked like a wrinkled old woman. She ate ravenously and soon became plump.’ (from Mrs Millet’s account)

‘The newly renovated Poorhouse-Home, Fremantle was ready to receive over a hundred immigrants when the Tartar came in Dec 1863. Pauper inmates were segregated on the upper floor while the immigrants occupied the ground floor in a long room divided into separate spaces by wooden partitions.’

Mrs Millett thought the immigrants lodgings were bare, cold and meagre, but was pleased to see they were perfectly clean, well ventilated and water could be obtained by the bucketful from a well in the yard.

Life at the Home and depot was boring for idle inmates. The matron supervised the usual tasks of sewing garments and laundering of linen from the hospital and gaol.’

China Blue by Jan Gothard, Melbourne University Press 2001

Single Female Migration to Colonial Australia

Between 1850 and 1900, seventeen thousand single British women accepted an assisted passage to Western Australia. Without assistance, working class women would never of afforded the long sea voyage and in return these women would solve the colonies domestic servant problem and become the future wives and mothers of WA. They were subject to routine and rigorous examinations of health and character, controlled  on the passage out and after their arrival, until the colonial government had seen them safely with employers or relatives.

Relatively few single working class women wrote diaries which have survived, more likely emigrant diaries were written in the form of a letter home. Sisters or female cousins may have been possible recipients of journals. But these were the very women who so often followed the adventurous pioneer out to the colonies. So the chances of working class women’s journals surviving were far more remote than those sent back to middle class families of the cabin passengers. Therefore working class emigrant women are less visible, but due to the ‘double control’ of immigrant authorities are perhaps more visible in government archives.

Middle class women’s philanthropic work “benevolent maternalism’ was undertaken to safeguard  women and to protect colonial homes. It was ideal for women as paid domestic servants to be trained under the eye of a middle class mistress.

‘Getting on, bettering oneself and enhanced employment opportunities, joining family and friends were major reasons to emigrate.’

‘In the 1860’s prospective emigrants were advised that ‘Female domestic Servants, who really understand their business, are in great demand in Australia, and are sure to obtain immediate employment at good wages’.

‘In 1863, when conditions in Lancashire were poor, the Duke of Newcastle approached all the Australian colonies to accept unemployed female cotton weavers as prospective immigrants. None responded favourably, although all but Western Australia were happy to accept other single women qualified in domestic service. W. A alone reported few employment prospects for any immigrants. Yet it was to W.A that the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners sent 50 young female Lancashire cotton weavers….all found employment.’

Benevolent Asylum – Lily Hibberd

Benevolent Asylum is an installation, performance and community discussion ground. The project at the Fremantle Arts Centre last year, was prompted by the discovery of the razed site of The Melbourne Benevolent Asylum, once the most prominent building in North Melbourne, where Hibberd lived for 11 years. Established in 1851, the Asylum was abandoned in 1900 and finally demolished in 1912.

Hibberd writes ‘The exhibition at Fremantle Arts Centre was the result of an encounter with the Melbourne Benevolent Asylum, which sparked an examination of asylum institutions as an archetype of care and confinement in Australia. Benevolent Asylum has evolved over three years, with research across Australia and Europe, to look at the origins of institutional confinement and birth of the circumstance in which state care and incarceration are inseparable.This work has revealed that originary models still profoundly influence Australia’s chief institutions of confinement and punitive detention. In Fremantle, for instance, convict labour transported to Tasmania from London’s Millbank and Pentonville prisons brought with it the Solitary System and a penology of relentless isolation and labour. Replicated across the colony in the mid-19th century, Model Prisons were established at Fremantle, Port Arthur, Adelaide Gaol and at Pentridge in Melbourne. Inmates in this system spent 12 hours labour and 23 hours a day in 2 x 3 metre cells.’

‘Tourism at former prison sites promotes the idea that this is a ‘dark’ history, which our institutions have left well behind, and that such harsh treatment borders on fiction. This is simply another radical forgetting. Confinement operates in precisely the same way in our asylums, prisons and detention centres today. And solitary incarceration is the prevailing public secret of Australian punishment: denial of the practice is so obvious that everything is done to avoid recognising it. ‘

This is a fascinating area of historical research & documentation, and is a rich area of creation for artists in site specific installation & artworks.  Im particulalry fascinated by the current use of these spaces especially for play & free leisure activities when they hold such deep secrets in their psychological landscapes. Is this an unconcious healing process or just gentrification? Certainly at the Forum discussion with the artist, issues of asylum, the history of confinement and the relationship between historical research and creativity were discussed openly and sometimes very emotionally, between artists, historians, prison counsellors, psychiatrists, educators, activists and other community members .

http://www.lilyhibberd.com/Benevolent_Asylum.html

Yarns of the Heart

A beautiful exhibition of hand made dolls which tell the traditional dreamtime and contemporary stories of the women who made them, was at the Museum of Western Australia earlier this year. The Community Arts Network of WA (CAN WA) revived the original doll making project, preserving the art of storytelling and doll making for generations to come.

For further information follow the story threads that make up the yarns of the heart –

http://www.canwa.com.au/articles/news/only-two-more-weeks-to-see-yarns-of-the-heart

http://www.museum.wa.gov.au/

Western Australia’s Lost Jewels – Butterflies of Perth

ImageA visit to the W.A Museum in Perth reveals one of the lost beauties of the landscape which would of been commonly seen in large, glittering flocks in the 1800’s.The Western Jewel butterfly was once found only in Western Australia, mostly along the coastal plain from Perth to Carnarvon. Much of the original habitat of the Western Jewel has been sadly destroyed by urban & rural development over time, one of the few remaining Perth populations was lost with the clearing of bushland at Hepburn Heights in 1993.

ImageThe larvae of the Western Jewel fed on a number of plants including the pea flowered shrub Jacksonia stembergiana and the wattle Acaicia xanthina, but only if there was a nest of the ant Crematogaster perthensis at the base. The larvae sheltered in the ants nest during the day and emerged to feed at night, accompanied by the ants.

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This relationship was a mutualistic one : the butterfly larvae recieved shelter and possibly protection from predators, whilst the ants got a sugary liquid secreted by glands on the backs of the butterfly larvae.Most butterfly populations in Perth are now sparse, and mainly confined to fringing bushland.

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 WA Museum Glass Door detail