South Africa Inspiration – Cradle of Creativity

Recently I was funded by the Department of Culture and Arts, Western Australia to attend the 19th Assitej World Congress on creating theatre for children and young people in Capetown May 2017. I attended many workshops, developed international contacts and delivered a research paper on puppetry as a form of communication with early years and special needs children. There were many inspiring and uplifting moments, I learnt much about South African culture and history, and was very excited to be part of an amazing festival and event, this is a kind of visual mood board of my experience –

 

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

She Presents…..

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A series of femmage works exploring how the female holds and creates from the past into the present, the future infinity, cellular memory, time. Size each 8 x 10 inches

For sale -contact rachel@imaginaryleaps.com

Pandora Presents workedShe Presents….acrylic, mixed media 1999,  original artwork sold

she-presents-historyShe Presents….History (patriarchal junk)  2016 acrylic, mixed media, reclaimed frame

she-presents-too-1She Presents….Humanity (all of us genes)  2016 acrylic, mixed media, reclaimed frame

she-presents-secretsShe Presents….Secrets(private life peeping)   2016 acrylic, mixed media

she-presents-wish-equalityShe Presents….Equality, (pissing in the wind)      2016 acrylic, mixed media

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.’