Tag Archives: recycling

Speaking up for voicelessness – new works by Olivia Pintos Lopez

The Prosopopoeias (Counihan Gallery, 23 January – 15 February, 2015) by Olivia Pintos-Lopez is an intriguing installation of enigmatic figures made from a combination of cast resin, metal armature, cotton, kid leather, linen, muslin, antique  lace, wool embroidery, brocade, buttons, beads, coral, teeth, bone, feather, metal,  seeds, shell, stick, gold leaf, cloves, lavender, photographs, thread.  The text is from the opening speech by Sarah Tomasetti and images of works are below.

Let’s start with the question on everyone’s lips, What is a prosopopoeia?

Wikipedia informs us thus

A prosopopoeia is a rhetorical device in which a speaker or writer communicates to the audience by speaking as another person or object.

Prosopopoeiae can also be used to take some of the load off the communicator by placing an unfavorable point of view on the shoulders of an imaginary stereotype. The audience’s reactions are predisposed to go towards this figment rather than the communicator himself.

(I think I would like one of those with me all the time to take the rap for my own unfavourable points of view.)

It is interesting that we are speaking of communication here because most of the figurines don’t have faces, let alone mouths. They seem to express a somewhat incoherent state of voicelessness, yet further on we read…

Quintilian writes of the power of this figure of speech to ‘bring down the gods from heaven, evoke the dead, and give voices to cities and states.’

And so via the transformative power of the prosopopoeia we move from this state of voicelessness to bringing down cities and states! (To interpret the idea loosely.)  And we do indeed encounter something utterly powerful and compelling in the way these figurines of humble size seem to give form to our own countless unexpressed longings and objections and passing moments of humour.

My first entry to this exhibition was via two of these figurines bought from Olivia’s last Melbourne exhibition and followed by an exchange of materials in which I gave her some gloves and hankies and other things from my grandmother’s collection to be repurposed.

Encountering this new body of work I am struck once again by a sense of connection, an obsessive feeling of needing to own certain pieces.  I see a lot of art and collect very little, – in fact sometimes as an artist I can wish not to have too many other voices around me – so to what can I put this down?  I think it is the uncanny way that the prosopopoeias seem to give expression to interior states, to literally bring them into being in some way that seems essential to ones inner life.  (I did notice a number of people prowling about as I was, mourning ones that were gone, and trying to make the next cathexis quickly before it too was snatched away.)

There is a sense that the gesture or feeling or unconscious state is literally found through making, and as Olivia has described it, at the point that it is fully realised, she stops, sometimes quite abruptly.  The last gesture or stitch or wrapped thread has been made, sometimes quite violently, and there is no need to go on.  Something has been made coherent, exists more solidly than before.  I would posit that the primary essentialness of the process is echoed in the strong response that is going on in the prowling viewers.

They are not primarily about making a thing of beauty.  They are more direct than this, more necessary.

Unmaking Waste 2015 – call for abstracts

Unmaking Waste 2015.

Unmaking Waste 2015 is a conference in Adelaide that seeks to engage dialogue and share ideas, perspectives and possibilities for shaping a physically and socially sustainable planet. The main conference will take place over two and a half days and involve speakers from a broad range of academic and industrial disciplines who work across research and practice-led investigations into the physical and symbolic nature of material flows. For students interested in exploring more about social and cultural sustainability in design practice, we are presenting a set of pre-conference workshops plus a master-class on the day preceding the conference.

Abstracts for the conference are due 17 October 2014.

Seeding the Cloud workshops

Roseanne Bartley is presenting a series of three Seeding the Cloud workshops.

Join the artist jeweller Roseanne Bartley as she threads her way in and around the streets and parklands of Melbourne CBD. Over a two-hour process led experience, Roseanne will share the ‘how to’ behind her roving work Seeding the Cloud: A Walking Work in Process. Take part in jewellery based process that addresses the mass of residual plastic within the environment and contribute to the creation of a collectively inspired Civic Necklace.

Come prepared with sensible walking shoes and a weatherproof coat.

Cost: $50 / $25 Craft Victoria Members. Includes a copy of the Seeding the Cloud Instruction Booklet.

Thursday 11 August, 10am-12pm
Saturday 13 August, 1.30-3.30pm
Saturday 20 August, 1.30–3.30pm
Bookings: click here

Hlengiwe Dube – tin top buttons with Zulu style



Hlengiwe Dube is a craftswoman and manager of the African Art Centre. In 2000, she was awarded the Woman of the Year award by the Department of Arts and Culture. As well as her own work, she has played a critical role in developing crafters in the area, particularly in beaded products. Dube has travelled widely to promote Zulu crafts, including participation in the South Project and the Common Goods exhibition by Craft Victoria. She has recently written Zulu Beadwork: Talk with Beads (Africa Direct).

Remarkably, Hlengiwe manages to sustain both her own work as a skilled crafter with a vocation for promoting Zulu crafts as a whole. She has a firm belief in self-reliance through craftwork and the richness of Zulu tradition. These combine in her recent products for beaded cell phone pouches and handbags ornamented with tin top buttons.

Craft is the third largest employer in the South African economy. For most poor people, is the only means by which they can advance themselves. With Hlengiwe’s recent work we see the great potential for product development in South African craft.

This is her statement about the work that she has made for The World of Small Things.


I am very aware of the “Keep environment Clean “campaign and as a South African citizen, I am very perturbed at the amount of litter that is strewn about on the streets, the verges and the beaches. I had noticed that a lot of this litter comprised of cool drink cans.



The government seems to have “won the war” on the plastic bag saga, but tin cans still contributes to a huge percentage of litter strewn about. I feel this matter needs serious attention.

I then came up with the idea of making bags using tin top buttons and earrings using bottle tops. I source my supply from the local dump, roadside bins and even have neighbours and street children collect them for me. I wash and sterilize them, and then they are ready to be weaved together and transformed into bags.

I weave the buttons using cotton and beads. I give the entire tin to the other artist who makes caps and belts.



I enjoy weaving with recycle material and I also do lot of weaving with recycled telephone wire strings. I believe that weaving is the way of communicating with other people, in our culture women used to visit each other and bring their mats to weave and share ideas of how to take care of their families. For me weaving is to share my feeling through it, communicate with people through my weaving. I like to incorporate it with beads, because when I first fell in love with beads I was only 12 years old, since then I have been working with beads non stop and creating new ideas.

I always enjoy sharing my experience with other people to create jobs so that they can earn a living, because I believe that as long as you have two functional hands you will never starve.