Nets project

These samples were experimenting with the use of ‘solvy’. The theme is the environment and how it is quickly degrading and being destroyed around us. The use of net like structures to hold the leaves was to link in the samples with the nets, but it could also be nodding towards the use of illegal fishing nets in our oceans that catch innocent sea-life and subsequently kill off members of the species that don’t need to be. It also hints towards the destroying of forests, which then leads into the loss of rare animals that no longer have a home because their habitat has been destroyed. The animals, in both cases, are now trapped, like the leaves in the middle sample. Their homes are no longer solid, like the leaves in the third sample.


Thought I’d share a wonderful book with you all –  ‘Waterlog: A Swimmer’s Journey through Britain‘, by Roger Deakin,1999.

It is a travel book by a swimmer who swims his way across Britain-in moats, lochs, ponds, streams, the sea,fens, swimming pools and canals. He looks at history, ecology, natural science, native swimmers’ rights and more, with great humanity and wit. An uplifting book that will appeal to all swimmers (Annie and Valerie take note). Available through the public library system. Connection with ‘Nets’? The other side of being “netted”- swimming freely with a wild spirit!

The Canberra Fisherman

The use of “The Canberra Fisherman” by Bryan Pratt (a well known Canberra identity) was deliberate. I liked the fact that the book was published by ANU Press, adding to the local references of the project. I also enjoyed the 1970s book cover design, and over the top image of a fish caught in a net.
My concern is with the health and future life of our local rivers and waterways. Will the native fish species survive? Will there be enough water flow in the rivers to ensure a healthy environment for people and water creatures? How will the growing population of Canberra affect the rivers?

A Sort of Sieve

I have been interested in the notion of sieves for some time – the separating of good from bad, coarse from fine, liquid from solids. It also has connotations with mining the land, what’s left? A pile of waste, waterless creeks and huge dislocation of landscape and of people trying to farm the land – Liz Jeneid

Pangasianodon Gigas

Sketchbook - ideas development

The giant Mekong Catfish is under threat of extinction due to over-fishing and loss of habitat. It is beleived that the fish used to reach sizes over 3 metres, but the largest recorded catch to date is 2.7 metres – a monster fish caught in Thailand in 2005. As its fame and the mythology surrounding it increases, so does the number of game fishermen keen to land a record catch or earn a sizeable amount of money in the exotic food marketplace.

However, the water flow of the river is increasingly more controlled by China, changing the natural habitat of the river. It seems that survival of the great catfish is being left to chance and the fish’s ability to avoid nets, lines and traps in the murky green waters of the Mekong.

My exhibition piece will be a giant, woven Pangasianodon Gigas – made as a shaped tapestry which will hang the way a fisherman would hold up his catch to display or be photographed as his trophy. The drawing was made from photographs of very large fish I observed in Laos and the detail on the body of the fish is deliberately ambiguous scales/nets.  The piece will be woven on cotton seine twine (which was originally made as a string for fish netting) with mixed weft yarns.

Detail of digital print enlargement of original drawing which will be used to make a cartoon for the tapestry.

Valerie Kirk