Jan
17
2022
Weave It! is a free, 17-day interactive and evolving exhibition, multi-sensory installation and workshop series for children and their grown-ups, held at The Store, at Abbotsford Convent. For Weave It! Abbotsford Convent has commissioned a creative collaboration between multidisciplinary textile artists Lisa Waup (Gunditjmara and Torres Strait Islander) and John Brooks.
Throughout the month of January, children are invited to collaborate with the artists and each other, immersing themselves in the engaging practices of textiles and weaving, resulting in a “takeover” as the work grows into a wonderland of colourful, bright, fun fabrics and textures throughout the space. DIY videos can be seen here.

The exhibition will be supported by artist facilitation (including drop-in, hands-on workshops and come-and-go activities) enabling children and families to learn hands-on craft practices grounded in First Nations explorations of interconnectivity, storytelling, and sustainability. While incorporating natural and found materials such as sticks or recycled materials to build into the work, participants can spark discussions about recycling materials, retelling the stories of our cultures and celebrating community.

Artists Lisa and John are passionate about everyone’s right to access great contemporary arts experiences. “Children are often framed as passive receivers of art that was made without them in mind, and we want to turn this around. We believe that children should have an active engagement in arts and their community, and this exhibition will help facilitate this,” says Lisa.

“Weaving works well with children because it follows a simple, repetitive formula that can produce small or large outcomes, using a variety of objects and materials,” John explains. “I hope that the children will take away the ability to look at everyday objects as potential materials, and learn to make string out of anything… which will hopefully lead to a wide range of children growing up with the ability to transform textile waste into functional textile materials. The fashion industry is one of the world’s biggest polluters, so I hope that the kids will become more resourceful and use the ideas in these workshops to slow down their own consumption as they grow up.”

Lisa Waup is a Gunditjmara and Torres Strait Islander and Italian woman born in Naarm (Melbourne). A multidisciplinary artist and curator, she works across weaving, printmaking, photography, sculpture, textiles, jewellery and installation. Waup’s studio-based practice illustrates and symbolises her life’s journey through discovery and connection. Her work highlights the importance of tracing lost history, ancestral relationships, Country, motherhood and time through woven stories of her past, present and future into contemporary forms. Currently Waup is undertaking a Master of Contemporary Art Degree at the VCA at Melbourne University. She has exhibited at multiple galleries across Australia along with ReDot Gallery in Singapore and been acquired by many national and international collections, including the NGV.

John Brooks is a Melbourne-based multimedia artist, whose practice reflects the interconnected, anthropomorphic qualities and relationships between objects and humans. Originally trained as a textile designer, Brooks now works predominantly with hand-weaving techniques combined with various mediums such as video, performance, sculpture and installation. He has exhibited extensively in Melbourne, interstate and internationally over the past ten years.

John explains, “I’ve wanted to work with Lisa for a while because of her sensitivity with materials and the graphic yet organic quality of her print work and drawings, as well as her approach to found materials… there’s always been intuitive feeling that we’d make amazing work together, which I think is so important when working with another artist.”

Based just outside Melbourne CBD, Abbotsford Convent is a National Heritage Listed site and Australia’s largest arts and cultural precinct—a place of art, culture, collaboration and learning. Convent Kids is an exciting program developed by Abbotsford Convent in collaboration with leading artists, offering a range of fun hands-on activities that inspire children and their families to experiment, learn and make art together. Convent Kids is supported by City of Yarra and Weave It! is supported by Creative Victoria.