March 1,2021

The Creation of a lifetime of Annies Workroom by Anne Harris

In January 2013 I began the journey I had dreamed of, to become what felt like an illusive goal of being an artist, of fully committing to truly being this. After years of skirting the issue and finding ways to make a living, my children were both about to be at school for some of the days in the week so now was my time to leap. My mother was a maker and my father a minister, so I was always surrounded by creativity and the process of sharing ideas, reflection, teaching and community.

My  first collection of  baskets was for a show at the Rosebed Gallery in Eudlo, the show was called The small town small works show, my submission was "Days of the Week" and was a forever growing and changing collection, each one had its own title and identity. I used to have a feeling of not being able to achieve anything creative as the imagined outcome always overwhelmed me and as the full time mother of small children, the time I have is very limited and distracted.

Then I began collecting fibre and making, now as my day or week unfolds I find that there is a bigger force that becomes visible when I look back on the week. It’s takes the micro ie a plant stem, discarded plastic or  palm frond and makes it into a something much bigger and more noticeable. It's very satisfying  when I focus on process and then look back at a point in time and see the collection of baskets that has grown.

Next came Natural Dyeing, Eco dyeing to be precise, my love of fibre and weaving led to a love of using plant material and finding India Flint and her method and inspiration, and from there a window opened, and also a huge amount of frustration. Which drove me deeper into the dyeing pots and determined to find a way to get what I knew in my head I wanted to express. The journey even now continues, I have so many pictures and processes in my head.

The Workroom held me and allowed the space for me to work, and sometimes stall as I dedicated my time to raising my children with all the complications that this can bring. The interruptions and demands, I had to let go of ideas so many times, of what was possible. One of those dreams was working in a detailed in depth way with wood, I had on and off through my life experimented with trying to learn how to make furniture, and have eventually come to the conclusion that in this life time I cannot do everything.

The more I let go of expectations of what creativity needed to look like during these years the easier it became to find small windows of opportunity to make. I carried a small bag of fabric and thread, and would often sit and sew while I watched or waited for the children to do what they needed to do. Women's work came to me as a necessity of mothering, and I grew to understand how and why women in art had the voice they did in historic contexts.

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