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Diary of a Landscape
July 25 - August 11
Textiles by PAMELA FITZSIMONS
Bow Wow is a 100 hectare conservation property in the lower Hunter Valley, 130k north of Sydney, in NSW Australia. I have lived here since 1999. The Bow Wow Creek Gorge forms the greater part of the property which is rich in geological, botanical and historic references as well as aboriginal heritage, is listed on the Register of The National Estate and by The National Trust and preserved under a Voluntary Conservation Agreement with National Parks and Wildlife NSW. This place is my inspiration.
My work explores the effects of engaging with a particular landscape or place, and concepts of time. The fossils of Bow Wow Gorge were laid down in the Permian period about 230 million years ago, when Australia was part of the great continent Gondwana. This place formed part of the coast at the time and embedded in the resulting sandstone which covers a rich coal measure, are marine fossils. At Bow Wow a small stream has over 50 million years cut a narrow winding gorge through the rock, revealing the fossils in layers in the soaring sandstone cliffs. Does a landscape choose us, or do we choose a landscape which ﬁts our idea of what it should be?
The wild, the tamed, the green and lush, the dry and stony; forest, woodland, heath, seaside, we all have our favourites. I came to the Bow Wow landscape slowly, it drew me in, the rainforest at the gorge base, the dry woodland on the ridges, the many caves, some sunny and north facing, others brooding and dark with bats roosting in the ceiling.
I enjoy walking and spend a lot of time observing the diverse ﬂora and fauna. As part of our partnership with National Parks and Wildlife we spend many hours working on weed control. The main weed is Lantana, a plant introduced from Africa for its pink and yellow ﬂowers. It grows on the sunny slopes and cliffs which we have to scale. This creates a special and intimate connection with the land. Living in the landscape, being part of a landscape.
The work created during the time here has reﬂected my engagement with this special place. Slow and process driven it is a meditation on Bow Wow. I use plant material collected on site to dye fabrics which are collaged together and hand stitched. Pieces are worked on over a long period of time and imbedded in them are the frustrations I feel at the constant battle we wage against the destruction of the remaining bushland in our local area. While we conserve our small area, around us the march towards development and the destruction of native habitats continues.
Opening hours – Wednesday to Saturday 11 – 5