Every “thing” in this world has a story.
It was made by someone or by something. It came from somewhere. It ended up somewhere. It has a history. It had a purpose.
I like to collect these things when they are no longer needed, or wanted, and sit with them for a while. To understand their story. Their meaning. Their context.
And work with them to create a new story.
‘The Circle’, or council, is an ancient form of meeting that has gathered human beings into respectful conversation for thousands of years. The circle formation implies equality and calls for thoughtful speaking and deep listening. When ‘The Circle’ is made up of a collection of broken and discarded chairs, riddled with holes and coming apart at the seams; what does this say about society and our contemporary obsession with consumerism? This installation of chairs is calling you to sit down and listen.
LCI Melbourne visual arts student, Amy Graham, has salvaged these objects and carefully tended to each of them using repurposed textiles and craft techniques. She wraps, stitches, weaves, darns and crochets; and in doing so breathes new life into each chair, while at the same time allowing the object to reveal some of its history.
Each chair is broken and worn, but not worthless. Through these playful, thoughtful, handmade interventions, Amy seeks to reclaim a lost sense of value in the things we own and the traditional skills that many of us have lost. The use of domestic materials like old clothing, textiles and chairs not only imply the human occupation of space but these objects also hold the memories of the people who once owned them. These universally familiar materials and techniques of repair used to humbly recover each object all work together, enhancing the connection between object, viewer and maker.
The chair is a universal facilitator of communication. It is here, grounded, stable and inviting you to join ‘The Circle’, sit down and begin a conversation… even if that conversation is only with yourself.
More About Amy Graham
Amy Graham is a multi-disciplinary artist and designer from Naarm/Melbourne working within the realm of objects, everyday materials and craft theory. Her work addresses the materiality of the second-hand, the thingness of objects and the subsequent associated labour surrounding our decisions to acquire, discard or repair these.
In a world of material excess, Amy seeks to work with what she already has access to or collects along the way. In this way, her work looks to the relationships we have with the things that surround us and occupy our spaces, the places they come from, the meanings they hold and how we are constantly reinterpreting them.
Amy Graham weaves, crochets, wraps and threads her repurposed materials into tactile assemblages, sculptures, garments and installations in order to elicit a subjective response in the viewer and reassert a sense of value in the things we own. Amy’s practice is largely experimental and the intuitive nature in which she works recontextualises her materials, while still holding space for their past.
Amy grew up observing her hard-working parents on the family farm in central Victoria. Her Dad always innovatively repairing old machinery and her Mum creating new things daily with nothing more than her sewing machine, knitting needles or a needle and thread. These memories inform her values and work practice today.
Amy was awarded a Dean’s High Achiever Scholarship while studying her Bachelor of Design Arts (Visual Art) at LCI Melbourne and also holds a Diploma of Arts (Ceramics).