Gay Chatfield

‘A Place to Dream’

When I reflect on my childhood growing up in the country, I remember often finding myself down at a nearby creek alone, sitting in amongst the bush and entering into a state of daydreaming. My woven sculptural piece has been created to evoke that place of contemplation.

Special thanks to assistant Linda Haggar.

Gay Chatfield’s art practice has taken many twists and turns since the 2009 bushfires that swept through our region. Initially she began working with melted glass and burnt fragments of mementos giving them a ‘new life’. One day she discovered a very old honey suckle vine and started moving the large twisted pieces around one another and weaving in other materials to hold them in place. This experience evolved into ‘random weaving’ a process whereby Gay places her trust into the plant material she is working with, using her intuition to weave it into new forms.

Working with the materials of the forest initially posed quite a challenge to Gay who was used to working with Willow to create the framework of her structures. During a working bee on site prior to the residency, she sought advice on a species to discover that it was Sycamore Maple, a plant that becomes a weed in the forest. She soon found this material had both the flexibility and firmness to create her frames. Vines from the forest were also used for more intricate weaving. One surprise was that she came to realize that her 'pods' mirrored the nearby tree fern fronds when they have fallen into a state of decay.

Another surprise was the great excitement that her creations made among the many school groups who came to visit the Sculpture Trail. As soon as the first pieces of the frame were installed, the children could not wait to clamber in and explore. In this, the sculpture achieves its goal of beckoning the visitor into a fully interactive experience.