Basketry is the world’s oldest known craft. Its roots are practical, utilitarian and a necessary part of human evolution. It connects us to our past traditions, to each other and to the earth regardless of who we are, where we live or where we have come from.
Elma Young’s artwork rises from this earth, literally. She takes branches, roots and fibres and bends them into forms which reflect humankind’s connection to the earth. “There is a sense of magic almost in taking a piece of fibre whether it is raw fibre straight from a plant or yarn or thread and just by twisting, stitching or weaving those fibres create a structure” says Young
Elma is involved in the process from germination to exhibition. “It encompasses a multitude of disciplines” she says “from weaving to twine making, netting, coiling and stitching, to growing and harvesting my own crop and plant knowledge being an essential part of this. How the plants grow and entwine around themselves and other structures also influences how I use techniques and how the fibre I use behaves as it is worked”.
Full of whimsy and joy, Young also plays with darker themes. She manipulates her nature into a celebration and mockery of the human form in her sculptural skulls. They encapsulate both the grotesque and the glorious.
Young’s work also studies the fundamentals of the three dimensional form. The origins of basketry are of the vessel. Young plays with this concept, using the negative space to play with form and deliver themes. “It’s a structure that not only has a framework”, she says, “but also creates shadows and encapsulates space”.
Young’s connection to the earth is backed up by her adherence to environmentally sound practices. “I think people are generally fascinated about how a structure can be made with some leaves or sticks that normally they would put into the garden bin without a second thought”.
Elma Young - Sketch to Sculpture.
Opening 5th May, 4pm -5:30pm, Exhibition runs 6th – 27th May 2018. Gallery hours Sat & Sun 11am – 5pm. Gate 6 Gallery, Gate 6 Cardinia St, Berwick. Free entry. For more details go to secan.com.au