Thursday, September 16, 2010

Now at Incube8r Gallery

About the Pianola Lanterns
The pianola lanterns' alternative use of these musical scores sheds light on the now-obscure practice of playing and singing round a pianola. In fact the pianola scroll is possibly the oldest form of digital music with each punched-out slot corresponding to a particular key on the piano; and the length of the slot determining the time the note would play for. In addition the pianola scrolls carried the lyrics running up the side of the scroll and visible to singers gathered around 'the goanna' possibly making it the oldest form of karaoke.

So with each lantern comes the mystery of the song:

Who last played it? Who sang along? Whose eye were they wishing to catch?

What happened next?

Hidden from immediate view, inside each lantern, is a base replicating in plaster, hand-stitched crochet doileys which inspire similar questions of who might have stitched this doiley and which dining table or bedroom dresser did it adorn? What conversations took place over the hours it took to make the doiley?
So take the lanterns out into the night, have a bbq and a drink or two, start singing and see what happens next. . .

Check out the latest in beautiful hand-made art, craft, and design works at Incube8r Gallery in Wickham St Fortitude Valley (between McWhirters and The Wickham)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Going Bananas

Calling all Brisbanites

Do you have a banana tree in your garden? I am hoping to develop a Banana Stories concept.

The concept is that it would be cool to find out the lineage of people's banana trees. Seeing as each one grows as a runner from another tree, and most people get their banana sapling from a friend or neighbour. . . that makes for an interesting web of connections. This might lead to a '6 degrees of separation' Banana Story.

I would like to get from people a photo of themselves with their tree/s and the basic lineage story. Then there just might be a chance of piecing together some of the stories and making a Banana Family Tree!

Here's an example:

My banana trees in Manly West grew from one sapling passed onto to me from family friend Bill and Carol Bates in Birkdale. I think I got the plant in about 2004.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Beenleigh Making Places 2006

The 2006 Making Places project saw us working in Beenleigh with Trinity College secondary art students over a term. We used coloured concrete, and hand made ceramic inserts. The concrete was moulded over fresh clay imprints in styrene moulds.

Each 440mm square paver consists of a number of individual cement tiles some with ceramic inserts.

There are 25 pavers placed throughout the main pedestrian thoroughfares of Beenleigh CBD. The students worked to the theme of healthy sustainable futures for Beenleigh. It was a creative leap to think 20 or 30 years into the future and come up with positive solutions to some of the environmental and population projections.

Half the pavers incorporate cast brass plaques which have local quirky stories written by local people, revealing that Beenleigh has had a colourful past.

The pavers and other significant artwork produced for the project certainly indicate Beenleigh's future looks bright too.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Memento 2006 Finalist

Using the delicate fern as inspiration the artist has created this unique handmade ceramic piece.
The tree fern is an ancient plant present during the reign of the dinosaurs and still growing in Australia today. Its beauty is a reminder of the remarkable age of the ancient continent of Gondwana.

The Memento Awards are a national competition run annually. My piece was one of 50 finalists selected from 1500 entries. It is one of a series of pieces using Australian leaves and seeds to form impressions in Australian clay. It is approximately 25cm long.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What is Tree Dressing?

It’s a term used to describe the international tradition of decorating trees. Tree Dressing exists in many cultures throughout the world and is called many different things. One thing they all have in common is that the focus of the activity is a tree or two.

According to Common Ground who coined the term, “The purpose of Tree Dressing Day is to raise awareness of the cultural and environmental importance of trees in our streets, parks, playgrounds. We hope that Tree Dressing Day will encourage people to overtly celebrate the trees in their localities by communally decorating them from the first weekend in December to the Twelfth Night.”

Common Ground started this campaign in 1990 and now about a thousand trees are dressed annually in Britain alongside many others in the rest of the world.

Tree Dressing is a deceptively simple idea. Find a tree that is significant to the local area, gather the local people and begin. Start by finding out all you can from anyone who can tell you anything about the tree.

This can cover many areas of knowledge from the science (What type of tree is it? What is its rootspan?) leading to the history of the place (How old is the tree? What has it witnessed?). The memories of a place are wrapped up in a tree.
Its perspective as a silent witness can be a great starting point for community research and sharing.

Tree Dressing includes all art forms. Visual adornment to the tree and the ground, poetry, music, dance, storytelling all have a part to play and a suitable platform in the tree dressing opening event.

There is no limit to number of groups that can be involved and in what way they are involved. Tree Dressing can be very simple: tying hundreds of little red ribbons to branches, or creating a cloth spiral at the base of a tree to draw people closer.

Tree Dressing works well with other ideas.

In 1998, Brisbane Independent School celebrated its 30th anniversary and as part of the celebrations I worked with the students on a Tree Dressing. The tree was centrally important to the school, everyone had climbed it, looked down from it, played beneath it, and probably some had fallen from it too.

The students wrote Haiku with the Japanese exchange teacher and painted these onto banners which festooned the tree. They made lanterns and at the night-time opening event the students emerged from the darkness in procession, lanterns lit and singing.

As the lanterns were hung on the lower branches, the Haiku was read, and the tree glowed with acknowledgement.

In 1996, Tree Dressing Day coincided with World AIDS Day, so our local project used the WAD theme for that year, which was ‘One World, One Hope’ to work with school children on compassion for trees and people.

The tree was in a highly visible location and we felt that it gave many people something to think about on their way home. The duration of the making process gave the students time to reflect on some complex ideas.

Tree Dressing is essentially a “tread lightly” ephemeral installation.

All the art work is designed to be gentle on the tree. For example bindings are cloth not wire that could chafe the branches. If glue is needed, flour and water will suffice. Participants increase their awareness of the physical needs of a tree. And in caring for that tree they regain the connection with the environment, the importance of trees to life.

Paying homage to the tree gives us a chance to see where we and the tree fit into the scheme of things.

For further information contact:
Tamara Playne, 07 3393 3635 or 0413 931 870 or email me at

Friday, August 25, 2006

Craigslea Installed

We have now finished installing nearly all of the pieces.

Here is the revolving cube installation which features the You Are Beautiful message on one facet, textural ceramic tiles on another, aluminium pierced pieces, and finally removeable collage inserts that can be renewed by future artists.

Below is the digital projection box with a pyramid light feature. The box is adorned with the You Are Beautiful message and the digital story projected inside the box is based on this theme.

Here are the temporary banners featuring student faces, photographed and then screenprinted onto the tie-dyed/shibori-ed fabric.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Craigslea goes Worldwide

The You are Beautiful website sent us this recently:

Tamara,What a great set of photos, and such a cool installation! Really wonderful how you are involving kids into this. We will put it on the site soon, the next time we update. Please do send more photos when you have a chance!Cheers
You Are BeautifulPO Box # 220175Chicago, IL 60622

The You Are Beautiful concept became the theme for our artwork and their website shows the beauty of the phenomenon as it is expressed by people all over the world. Check it out.

Yours creatively

Tamara Playne

Craigslea Art Built-in Artist-in-Residence

Craigslea State High School Art Teacher, Peter Cooke, and I have put together a CD with a power point presentation outlining the project as well as other documents that would be useful to anyone running an Artist Residency in an educational/community setting.

These will be uploaded to Education Qld's website

Look for the Art Built-In heading under Our Communities and go from there.

If you have any problems getting to it let me know at

Yours creatively

Tamara Playne