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Suburban Bloom

Suburban Bloom: Celebrating the Women of Knox

Each year around the world, International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated in March. Thousands of events occur not just on this day but throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organisations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women's groups, corporations and the media celebrate the day. Many groups around the world choose different themes each year relevant to global and local gender issues.

The Knox International Women’s Day working group At Knox considered the worldwide theme (The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum) and created a project called 'Suburban Bloom: Celebrating the Women of Knox'.

There were two aspects to this art project, weaving, using Indigenous plants and recycled materials and a performance, text, photography project titled Words from Women on the St.

Inspired by Country Arts Network South Australia Place Making Project 2011, Words from Women on the St was an ephemeral art project combining the written word and visual installations of women and girls thoughts, ideas, dreams and hopes creating a unique insight and glimpse into the women of Knox. These snippets and strands of words were collected by artists Cath Rutten and Nina Ambjerg-Pederson and temporarily displayed on speech bubble black boards, public spaces, sandwich boards, walls and other areas at Knox Festival.

Twelve women from the Knox Photographic Society photographed these thoughts, which informed a curated black and white photographic exhibition titled Suburban Bloom: Celebrating the Women of Knox.

Artists Nina Ambjerg-Pederson and Adrienne Kneebone were invited to create the Knox Festival centrepiece, Suburban Bloom, a large sculpture in the form of a tree made from recycled materials, native grasses, flowers and vines, gathered from Knox parks and reserves. The tree symbolises the growth and movement that women experience throughout their lives.

Lead artist Adrienne Kneebone, one of Victoria’s leading contemporary fibre artists has a strong skill base in traditional and contemporary basketry techniques and loves to incorporate materials from the land into her work. Together Nina Ambjerg-Pederson Brydie Dyson and Adrienne Kneebone also ran four workshops leading up to the Knox Festival engaging a variety of women’s groups from the Knox region. Three leaf shapes of varying colour were made, reflecting the natural progression of the highs and lows of everyday life. These were added to the Knox centrepiece Suburban Bloom. As well, workshop participants were able to make take home baskets from locally gathered plant materials.

In addition, Bush Toy weaving workshops were facilitated by Adrienne Kneebone and emerging local textile artist Brydie Dyson at Knox Festival on March 2-3, 2013. These creations were taken home for the family to enjoy. There was also the opportunity to create leaves that could be attached to the Suburban Bloom sculpture. The Suburban Bloom Sculpture is on display at the Rowville Community Centre, Fulham Rd, Rowville.

The exhibition was also on display at Coonara Neighbourhood Learning Centre from April 15, 2013 – May 13, 2013 and at Chosen Bean Café, Mountain Gate Shopping Centre, then at Knox Community Arts Centre, Bayswater. Images not selected for the exhibition are available on the Knox City Council Pinterest Page.

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