E: info@northcity4.com


Window to a Distant Landscape

Installation by Lindy McSwan
February 6 – March 31, 2016
Northcity4 Façade (24hr viewing)

As part of the Sustainable Living Festival 2016, Lindy McSwan has created a striking installation for the façade of Northcity4 using reclaimed materials and indigenous climbing plants.

Lindy McSwan Window to a Distant Landscape Sustainable Living Festival

Materials under construction in Lindy’s studio

Time spent in the landscape of the Victorian High Country severely affected by the February 2009 bushfires has been the subject of Lindy’s work over the last few years. Even long after the fires, hectare after hectare of native forest remained devastated. Incalculable numbers of dead trees stand in the landscape. While tragic, a quiet and haunting beauty remains.


Lindy McSwan Window to a Distant Landscape Sustainable Living Festival

Lindy McSwan, Vessel studies 2014, cotton rag, watercolour, gouache, graphite. photo: Jeremy Dillon

The panorama of burnt dead trees standing like towering matchsticks is austere and ghostly. A strong sculptural aesthetic manifests. As a mass and individually, shimmering silvery tree trunks contrast with large expanses of pure black charcoal. A strong sense of endless distance and space is evident. Ridge?lines of mountains fading into the horizon appear as unreachable layered silhouettes.

Lindy McSwan Window to a Distant Landscape Sustainable Living Festival

Blue Rag Range – Victorian High Country looking towards Mt Hotham, Nov 2011

In creating this window and gate installation for NC4 Lindy is working on a larger sculptural scale for the first time.

“This installation will be an extension of my expression of the landscape, previously explored using the vessel as my canvas”.

Lindy McSwan Window to a Distant Landscape Sustainable Living Festival

Sticks Lindy collected from the Victorian High Country and her local area

Lindy put a call out towards the end of 2015 to collect recycled materials from friends, family, hair salons and the local community. Silver, grey, black and white materials that she collected have been manipulated, painted and transformed to create an artwork, which references the severity of the landscape that has moved her.

Indigenous plants were chosen to suggest regrowth and hope for the future of this extraordinary landscape.

Lindy McSwan Window to a Distant Landscape Sustainable Living Festival

Clematis Aristata (old man’s beard), Clematis Microphylla (small leafed clematis), Pandorea Pandorana (Wonga vine), Parsonsia Brownii (twining silk pod)

Lindy chose a selection of native climbing plants to include in the installation.

She has generously offered to gift these plants to the Northcity4 Indoor Forest Project at the end of the installation. Thanks Lindy!

Lindy McSwan Window to a Distant Landscape Sustainable Living Festival

Assembling the gate installation with a bit of help…

Lindy McSwan Window to a Distant Landscape Sustainable Living Festival

Lindy installing her work

Lindy McSwan Window to a Distant Landscape Sustainable Living Festival

A subtle view from inside NC4

Thank you to The Sustainable Living Festival for your support and commitment to a better future.

Sustainable Living Festival logo


Launching the Indoor Forest Project: a green, permanent installation for cleaner studio air at Northcity4

12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 … finally, Go!


A year ago, Northcity4’s initiative Indoor Forest, a vision to build a permanent, green, air-purifying installation of vessels, plants and watering systems in our work space, won a grant of $10,000 in the Bank of Melbourne Local Project Competition. After some careful planning and research during the past twelve months, Northcity4 and project leader and studio artist Inari Kiuru, are excited to officially launch the project.

The practical phase of the program began this week by the first of two air quality analyses at the NC4 studios, conducted by our generous supporter Bell Laboratories. Two meters detecting possible fumes and pollutants were set up at the studio for the day, while Bell Labs Director Wayne Anderson also took airborne particle measurements beside our jewellers benches while they sawed, sanded and worked with fire.

Did you know that indoor air pollution is 2-10 times higher than the outdoors or that indoor plants reduce symptoms such as headaches, sore eyes, loss of concentration and feelings of depression? Indoor air is high in CO2 with harmful pollutants emitted from indoor plastic or synthetic furniture, furnishings and equipment like computers, copiers and solvents.

source: Professor Margaret Burchett and Dr Fraser Torpy, University of Sydney

In order to give the laboratory some initial clues on what chemicals to look for, we had supplied them with all the MSDSs (material safety data sheets) of our main working chemicals such as fluxes, solders and polishing compounds. Interestingly, the analysis will also detect possible emissions from the building materials and furnishings, as well as investigate the effect of the traffic-dense street outside on our indoor air.

We’re looking forward with interest to receiving the results in a couple of weeks. Later next year, to find out the exact effect a large number of indoor plants will have in improving our air quality, a second, comparative measurement under similar conditions (weather, number of artists working and the work flow of the day) will be undertaken after the installation is complete.


Indoor Forest jewellery sustainability

Bell Labs Director Wayne Anderson sets up sodium hydroxide vials into the measuring equipment

Indoor Forest jewellery sustainability

Emma sawpiercing a plastic knitting needle. The operation was surprisingly dusty, and a heavier mask to keep particles safely out was recommended by Wayne

Nicky melts 9k gold in a crucible for pouring an ingot; particle meter gets a little warm …

Nicky melts 9k gold in a crucible for pouring an ingot; particle meter gets a little warm …

Cass concentrates on polishing rings

Cass concentrates on polishing rings

Nicky fuses delicate 18ct gold parts while Wayne reveals his family's love for jewellery

Nicky fuses delicate 18ct gold parts while Wayne reveals his family’s love for jewellery

What is the Indoor Forest and what will it look like?

The central idea of the Indoor Forest project is to create a functional, green, permanent installation inside our workspace, to naturally assist in cleaning the studio air in a measurable way, alongside the NC4 conventional extraction fans. We envision the installation fitting well into the existing Northcity4 interiorsupporting the navigation and flow of the space by allowing ease and freedom of movement between the areas of the studio, and work/teaching activities within the school. The installation will also enhance functionality by replacing separating walls/divisions with suitable greenery. The ground, walls, and ceiling beams are all possible alternative locations for the plants.  Sustainable / recycled / ethical materials, methods and sources for the plants and for the construction of vessels and other attachment systems will be used where possible.
The second principal goal of the program is to collate the research findings and practical experiences into a free, public resource on the NC4 website. We want to provide specific data to assist jewellers using similar processes and chemicals to us, as well as more general guidelines for everyone on getting started with indoor plants. As far as we know, The Indoor Forest project is unique in Australia – we’re not aware of any other non-profit organisations experimenting with indoor plants for air cleansing and sharing their experiences with the community. (If you’re out there, please get in touch and let’s chat!). Northcity4 would like to become an active leader in the field, educating and inspiring others while deepening NC4’s creative approach and sustainable understanding. We want to create new and interesting opportunities for the NC4 artists as well as interested public, and to foster fresh exchange and contacts between Northcity4 and organisations/individuals who share our ethics and can contribute to the growth of NC4. 
Trees on wheels - an early vision for an "indoor forest" at Northcity4

Trees on wheels – an early vision for an “indoor forest” at Northcity4

Some background and early steps

The idea for an indoor garden at Northcity4 sparked when Inari came across the NASA Clean Air Project based on Dr Bill Wolverton’s findings that some of the most common indoor plants can significantly improve air quality by removing frequently present airborne toxins, such as benzene and formaldehyde, by their root systems. 
As the vision for an air-cleansing installation began to take shape, in 2013/14, five of the species on the top air-cleansing plant list were planted as samples at NC4, to see how they’d succeed in our indoor environment long-term: Golden Pothos, Weeping Fig, Spider Plant, Peace Lily and Snake Plant aka Mother-in-law’s tongue (see image below). In addition, English Ivy is currently being grown from seedlings. The results are very positive as we have ample natural light and artists present all year round for consistency of care. The maintenance has been relatively easy, with moderate watering and regular fertilising. This means a larger installation consisting of similar species in our environment will most likely have longevity, and be affordable and simple to maintain for years. 
Pioneers on the field of experimental gardening inspire us to research and imagine solutions which are highly functional and have therapeutic value, as well as contemporary aesthetics. Some interesting examples include Patrick Blanc, whose Vertical Gardens started a global wave of interest in innovative greenery for urban interior spaces, Takenaka Garden Afforestation initiativeKamal Meattle  and the University of Sydney Plants and Indoor Environmental Quality Research Group. Institutions and individuals who have conducted groundbreaking research regarding houseplants and health. 
Who would've believed a Mother-in-law's tongue can improve the atmosphere at home?

Who would’ve believed a Mother-in-law’s tongue can improve the atmosphere at home?

What happens next?

Early next year, once we have the data from the first air quality report, Inari will begin further research into how many plants are needed for the volume of the building to improve air quality, followed by designing and building an infrastructure for a large, living “forest”. The final construction and planting of the Indoor Forest will happen in July to September 2016. Stay tuned for news and images of these next steps via our newsletters, as well as the Indoor Forest blog to be launched in February 2016. There you’ll find regular updates, more background information and links to current research in the field. You can also follow us in Instagram @The_Indoor_Forest_Project.
For questions and comments, please don’t hesitate to contact InariStay in touch!


Green regards,
Inari & Northcity4 team

EXHIBITION: ‘What I saw when I went away’ by Katherine Bowman

AL: How long had it been since you had traveled somewhere overseas, where was the last place you visited?

KB: The last time I travelled overseas was about 5 years ago.

I went to Europe – Paris, Lisbon and England.

AL: What made you chose New York as your destination?

KB: At the beginning of last year a friend of mine died. He was an artist and introduced me to a number of artists’ work, which have been very influential on my own practice. When he died, I came across an article on an exhibition that was currently on at Moma (http://www.moma.org) in New York – a retrospective of the work of Lygia Clark (http://www.lygiaclark.org.br/noticia_detING.asp?Idnoticia=354) one of the artists that my friend introduced me too many years ago. The exhibition was on until June or July 2014, when I read this I decided to go to New York and see this exhibition. I had never been to America before.

 EXHIBITION What I saw when I went away by Katherine Bowman

AL: New York is a big, busy city how did you feel while you were there?

KB: I travelled on my own, so my experience was different to if I was with people. I felt like a silent observer in a very noisy busy city. It was interesting as usually when I have travelled I have been in places where I do not speak the language. Here I could speak the language however a lot felt foreign, yet at the same time very familar to me. I often found it very funny, as people are very vocal and in your face! On the whole I found New Yorkers really friendly.

 EXHIBITION What I saw when I went away by Katherine Bowman

AL: Your work makes reference to talisman’s and souvenirs – What are some of the things you “saw” on this trip that influenced you as a maker and the works you have produced for this exhibition?

KB: I really loved the American Museum of Natural History http://www.amnh.org and The Met http://www.metmuseum.org. I was expecting to be mostly interested in seeing contemporary works. However I kept finding myself back in the Egyptian collection at the Met and the Native American collection at the Natural History Museum. I went to the Met multiple times, because of the vast collections of different cultures that we don’t get to see in Australia. I also loved how eclectic each museum was, painting, sculpture, jewellery, artifacts, all housed under the one roof. It reignited my interest in researching how different cultures manifest their belief systems in daily and ritual objects. Jewellery is the perfect medium to explore these ideas especially as it is carried on the body. The small votives I created for the exhibition are an extension of this as well.

 EXHIBITION What I saw when I went away by Katherine Bowman EXHIBITION What I saw when I went away by Katherine Bowman

AL: NYC strikes me as a pretty fast paced modern place and your pieces have a wonderful ancient quality to them. What is your take on this…

KB: I like for things that I make to be intentional so I seek out a hand made look or aged look to the pieces. For me, new, machined looking pieces do not necessarily convey personal experience which is often not perfect, and worn at the edges. I love minimal, perfect work, however for my own work, it does not help me to convey the stories that I explore with making things. Also I think that there is more energy with placing different things together. It allows for an interesting dialogue.

 EXHIBITION What I saw when I went away by Katherine Bowman

AL: I love your quote that “when we travel to see things, what we really see is ourselves” could you let us in on a little bit of what you saw (in yourself) while you were away…

KB: I had been working a number of jobs for a couple of years and rushing from one thing to another and had not exhibited for three years as a result. When I went away I was acutely aware of how much I wanted to create for creations sake. Not to meet an order or fulfill production needs. Just to create to explore an idea. To push myself to make things that I had not made before. To challenge myself creatively. When I went away I was faced with everything about myself and the thing that I love the most is to create, it always pushes me forward. And that became more present the more I looked at things and experienced new things. When I am inspired by things I always want to make or draw as an extension of that experience. Its like my hands itch to make something. I sketched the three sculptures on a train, and then kept developing the drawings. I do not think I would have found these forms without the experience of travel. They were like an emotional response to experience.

 EXHIBITION What I saw when I went away by Katherine Bowman

AL: In this exhibition What I saw when I went away you have created sculptures on a larger scale to your jewellery practise, could you give us some background on what has inspired you to make larger works, how the process differs to you jewellery skills and will you be taking this sculptural work further?

KB: I have pretty much wanted to do this for years, and priotised other things. I think that I have been waiting for the right forms to allow me to make the step to pursuing foundry casting. Scale is very important. When I look at things, like going to exhibitions, or read, I start to create works in my head. What became very clear to me that in order to explore the concepts that this body of work encapsulates for me, I needed to work on different scales with different mediums. So the three sculptures, collection of small votives and group of rings, all fulfilled different needs to explore the theme of this new body of work. I loved every aspect of making the larger works. It was familiar and not familiar to me at the same time. A real challenge. I wish I could work on this scale full time.

AL: The canvas you have painted for this exhibition is a beautiful contrast to the 3 dimensional works. 

Could you shed a bit more light on it’s relationship to the objects in the show.

KB: I pretty much start every new body of work by drawing. I then make my drawings. So painting and drawing is essential to my creation of objects and jewellery. For me exploring different mediums helps me to explore conceptual ideas. So if I have an idea, it is important to me to find the right medium to express it.

Hothouse: a collaborative exhibition, at Northcity4.


As a shared studio workshop, NC4 serves its many artists in residence as an office, a workshop, a refuge (home away from home), a creative space, a storage space, a lunch space, an 80’s inspired aerobics space, a teaching space, learning space, a space of encouragement and venting, and a thinking space. Our hours in-house vary and range across the 24-hour span, 7 days a week. Many of us cross over during the week; some of us take over the studio, unseen, when others have left on the weekends or late at night.

There are a lot of us in here: with 10 permanent spaces and three short-term spaces, the influence of the Northcity4 community is far-reaching. With classes, workshops and seminars, Christmas parties and lunches, even more pass through the space. Connections grow. Friendships grow. Ideas grow. The plants get Seasol, but mainly we are fed on cake (with that many people, there’s a birthday every few weeks), cheese (the toastie press is always on), and tea (because someone else is always making it, so you can’t say no).

Within all the sharing, and all the community of the space, our individual work and practices remain intensely private. Our investigations into what drives us as makers, what excites and motivates our work are personal pursuits. Our experiments, mistakes and successes are often shared and discussed, but they are made up of a unique chemistry of influences before, during and after Northcity4. And so this exhibition has been a different kind of production from the NC4 hive.

Hothouse is a collaborative installation by fourteen current and past residents of NC4 over 2015. Within this space that prides itself on having no walls, we have worked together and strung and woven and knotted a black webbed room, and stuffed it with rescued waste from our urban environment: cycle shops and industry. And inside this we exhibit our many different workings. It is an exhibition of our community, demonstrating our collective difference that makes a whole. We’ve balanced and tugged at each other and at ourselves: to contribute to the planning and execution of the exhibition, and also to contribute the individual works that represent each of us working within this space.

Welcome to the Hothouse. This is what we’ve been up to in here.

Hothouse is presented as part of the Radiant Pavilion Contemporary Jewellery trail and Craft’s Craft Cubed festival.

Text by Anna Gray studio artist and chief technical officer at Northcity4


September 3 – 19. Open 11am – 5pm Thurs, Fri & Sat

At the Northcity4 studio: 61 Weston Street, Brunswick


Welcome to the Hothouse

Welcome to the Hothouse

the webbed wall looking through to the studio spaces

the entrance to the webbed “room” looking through to the studio spaces

Inside the Hothouse

Inside the Hothouse

work by Carolyn Kinnaird

work by Carolyn Kinnaird

work by Katherine Bowman

work by Katherine Bowman

work by Inari Kiuru

work by Inari Kiuru

work by Callie Whelan

work by Callie Whelan

work by Anna Gray

work by Anna Gray

work by Jinah Jo

work by Jinah Jo

work by Toyah Perry

work by Toyah Perry

work by Jana King

work by Jana King

work by Anna Davern

work by Anna Davern

work by Cass Partington

work by Cass Partington

work by Ali Limb

work by Ali Limb

Work by Antonia Field

Work by Antonia Field

Work by Nicky Hepburn

Work by Nicky Hepburn

work by Emma Grace

work by Emma Grace

work by Emma Grace

work by Emma Grace



Northcity4 is proud to be hosting Hothouse, a showcase of contemporary jewellery and objects by the resident artists at Northcity4. Fourteen artists contemplate the influence of a shared studio on their practice.

Please join us to celebrate the opening of the exhibition after the seminar Jewellery Three Ways – Skill on Sunday September 6 from 6.30-8pm
Hothouse is presented as part of Radiant Pavilion and Craft Cubed

The exhibition runs from 3-19 September 2015
11AM-5PM Thu, Fri & Sat
Opening: Sunday September 6 at 6:30-8PM
Northcity4, 61 Weston St, Brunswick 3056


Arts Project Australia Collaboration

arts project home page slide show

Venue: Northcity4 Facade, 61 Weston Street Brunswick
Dates: August 4 – 30
Launch: 2pm Sat August 8th (at Northcity4)
All welcome

Over the past weeks an enthusiastic group of artists at Arts Project Australia have been working towards a window installation on the facade of Northcity4’s studio in Brunswick.
The group visited Northcity4 a few weeks ago to asses the space and get inspiration for their installation which will take place as part of the 2015 Craft Cubed Festival held in August.
After some serious brain storming and collaborative research the group agreed on the theme of creating individual nests to be displayed as a group on the Northcity4 facade.
unknown copy 2
Using recycled materials that can also withstand the wild winter weather, the group have been hard at work making 3 dimensional art works for this exciting project.
Ali & Katherine from Northcity4 payed a return visit to meet with the artists working on their nests in the Arts Project Australia studio.
We are really looking forward to seeing the nests installed at Northcity4 during Craft Cubed.
The work will be on display 24/7 from August 4 -30.
Thank you to all the artists involved in the project and the staff at Arts Project Australia for their enthusiasm and commitment to this project.


Printarts project logo

Northcity4 beginners jewellery course graduate news

beginners jewellery course

Shane, Kat and Tara in their new studio in Collingwood


Kat Abbott, Tara Hall and Shane Hutchinson completed the beginners jewellery course at Northcity4 last year and have now set up a fully equipped studio space in Collingwood’s Cavern Table Studios and have started creating and selling their jewellery. One of our Beginners Jewellery teachers, Anna Davern paid them a visit to check out how it’s all going…

Hi guys, this space is fantastic! Well done. Can you tell me how it all started? You obviously met at the beginners jewellery course at NC4…

TARA: And then we all did the stone setting course after that

KAT: We probably first started talking about it at the start of the stone setting course. Shane and I started talking about it and then Tara came on board.

So who found the space?

SHANE: Kat found it. We looked at heaps of places on line, but in the end it came down to between two places

TARA: The great thing about Cavern Table is that all expenses are included in the rent: electricity, wifi and public liability insurance.

Where did you see it advertised?

KAT: On the Creative Spaces website which is a great place to find work spaces. A lot of places didn’t want people who have noisy practices. I was really upfront about it: “We’re gonna be banging and sawing and drilling”. A lot of the spaces catered to architects and illustrators etc.

beginners jewellery course Melbourne

Very cute old wall paper on the door to the entrance of their studio

beginners jewellery courses melbourne

Shane, Kat and Tara’s bright purple bench still has space for one more…

How much space have you got here and do you mind me asking how much it costs?

SHANE: It’s 12 square metres.

TARA: It’s $140 each per month. We’re looking for a fourth person, which will bring it down again (if you’re looking for studio space contact Kat via her website)

KAT: The other great thing is that the guys who manage the studios also have the shop Cavern Table on Johnston St and I’m selling my jewellery there now.

Talk to me about how you went about setting up your studio

SHANE: you can’t do a lot of stuff unless you’ve got the right tools

TARA: We started out using a butane torch but you can’t get enough heat in the metal so I invested in a better torch

KAT: It’s worth investing in the equipment once you get this far

How much have you invested in equipment

KAT: It’s all been Shane really (laughter)

SHANE: I’ve spent about $4000 I suppose. The rolling mills were the big expense. I went nuts with the Rio Grande catalogue. But even though I purchased the equipment, everyone’s free to use it. All the little hand tools add up too and I bought the more expensive stuff, it’s not worth getting the cheap stuff.

TARA: I spent probably $1500 but we share everything.

KAT: I already had lots of tools but I’ve probably spent a couple of hundred

So you could set up a studio like this between four of you for $4000

SHANE: Easily! You could come in here with $500 each and you’d have a great set up. I use the rolling mills a lot but you can buy metal in the size you need so they’re not essential when you start. One of the things we wanted to do when we moved in here was roller printing and no one’s done any!

KAT: I’ve done lots of roller printing!! (laughter)

How much was the postage from Rio Grande, delivered from the US?

SHANE: Dear! Nearly $700 to get it shipped but it still worked out about the same price as getting it here. It got here in 3 days!

beginners jewellery courses melbourne

Brand spanking new bench shears with Kat’s design work on the wall

beginners jewellery courses melbourne

bench shot

So how often do you all get in here?

TARA: I work casually so I’ve started taking Fridays off work so that I can spend the whole day in here. I was living in Gippsland but I’ve moved up here now so it’s a lot easier to get in.

KAT: I come in at least 2 nights a week because I work in Carlton and live in Abbotsford so it’s on the way home and I come in a lot on the weekend because I live really close.

SHANE: I live in Sunbury but I’m moving closer to where I work so I’ll have more time in the studio this year

KAT & TARA: Yay!

SHANE: We email each other every day to see who’s coming in to work. It’s important for us to have a shared studio. I would’ve stopped making jewellery if I didn’t have it. Even if I’d bought all the same equipment that I’ve bought I would’ve stopped without a shared studio.

KAT: it’s exciting to be in the environment where other people work. Also, we come in here and we can tell each other everything. We’re not really attached to each others’ lives so we can be really honest, and bitch and moan (laughter)

SHANE: Yeah, there are 3 counselors in here – it just depends on who’s having a bad day.

TARA: It’s really cathartic coming here. We’re so used to sitting in front of a screen all day, it’s great to do something with your hands. I now have a better appreciation for the expression “blood, sweat and tears” I’ve literally put that into all of my work. (laughter) After travelling last year I came back looking for something that I could be excited about and something to learn that involved making and that I could use to start my own business. I wanted it to be my product, etc, so I took the class at Northcity4 and kept thinking “don’t think too businessy about it, just go there and enjoy it.” And I LOVED it!

SHANE: I nearly didn’t do the course, because I thought it was a girl thing to do rather than a guy thing. And then when I thought about it, it’s almost more manly because of the tools and equipment, etc.

We get a real mix in our classes. So you all have other jobs?

SHANE: I do estimating for windows

TARA: I work in marketing

KAT: I’m in design. Our diverse backgrounds mean that I can do the logos and artwork for the studio, Tara does the strategizing and motivation and Shane can help out with quotes and business stuff.

SHANE: And I can build all the tables and benches. Everyone brings something

beginners jewellery courses melbourne

Works in progress by Kat

beginners jewellery courses melbourne

Anticlastic (or is it synclastic) raised bangle by Shane

Are you selling your work?

KAT: I get quite a few hits and sales on my website. I post stuff on facebook and that get’s lots of people there. I’m also doing the Makers Market at the Abbotsford Convent this weekend (see below for the flyer)

TARA: I had my first market in January and sold my first piece! It was an arts market in Warragul in Gippsland. I applied and they had a cancellation so I took the audacious step and signed up. I had about 2-3 pieces finished pieces when I applied and only 3 days left to make the rest of the work, so I took a few days off my other job and spent 3 days in here just bashing things out. I had 20 pieces at the end.

SHANE: I give most of my stuff away

You have to stop being so generous!

Thanks so much for your time, it’s great to see what you’re doing here and it’s nice to think that Northcity4 contributed to you setting up this great space.


Eddy Carroll interview – TRADE BEADS

Eddy Carroll interviewed by Ali Limb about her upcoming installation TRADE BEADS.

Trade Beads by Eddy Carroll
On the facade of Northcity4
61 Weston Street, Brunswick
February 7th 2015 – April 5th 2015


What inspired the creation of Trade Beads?

When I was an artist in resident in Istanbul, I collected fishing buoys from the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn (a horn shaped estuary that joins the Bosphorus) and made a giant set of worry beads or ‘tesbih’ as they’re called in Turkish.

Before leaving, I threw the worry beads into the sea, releasing my worries. A fishermen nearby, fished the beads out and then also had a go, soon everyone wanted a throw.

The ‘Tesbih’ ended up back on shore in a private collection 😉 I loved collecting and making that piece, it was contemplative, methodical, it was about walking and exploring my new city, I’m always a flaneur.

eddy carroll worry beads sustainable living festival


Could you explain the materials you have chosen to use and why?

When I was invited to create an installation for Northcity4’s façade I decided I’d love to make a giant necklace being a jewelry workshop and all…

I had just moved to Brunswick and was a newcomer to so many things; this project was a way into my new community.

I began to ask people to save their opaque plastic bottles from shampoo, dishwashing, and cleaning products…

People I asked were like, “oh it takes me for ever to use, I won’t be done by the time you need it.” But I had planted a seed.

Before I knew it I had bottles coming from everywhere, for some people it wasn’t an effort, I’m sure some even de-cantered liquids into glass jars… I bought a small saw and began making ‘beads’.

I came across some great hand spun, saffron dyed, coconut twine, pushed aside my worktable and began to assemble a giant necklace.

eddy carroll trade beads sustainable living festival

Is this a scale you usually work on?

I had fun adjusting my work size to a much larger scale and using materials that can withstand being outdoors.

In my ‘usual’ practice I work with reused, collected plastic sequins and beads as well as textiles. I hand embroider, cross-stitch, I hand sew soft sculptural forms.

I’m not a jeweller but my work relates to the body. Soon enough a giant series of  ‘Trade Beads’ had began to take shape.

While threading bottles together for this project I also worked on a highly detailed soft sculpture made out of tulle and individually hand sewn sequins for the Craft Victoria ‘White Goods’ show.  It’s good for my eyes to mix it up a bit.


Limited edition fine art print archival rag paper 55×35 $260 Collaboration between Eddy Carroll artist, and fine art photographer Lesley Turnbull.


What is the main message you are conveying in this work?

My art practice is inspired and driven by an enquiry into sustaining and adapting cultures. Amongst other things I’m interested in how new materials enter into traditional textile practices.

Fluorescent yarns in weaving from S.E Asia , synthetic replica costumes in Eastern Europe, machine sewing in Guatemalan village embroidery, plastic raffia in South pacific weaving, there are endless adaptations.

I’ve been to some incredible places in the world – plastic is completely every where. Whether it’s burning, floating and chocking up waterways or as disposable goods for ‘hygiene’ or amazing recycled plastic. I find it an interesting juxtaposition of pollution and innovative responses, a direct result of an unjust economic order.

I find something absurd about plastic.

But saying that I have to confess that there is something in me that doesn’t mind aesthetically a bit of plastic; for instance when I was in Turkey in a place called Mardin I bought, for around $1, a plastic jug that was the exact the same shape as traditional ceramic jug used since the Byzantium times… Walking through the town I saw those plastic jugs being used in day-to-day life and I was so moved, in the same way I was by seeing the original artifacts in the antiquities museum.

I also collected plastic donkey jewellery worn by the donkeys that worked with the tradesmen, hauling loads of what seemed like cement mix through the streets … These hardworking beautiful animals wearing headdresses and necklaces like they had forever, just made of bright plastic and synthetic ‘woolen’ pom poms.


The sequins I use now, were once made of celluloid, before that sequins derived from small metal coins used to adorn costume, the beads were once glass, it’s all plastic now. Shiny, shimmery, plasticy stuff. It never stops being produced.

Yep, there’s an absurdity to plastic, it’s made to last forever but it’s so disposable.

What other projects are you working on this year?

Running along side Trade Beads and the Sustainable Living Festival I have work in Craft Victoria White Goods. At the end of February I am involved in a group show of the City of Dandenong Heritage Hill 2014 Artists in Residency, which I had the good fortune of being one.

I’ll also be working with Lisa Hilli at the Australian Tapestry Workshop later in the year, which is very exciting; I’ll keep you posted via Instagram 😉 @glimmerofwildpatience. Heh heh.

Thanks for the opportunity to be apart of Northcity4’s program and The Sustainable Living Festival, I’m always totally inspired by what you all do. I’ve had a really fun time working on Trade Beads.

Special thanks to all the people who collected and handed over their bottles, you’re an integral part of this work. We’re all in it together.

Thanks to you Eddy



Eddy Carroll – Trade Beads

Eddy Carroll Trade Beads Sustainable Living Festival

Once again, Northcity4 is excited to have a project running in the Sustainable Living Festival program. Eddy Carroll will adorn the façade of Northcity4’s warehouse in Brunswick with a giant strand of beads made from reclaimed opaque plastic containers strung onto rope. Eddy’s installation ‘Trade Beads’ inspired by a previous residency in Istanbul, will be on display from February 7th 2015 until early April 2015 and will be viewable 24/7.


Screenshot 2014-11-10 13.17.32


We are very excited to announce that Northcity4 has received the Bank Of Melbourne Local project award of $10,000, to develop an indoor  air purifying forest and we look forward to sharing the resources with you all and the wider community.

Thanks to our wonderful friends, family and supporters this dream is now going to become a reality.

Special thanks to Inari Kiuru who has designed and led this project.

We look forward to sharing the outcomes with you in 2015.