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Guest Blogger: Pennie Jagiello

Northcity4 is excited to introduce Pennie Jagiello, our first guest blogger. Pennie will be running an inspiring workshop called Message In A Bottle at NC4 on Saturday June 16. Pennie has also created an amazing installation at the front of our warehouse which can be viewed 24/7 until July 27.

So over to Pennie…

Pennie and her Speech Bubble

As guest artist invited to decorate the exterior of the NC4 warehouse in Brunswick in conjunction with my upcoming workshop Message In A Bottle there were a few things to consider. As I created the large outdoor installation my thoughts were –

  • How exciting and yes I would love to!
  • It had to be in keeping with my ethos of using recycled materials
  • Make it bold and colorful to stand out in an industrial side street
  • Attract attention and curiosity to my work and Northcity4
  • Materials used should reference those I use in my own practice and also in my workshops.
  • As this piece will be exposed to the elements it needs to withstand whatever the weather throws at it. (thankfully the day of installing was a bizarre pocket of winter… sunshine amidst threatening grey skies)
  • Make these pieces detachable so they will be easy to remove as they will become part of my evolving installations and workshops.
  • This is just the beginning of recycled life for these pieces…


Big Blue Jellyfish – mounted on the side gate

Recycled plastic bags were my first choice of materials, as they are one of the most commonly found man made pollution in the environment from city to sea. They can take up to 1000 years to break down, and are usually used once and then thrown away. Plastic bags are often mistaken as jellyfish to the demise of many; sea turtles, dolphins, sharks and even whales have fallen prey to the plastic bag. Apart from the damage they do to our marine life, they are chemically bad for our soil and water – silent but deadly!

Recycling is a  fantastic solution, but it’s important not to forget that a plastic bag reused as a bin liner still ends up as land fill.   (A biodegradable option is definitely better, however it still relies on the right channels of recycling and although it has a much shorter life span it can still cause damage to our marine life. The best option is no plastic bags.)

Pennie installing Big Blue Jellyfish

Too often we see plastic bags floating around us every day, stuck in trees, drains, and fences. This litter inspired the large jellyfish I created for the NC4 side gate, made from a collection of reused blue, green and white plastic bags.

Jellyfish have been one of my main inspirations and I hand carve a little jellyfish into my work as my jeweller’s stamp.

So next time you are offered a plastic bag I hope you will think of my Big Blue Jellyfish and say no thanks. I hope that my jellyfish inspires others to stop using any type of plastic bags and packaging as there are so many alternatives that can be reused again and again.

Speech Bubble – mounted in the front window recess

The pink trawl net is just a section of a massive net I rescued from some commercial fisherman at Lakes Entrance before it went to the tip. Thankfully they didn’t leave it out in the ocean where damaged nets are often discarded and left to drift. These nets are called Ghost Nets and are hazardous to marine life. The speech bubble references trawl fishing which catches both target and non-target catch, this includes non-target fish as well as birds, shells, sponges and coral. This net has caught some shells I have hand cut from plastic milk and drink bottles. The frame of the Speech Bubble is made from plastic bag fronds and in this way I hope to highlight the effects of trawling through sustainable and creative making.

What’s hiding under there? Why, it’s a Katherine Bowman cup!

The installation at NC4 is the first public display of many to come for the Speech Bubble. I would like to invite the public to add to this piece in ways that are relevant to their own environmental concerns and document the changes as it tours, So stay tuned for updates and come and join my ‘Net-Work’!

If you are passing by, feel free to add your own thoughts or creations and help yourself to one of my hand made milk bottle shell cards or join my workshop and come and carve up a milk bottle with me… Oh, and the rest of the plastic bags, net, milk bottles and lids are already being transformed…. I’ll keep you posted.

Pennie’s maker’s mark shell card

Message in a Bottle at NC4 will be the third workshop I have held using recycled materials to create wearable and inspirational pieces of jewellery. We will be transforming our immediate trash into treasures while helping our environment in an achievable, creative and fun way. It’s here now, we made the waste…we’ll have to wear it!

By asking the public to engage with these pieces and by conducting more workshops, I hope to inspire us all to think about what we are buying and whether we really need it? It is worth our while taking the time to choose products with no packaging or those we can reuse wherever possible.

These are small but important steps and we can all help to be a part of changing and maintaining the environment that we want to live in today… not tomorrow, but now.

I highly recommend looking at Tim Silverwood, Take 3 Clean Beach  and the Carpentaria Ghost Nets Programme to name some of the amazing work that is being done, or have a look at images of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch  which is a soup of plastic churning in the sea and scarily is much, much bigger than Australia, and it’s not the only one.


A very big thank you to –

Cafes Gingerlee in Brunswick East and Tutti i Sapori in Clifton Hill for saving smelly milk bottles for me.

Family and friends who happily gave me unwanted plastic bags that were multiplying en masse in cupboards. Many of them were surprised and some embarrassed they had so many bags to offer. If that’s a ‘bagful’ of people who I have encouraged to think and act on their own impact on the environment then that’s a start.

And an especially big thanks to the wonderful crew at NC4 for this fantastic and fun opportunity!


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