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Fence Work with Jane Skeer

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by Jo Harris (subscribe)
I love the things we have here in South Australia – the fabulous food, wine, people and places – beauty everywhere. And, for more beauty in my life, I own and operate a gorgeous little gallery called Mrs Harris’ Shop:
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Turn waste into wonderful with artist Jane Skeer
Artist Jane Skeer has turned wasted and un-wanted into an art form.

Fence work - create an artwork
Flyers Photo: Grant Hancock

She works with everyday discarded materials and presents them in a new light, giving us cause to re-think relationships with the familiar and ready-made.

In her current exhibition, Anew, showing at Gallery1855, Tea Tree Gully, you can see how Jane 'aestheticises' the discarded.

With action-packed 'Mad March' upon us, we see first hand the waste that is produced in the name of advertising and marketing. Think of the brochures, leaflets, booklets and the like – you've no doubt had a look at a Fringe program, an Adelaide Festival program, numerous pieces of paper advertising shows, exhibitions and activities.

For all of those that are used, there are boxes of them that are never required. So, what happens to them? Yep – into the recycle bin.

Jane catches them before they are consigned to the yellow bin and adds her own take on recycling to the mix by turning them into works of art. There are beautiful landscape-like pieces in the way of Of Nature - 3b, seen here and created from discarded Festival brochures.

Fence work - create an artwork
Of Nature - 3b. Photo: Grant Hancock

In yet another striking piece, she has used the spines of magazines to create fabulous geometric patterns in blocks of colour, framed in an Ikea bookshelf.

Our oceans, and the creatures housed there, suffer enormously from discarded rubbish – some of it generated by the fishing industry. Jane has used rope from lobster fishing, plus steel, to create large suspended sculptures reminiscent of fish-traps.

Fence work - create an artwork
Suspended I Photo: Grant Hancock

And there are other areas of industry generating waste that likely doesn't even cross our minds.

You've probably seen the straps that are used to secure loads in the transport industry. The strain, wear and tear placed on these straps means, for safety's sake, they must be discarded after a time. It's another resource for Jane: she's created some fabulous textural pieces like Stand Tall from disused cargo restraints.

Fence work - create an artwork
Stand Tall Photo: Grant Hancock

With the help of Jane and Gallery 1855, you too can 'aesthicise' some waste materials and help to enhance the Tea Tree Gully environs, through the Fence Project, on Wednesday and Thursday, 14 and 15 March.

There's a fence adjacent to Gallery 1855 that's ripe for 'enhancement' – and it's a fun event for locals (and not-so-locals) to exercise their talents.

Not only is the workshop a chance to be involved in a community art project, it's terrific opportunity to work creatively alongside Jane, one of South Australia's most exciting installation artists

During the workshop, you'll be introduced to her creative practice; help design and plan the artwork, then prepare and install the materials on site, all the time working with Jane.

Depending on its durability, the artwork will remain on the fence for up to three months.

It will be made with a collection of discarded materials gathered by Jane and Gallery 1855 staff. Have you ever wondered what happens to old, worn out high vis work vests? Or old street signs? They're just some of the items collected from the Council's discards and are just waiting to be incorporated into an artwork!

Fence work - create an artwork
What happens when I'm worn out?

Over the two days of the workshop, you'll prepare and attach the materials to the fence – there's likely even a chance to wield a power tool or two!

The workshop runs from 10am – 4pm on Wednesday and Thursday, 14 and 15 March – including a lunch and tea breaks. While two days have been allocated, completion of the work will depend somewhat on the weather, the amount of materials and the technical skills of the 'workforce'.

And, if you're not available for the two whole days, you're welcome to attend for just a day, or part thereof.

It's recommended that you wear sturdy closed shoes and practical clothing. A hat and sunscreen are also a good idea. Bring your own lunch and Gallery 1855 will provide tea and good coffee!

If you'd like to attend, please contact Niki Vouis at Gallery 1855. She is best contacted at

Gallery 1855 is very much a community space, offering involvement and engagement through its exhibitions and workshop space. Visit the council's website (or the gallery's Facebook page) to learn more about the space and to keep abreast of activities in the gallery or neighbourhood centres.

Fence work - create an artwork
Detail, Retiring the Load III Photo: Grant Hancock

Visit to see Jane's thought-provoking exhibition, or combine it with a day (or two) actively brightening up the area via the Fence Project.
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Why? Work with an artist, create something fabulous!
When: 14 & 15 March
Phone: 8397 7444
Where: Gallery 1855, 2 Haines Road, Tea Tree Gully
Cost: Free
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