We’re excited to announce WA artist Holly O’Meehan as our inaugural Art Ichol exchange artist. Holly will be travelling to Art Ichol, located in the rural city of Maihar in Madhya Pradesh, India, to undertake a month-long residency this September. We caught up with Holly ahead of the trip and asked her about her plans for the exchange.
You’re a visual artist and also run your own small crochet wares business under the moniker Hook Paper Scissors. Tell us a bit more about your artistic practice and how you first got into crochet.
I graduated from Curtin University with a BA in Fine Arts and Art & Design in 2013. At that point my art practice focused on repetitive and organised process-based works, ranging from print to sculptural and performative. I developed my art practice in this direction until about three years ago when my Mum finally got me to join her in a small crochet class and I’ve been hooked ever since (pardon the pun). My practice has since taken a turn towards the handmade. I love the physicality of creating with your hands using ancient craft techniques. My current works attempt to honour these ways of old in a society dense with modern technologies.
Art Ichol has an incredible array of art facilities from a gallery, bronze casting foundry, stone and wood carving workshop, ceramic and pottery centre and painter’s studio. How does it feel to be the inaugural artist in residence for the FAC & Art Ichol Exchange Program?
I was in disbelief when I was first told, but now that it’s sunk in I couldn’t be more excited! Art Ichol has an amazing reputation and I can’t wait to learn and experiment with some new hand crafting techniques at these facilities.
What are your plans for your residency? Do you have any particular projects you’ll be working on or parts of your practice you want to develop?
I’m really interested in learning a range of traditional craft techniques from the Madhya Pradesh state including their carving techniques, wood block printing, gold embroidery, pottery, casting and various styles of weaving and jute crafts. Along with learning these craft techniques, I’m hoping to develop and explore the techniques that I already use through interacting at Art Ichol. I’d really like to develop my art practice by creating and experimenting in response to the space, people and culture.
What other galleries and places will you be looking to visit while you’re in India?
The old city of Maihar where Art Ichol is situated has a selection of ancient temples that I’m really looking forward to exploring. I also hope to see where some of these traditional craft techniques were originally developed, amongst the people and their homes.
Are there any Indian artists you particularly admire?
Art Ichol always has a range of local and international Artists in Residence at the centre so it’ll be great to meet all of the other artists while I’m there. There are a few contemporary Indian artists whose sculptural works and art practices I admire. There’s Rina Banerjee, a female multi-disciplined sculpture artist whose intricate creations play between delicate handmade elements and mass-produced found objects. I also really enjoy the work by collaborative duo Thukral and Tagra (Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra). I’m attracted to their style of brightly coloured yet crisp finish to immersive and sometimes interactive installations.
You’re off to Art Ichol in September. Where can we find you in the meantime?
I’m currently working on a collaborative installation as part of The Golden Wattle Hookers, a crochet duo between myself and Jill O’Meehan (my Mum). Our encapsulating crocheted creations will be part of Vancouver Art Centre’s upcoming exhibition The Wool Story in Albany. For the rest of the time I’ll be in my studio in Fremantle, creating and preparing for the exchange.
Learn more about the Fremantle Art Centre & Art Ichol Artist in Residence Exchange Program.