Free art workshops to combat weeds
Free tickets are still available to a series of art workshops this weekend as part of an ambitious project that will see a giant creeping “weed” made from hundreds of recycled plastic bottles installed in local bushland.
Titled “Insidious”, the installation is designed to boost awareness around invasive weeds and will be accompanied by free guided biodiversity bushwalks when it is installed in karri and marri forest along Barrett Street Trail near Rotary Park, on the banks of the Margaret River.
Local artists Heloise Roberts and Moira Fearby – whose artwork often uses recycled plastics and has featured at Sculptures by the Bay in Dunsborough – will spearhead the design and creation of the installation. It will be more than 150 metres long, made from plastic tubing, with trumpet-like flowers made out of more than 350 recycled plastic drink bottles.
And in a WA artistic first, the Margaret River region community can get involved by working alongside the artists to help create the giant creeping weed. There are twelve 30-minute workshops at the Margaret River Scout Hall this weekend (six on Saturday and another six on Sunday). Tickets are free and can be reserved at https://events.humanitix.com/insidious or by following the links at www.natureconservation.org.au.
“What an exciting opportunity to be involved in a community driven initiative to create awareness of the ecological threat of introduced weeds in our precious Margaret River natural environment,” says Heloise. “We look forward to bringing the community together through the creation of a collaborative artwork, and realising the power of the arts to create awareness and change.”
Project coordinator Maureen Munro said children are welcome to attend the workshops, with under-12s to be accompanied by an adult. “It’ll be great fun as well as informative,” she said. “You don’t need to bring anything or have any previous artistic experience or skill, and everyone is welcome.” Maureen and fellow Friends of Barrett Street Reserve volunteer Peta Goodwin are behind the project, which is supported by Nature Conservation Margaret River Region and received a grant from the Shire of Augusta Margaret River.
In October, the completed work will be installed along the popular Barrett Street Trail between Rotary Park and Barrett Street Weir, and will remain in place for several months. On the opening day, Nature Conservation will host guided walks for the community, so locals can learn more about our bush and biodiversity, and classify weeds from native species. There will also be weed identification guides complete with QR codes for people walking or cycling the trails. Local schools will be invited to visit the installation too.
Peta and Maureen said the idea to bring an art installation to Margaret River was conceived when they visited Sculpture by the Bay in March and saw the artists’ work, which cleverly combine two major environmental threats – plastics and weeds. “We immediately realised its potential to help people understand the insidious nature of plastics in the environment and the toxic invasion of weeds into the Australian bush,” says Peta. “We approached the two artists and they suggested a community project to really get people passionately involved and learn environmental responsibility through art.”
Nature Conservation general manager Drew McKenzie said he was excited by the collaboration because “invasive weeds are one of the biggest threats to our native flora, and they have a huge impact on native animals through habitat loss”. “We’re hoping this art installation will be a powerful way to spread that message,” he said.