Packed workshops to combat weeds
Dozens of locals, visitors, families and kids attended a weekend of free workshops to help create an art installation made from hundreds of recycled plastic bottles that will be installed in local bushland.
Titled “Insidious”, the installation is designed to boost awareness about the insidious nature of invasive weeds as well as the environmental impact of plastics. Artists Heloise Roberts and Moira Fearby – whose artwork often uses recycled plastics and has featured at Sculptures by the Bay in Dunsborough – are spearheading the design and creation of the installation. It will be more than 150 metres long with hundreds of trumpet-like flowers made from more than 350 recycled plastic drink bottles.
In a WA artistic first, the Margaret River region community got involved with the creation of the installation, with dozens of people working side-by-side with the artists at a series of workshops at the Margaret River Scout Hall over the weekend. A small army was busy cutting the plastic bottles and shaping them into “flowers”.
Among the crowd was Cristina Smith, who attended with her two children. She said it was a great opportunity to learn more about invasive weeds while getting creative and seeing how an art installation is created.
Artist Moira Fearby said: “It’s been fantastic. It’s been so lovely working with the community to make these flowers which are going to look amazing, with all the different interpretations that have really captured the creative spirit. We got more than 100 flowers done on Saturday and the same on Sunday, so it’s going to look fantastic and make a great environmental statement.”
Next, the sculpture will be completed by the artists and composed in bushland along Barrett Street Trail near Rotary Park, on the banks of the Margaret River. “The sculpture will creep through the undergrowth and up a tree, so suddenly it’s there in your face and has maximum impact. As part of the sculpture, we’ll also be using the different weeds that are found there, so the community can start to identify them.”
The piece will be unveiled at a free community event on October 15 from 2pm, with guided biodiversity and weed identification bushwalks run by Nature Conservation Margaret River Region.
Project coordinators and Friends of Barrett Street Reserve volunteers Maureen Munro and Peta Goodwin said Insidious will remain in place for several months, complete with information, signage and QR codes to a weed ID guide for people walking or cycling the trails. Local schools will also be invited to visit the installation.
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.
Funding for the Insidious project was provided by a Shire of Augusta Margaret River grant.