Crevice Communities Exhibition 2021

Karen Golland
Afterlife 2021
Video and still images


In 1996 a friend gifted me a box of flame polished plastic tube beads she had found in the shed of a rental property. She tried to return the beads to their owner. The real estate agent contacted the previous owner, but Lorna was now in a nursing home, and they suggested taking them to the tip. The beads had been meticulously hand-cut and arranged by colour and size in glass jars. Many of the lids had rusted shut, entombing their sweaty plastic-ness in glass forevermore. Between the jars were scrunched up pieces of waxed paper, and inside were Lorna’s leftovers – the one-offs and mismatched. 

Afterlife (low res) documents these remnants as precious artifacts. Each package is photographed at key moments in the unfolding and refolding process, with the light and colour adjusted to suggest an xray or object afterglow. When arranged symmetrically, the images recall the Rorschach test, a psychological test common during the era when the beads were popular. Likewise, these photographs invite a projection of the viewer’s experiences. The beads have a tangible connection to the history of craft in Australia, labour and women’s work – but the craft is now unknown and undocumented within Australia’s crafting history. A crevice craft, a crevice community.

Then there’s the story of the woman I never met. I think her name was Lorna, but I’ll see. 

I’ll try hard to remember

I used to know some things about her

I know she was a member of the Gould League

I know her husband died and I think she moved out then

I found her garters on the back of one of the doors

Her husbands name was Fred but I can’t remember hers

It might come back to me

Was it Olive or Lorna

I think her name was Lorna

but I’ll see

Karen Golland is a creative practitioner from Bathurst who works at the intersection of craft and sculpture, using expanded drawing and site-specific installation to create works centred on love and loss. Her practice examines the human desire to remember, measure and record emotional experiences through material culture and collecting.

Special thanks to Teresa Castley who gifted me this box of beads back in 1996 and shared her memories of Lorna – a woman she never met.

Provenance: Peer reviewed submission

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