The Nesting Project is a community arts and storytelling project exploring the concept of ‘nesting’- the desire to belong and to create safe and supportive spaces for ourselves and our loved ones. The Nesting Project will collaboratively create a giant woven nest accompanied by a collection of community stories and photos; a place-making installation that community members from all walks of life have contributed to.
Daughter and mother team, Meri and Jenny Davies, will be facilitating the project in The Railway Room at The Mill. A human-sized, nest-like structure will provide the frame through which punctured inner tubes, old fabric and clothing, netting, baling twine and other recycled materials will be woven. Created by cutting and contorting bike rims and spokes, the structure was made possible through the generous donation of damaged and discarded wheels from local Castlemaine business, The Bike Vault.
Over the course of 3 days (March 13-15) community groups, armed with cups of tea and snacks, are invited to collaboratively weave these and other materials into the giant structure. Participants are encouraged to bring along items that may have significance in their lives but they are reluctant to throw away, items that are associated with stories they wish to share.
The project weaves individuals’ own found, treasured, discarded or recycled objects and their stories into The Nest. Project co-facilitator Meri comments ‘Our lives are not defined by the objects we surround ourselves with, but they are often the vehicle for recalling our stories and experiences. We hope that the act of weaving objects into the nest is a cathartic process for some participants. That they are able to honour those objects and the stories they hold. Perhaps they will even be able to let go of them, allowing them to become part of the bigger story of who they are as a community’
Meri, a textile artist and community arts worker, originally from Victoria and now living in Mexico, has a strong passion for collaborative art and place-making practices. Jenny, a Castlemaine local, has a keen interest in the stories that shape lives and develop our sense of place. These stories will be collected as participants weave aspects of their experiences into The Nest. Jenny comments ‘In Castlemaine we value our community connections. There are lots of groups and groups within groups, each with their own unique dynamics and stories. The Nesting Project is an exploration of the people that make up these groups and their interactions with and relationships to the broader community’.
The project invites people from all backgrounds to become integral co-creators of The Nest, enabling participants to connect and find commonalities through the making and sharing of the arts.
It will be a great privilege to welcome the participants from Windarring, the local disability support organisation to begin the process on the Wednesday.
Underpinning the project is a celebration of the diverse skills and experiences community members bring to the installation and a recognition of their capacity to contribute to the ultimate goal of forming cohesive and creative communities.
Community groups will be invited to participate at The Mill in allocated 2 hour sessions from 10am Wednesday 13 March to Friday 15 March 6pm. The public are encouraged to visit during these sessions and to engage in the project in collaboration with these groups.
On Saturday 16 March, visitors to The Mill between 10am and 5pm will also have the opportunity to weave and tell their stories.
The completed Nest will be launched at 3pm on Sunday 17 March at The Mill and continue to be on display during the Fringe and the Castlemaine State Festival.
An initiative of Castlemaine Community House in partnership with The Mill, The Nesting Project is funded by Regional Arts Victoria. The Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund is provided through Regional Arts Australia, administered in Victoria by Regional Arts Victoria.