Artist Spotlight: Georgina Young
January 29, 2021
My making is intuitive and resourceful, I appreciate and value the time and natural materials that combine, intersect and grow, reflecting both love and life. I have always been drawn to embroidery, weaving and gardening: powerful and diverse mediums that connect me with other makers, working together in communities or at home. I honor those who work with their hands and inspire me.
My Nan was a tailor, maker and rascal, whenever I visited I would marvel at her intricate needlework, crochet lace and wild colorful rug creations while munching on black doris plums and golden queen peaches from her cute state house garden. Growing up in Ōpōtiki and Rotorua my handwork was really encouraged through helping Dad in his welding workshop, learning to do tukutuku panel work at school and harakeke weaving at Waiariki Polytechnic.
I love working with natural materials and seek to leave as little ecological impact as possible. I collect and reuse materials from friends and whanau, opshops, and places I visit to weave and stitch with. Working with the essence of landscape and fragments of the land drawing upon natural and primal creative forces.
As a gardener, a dreamer and lover of the soil I end up spending a lot of time crouching in the garden with my hands in the soil working, I enjoy closely observing the intricate relationships and the diverse presence of life around me. There’s a deep ancestral connection and preciousness to landscape and time that I feel with my whakapapa and being a mother.
Collecting imagery, colour and inspiration on walks in the bush and swimming at any possible chance with my whanau and friends.
I choose to work slowly, at times labour intensive, each work draws me to an appreciation of time and conscious attention spent whilst stitching, weaving and gardening the process is so meditative and calm, a slower life, a breathing spell, it is a space to travel in. At other times these intense levels of concentration can be really liberating, I am freed from everything else with my hands and mind engaged in the process wholly. With recent works I have woven my own linen on a four shaft table loom and used natural dyes to make my fabric to then embroider.
With all the disquietude our natural world and human relationships are under my work holds an optimism close. We are a part of this the rocks, soil, water and cosmos, everything holds a real presence, an essence of past lives lived and possibility of future, I am always so aware of that feeling. Part of my work is like cataloguing a passing time and a plethora of genus whether they are real or imagined like an ancient conversation with landscape.
Each work investigates through scale, texture, colour and through this effort creates a surreal life place, a wild garden all of its own, mark-making with intent, with layers growing and emerging organically over an expanse of time like nature itself, etched to join the detritus of life.
With textiles dense history through life and culture, from adornment to practical survival and uses some of my making crosses over into domestic items to be worn, carried and used. I love this facet of my work defying the industrialization of cloth and celebrating the handmade, weaving small pouches, cloths, bags and wraps to be worn and utilised its like the pieces really live a life beyond being seen and they work within the home alongside you, holding history. This work is an extension of my connection to landscape, home, the cave.
ALL HAIL MOTHER DIRT!
– Georgina May Young (Upokorehe, Whakatohea, Pākehā) was born in Opotiki in the Bay of Plenty and lives in Ōtepoti, Aotearoa with partner Sean and children Rocko and Aubrey. Gardening and producing textile works of embroidery and weaving on a loom, Young’s work is a slow meditation on the preciousness of life and our ecosystems felt within her strong ancestral dream connections in the soil. Held through the movement of a needle, a garden tool and a shuttle is an optimism, a quiet deep embrace of time.