Essay

At Home and in the Studio: Nell

During the lockdown I moved my art-making life from my studio at Carriageworks to our tiny apartment in Elizabeth Bay. And then thankfully, back to the studio again. During this period, I thought there would be spare time to read books and rest but all I seemed to do was work and move stuff around! That’s not quite true - the blessings of this strange period for me were going for walks to the Botanical Gardens, communicating with my pals overseas and being able to do more online yoga classes than I normally attend in the flesh. 

I was scheduled to be in Auckland during April for a residency at McCahon House. When I was unable to travel we turned a negative into a positive and migrated my quilt project online. Everyone is welcome to participate. All you need is a bit of fabric, a needle and thread and a woman who is special to you, so that you can embroider her name. The response has been wonderful - so many great women and so many great stories. It has been a joy to see the quilt grow digitally on the McCahon House website and on Instagram #nellannequilt. But of course, I can’t wait to have all the pieces of fabric together in one place and start stitching them together. 

Throughout this I found the spirit of generosity in the artistic community in Sydney really heartening. 

Community is everything. 

 

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Nell is a Sydney-based artist.  Her wide-ranging practice traverses performance, installation, public art, video, wearables, painting and sculpture. Employing eclectic approaches, Nell attempts in her work to probe the thresholds of what appear to be binary opposites: in amplifying their tensions or reconciling their differences, new objects and rituals are born.

Nell studied at Sydney College of the Arts, Sydney, University of California, Los Angeles and École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris. Across two decades, Nell’s work has been included in over 250 exhibitions. She is currently a Carriageworks Studio Artist. A monograph of her work, published by Thames and Hudson, will be available from August 2020. Nell is represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney and STATION, Melbourne.

Filming with ABC in my local park for the Nell Anne Quilt Project

'LEDA' patch by Heather B. Swann for the Nell Anne Quilt Project

The studio today 🙂

Yoga in the sun room at home

Works in progress at the studio

Walking in Botanical Gardens at twilight