I’m excited to say that I’ve been selected as one of the artists to be given a residency position as part of the Liddell WORKS Project! What is that, you may ask? Well, for my friends from overseas or interstate, Liddell is a huge, old, coal-powered power station in the Upper Hunter, which is being decommissioned, mostly demolished, then converted into an ‘energy hub’.

Where do artists come into that? A group of sixteen artists have been selected to ‘creatively respond to the process’. And I’m one of them. While Singleton and nearby Liddell aren’t that far from Dungog, the residency doesn’t require me to actually work at the power station. Instead, I’ll be working at home, having made a visit to the site some weeks ago, to look around and take photos for inspiration.

I’m also looking things up online like maps of Liddell, and historic photos of the place and people. The visit was certainly inspiring- getting right up to the top of the power station afforded fabulous views! And the power station and Lake Liddell, its source of cooling water, are mind-bogglingly big, with strong contrasts of stark grey and black with unnaturally-garish hi vis colours, deep shadows with bright, industrial lighting, or the soft greens and blues of the surrounding lake and hills. And shapes and textures…? So many, so different, so much to think about!

Anyhow, without giving too much away so early in the project, I’ll be making a series of works in crochet, which relate to the colours, forms, shapes and textures of Liddell, while evoking thoughts and memories of the place, people and times. Which is a complicated way of saying, ‘lots of colourful hats’! Between twelve and eighteen, I’m thinking, over about a year.

I’m well underway on the first already, which will be a ‘hard hat’ in grey-flecked cream Cleckheaton (Australian 8 ply pure wool yarn), with drawings done for several more, and lots of ideas flitting about in my head. These hats will be different to, say, my usual critter hats or swimwear– while the Liddell project hats can be worn, they are not necessarily all intended for regular, daily wear. Some will be stiffened, others oversized, all will be statement pieces..

I’m told that there will be events featured throughout the period of the project, some are to actually occur at the power station, while at the end of the residency, in 2024, there will be an exhibition of work by all the artists involved in the project, at the Muswellbrook Regional Gallery.

I’ll be adding more posts to this blog from time to time as the project progresses, as well as photos of the hats I’m working on. This is a fantastic opportunity, and should be great fun!