14 February 2018

/ Travel Like an Artist: Michaela Pegum's Masters project in the Remote Australian Desert /

What a year it's been for talented Melbourne artist Michaela Pegum!

Representing Melbourne's RMIT Gold and Silversmithing school, she was chosen as the recipient of the inaugural Pieces of Eight Award as part of Craft's FRESH! Graduate Showcase in March 2017. We love her tactile works, and will definitely be keeping an eye on her artistic journey as it continues to evolve.

Following her FRESH! award, Michaela went on to enjoy a creative, expansive year, which saw her travel to the outback of South Australia on a research trip for her Masters. We asked Michaela to talk us through the experience, forming the latest in our Travel Like an Artist series.

"In 2017, I travelled to the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges and Lake Frome area in South Australia on a research trip for my Masters project. I am exploring perceptive experiences in threshold environments and I travelled to this wild, beautiful and very remote desert area to let it change me. I walked, watched, wrote and slowly adjusted to the profound silence. I also created forms and experimented with materials in the environment. I was interested in taking structures and materials into the landscape to see how they would interact, and what aspects of land, atmosphere and perception could be expressed, enlivened and unfolded through them.

Installing a silk windsock on Lake Frome
Lake Frome is a very windy, exposed salt lake on the edge of the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges national park. I created a wind sock out of steel and silk and took it out onto the lake at dusk (with the assistance of my very patient and tenacious partner Dave). It came alive in the wind and was a lovely thing to watch as the colours ripened on the lake and the light faded.

Reflecting the sky into the land
I wanted to see how I could merge the vastness of the sky and land. Initially I was interested in how the night sky appeared as the visibility out there is extraordinary, but I found it was also interesting to place skies of different characters onto varying surface textures in the light of day. Standing back, it appeared as though the sky was tunnelling through the earth.


Skies at the end of the day
If I was inside working in the afternoon, I ran outside for dusk to quietly watch and listen. Every evening was spectacular and unique, and gently punctuated with wonderful, emerging night animal sounds.

The calm presence of the desert stayed with me for months after I left, it dug in deep.

Michaela's 'Meshes' collection of contemporary jewellery was exhibited in our windows in June 2017, photographed by David Meagher