Jane Gillings Shares Her Best Found Object Discovery Sites

Jane Gillings is a Sydney-based contemporary artist who dabbles in painting, printmaking, drawing, and innumerable other mediums, but she appears to be most comfortable experimenting with sculpture, bringing new life to ready-made and found objects.

To make art from found objects, you’ve first gotta find the objects. Jane gave us an insight into where she finds hers.

My eyes are always down. Looking for stuff. Sometimes I can keep the
stuff I find, sometimes I can’t. Often, things I discover in my travels
find their ways into artwork that I make.

Here are some of my top discoveries and discovery sites.

1. The
banks of the Thames in London throws up so much strange and wonderful
junk it’s hard to resist ditching the clothes and filling the suitcase
with rubbish. I resisted however, and kept a solitary purple plastic
bottle shaped like a bunch
of grapes. It made its way into a robot sculpture.

2. I
recently came back from Turkey and collected some rusty wire around the
Lone Pine site in Gallipoli with the intention of using it in a
sculpture. I found out that one of my fellow travellers was celebrating
her 79th birthday,
so I made a little Australian soldier rowing a boat for her while we travelled down the beautiful Gallipoli peninsular.

3. There’s
a beach in Lipari, which is an island just off the north coast of
Sicily, which has the most incredible tumbled glass thrown up on the
beach. As well as glass there is tumbled crockery, tiles and sometimes,
if you’re lucky, shards
of pottery. I had to pay for excess weight coming home from there.

4. If
you’re a collector or a lover of old things, one place to visit before
you die is Bodie, in California. It’s east of the Sierra Nevada, and is a
classic ghost town. It used to be a mining town and it looks like
people just up and left,
leaving everything behind. Houses, churches, schoolrooms, and bars are
filled with possessions that were abandoned where they lay. You can’t
take anything from Bodie. Legend has it that if you do, you will be
plagued by bad luck until you return the stolen
item. People post objects back quite frequently when they discover
this. Despite this, it’s an amazing surreal experience to visit there.

5. Closer
to home, most of my art material comes from council clean-ups. Many
councils are a bit thingy about people rifling through junk, and some
even claim that it is their property the minute it’s put out on the
nature strip. They also
now require residents to put their junk out the day before pickup to
discourage scroungers. One council that hasn’t implemented this system
is Hornsby Council (bless them) and they seem to have an inordinate
number of clean ups. Now get out there and recycle! 

6. Another
Sydney secret is the old glass tip in Wahroonga. I’m going to be vague
about this so that only the truly passionate will seek it out. It’s on
the edge of the Golden Jubilee Field in North Wahroonga and is the site
of an old bottle
and glass depository that was used in the 60’s and 70’s. Before the
days of glass recycling, people would bring their bottles to the edge of
the cliff and chuck them off. It’s steep, hot and overgrown with
lantana and not for little kids, but there is so much
cool stuff to be found, like old melted bottles, crockery, cutlery,
coins, and all manner of awesome old crusty stuff.

Jane’s sculptures feature at Handmade by Little Creatures at aMBUSH Gallery, Waterloo. Opening Friday 25 October at 6pm.