ArtKeeper Update: Norton Fredericks Mid-Way Check In

ArtKeeper Update: Norton Fredericks Mid-Way Check In

Norton Fredericks is a queer sustainable fibre artist and workshop facilitator with Indigenous heritage living and working on Bullongin Country, Hope Island.

Norton's primary focus is creating handmade wool felt and using botanical dyes extracted from Australian native plants aiming to create art with as little environmental impact as possible.

#Check out how Norton is going as he passes the half-way point of his HOTA ArtKeeper residency.

What have you been working on so far in the ArtKeeper studio?

NF: So far I have been working on prototypes of my felt sculptures and getting them to a level I am happy with that is as close to the actual macro detail of the plant as possible. This has taken a few trials and different techniques especially while trying to replicate a blue quandong seed. I have also been doing a bit of field work and sketching botanicals along with researching more about our local native flora. It has been a nice challenge for me to incorporate drawing into my practice as it's not something I usually do.

What are the next steps in your project?

NF: The next steps in my project will be working with microscopy, looking at plant cell structures to replicate using felt and dyeing with the plants they represent. It is very interesting to me that plant cells react the same ways to dyes as their fibre counterparts do, especially the proteins. I am looking forward to exploring the plants that I use in my practice on a deeper level.

You’ve been spending some time connecting with community members for your project. Tell us about that part of your process.

NF: I have been spending some time with community members having a yarn about the native plants that grow around the Gold Coast. This knowledge sharing is central to my project and will be documented alongside the art. I find it really intriguing how a plant can represent so many varied things to different people.

Part of the embedded nature of the ArtKeeper program is that you have everyday access to your HOTA colleagues in all departments. What effect has this had on your practice so far?

NF: It has given me new perspectives and different angles to look further into my proposed body of work. Having access to all the different departments has also given me great insight into the back end of the gallery, how things run from day to day as well as an understanding of what goes into a great exhibition.

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HOTA proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout South East Queensland.