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Spun: Silk cocoons nest in NewActon

Josephine Walsh

A beautiful new exhibition has just opened in the Nishi Gallery in the NewActon cultural precinct. Spun – Works on Paper’ is the second solo show by local artist Alison Wright, and explores the artist’s fascination with the process of change and emerging beauty.

The exhibition is made up of several large works featuring natural silkworm cocoons embedded into heavy papers. “I first discovered the cocoons whilst visiting Kyoto,” says Alison. “They had been repurposed to be a cosmetic product to clean skin pores and I was captivated by their shape.”


Spun evolved and was inspired by Alison’s love affair with China and her regular visits to Japan. “I first moved to China in 2004,” she tells me. “Living in Shanghai, I just fell in love with the city, the people, everything about the place. The theme of rapid change connects deeply with my experience in Shanghai and my travels without Asia.”

I could gaze at the intricate detail of these natural, silky pods for hours, and ponder the little creatures that created them. Alison has fixed each of the cocoons to the paper individually and the works evolved spontaneously, which encourages the audience to appreciate the cocoons’ subtle and intriguing beauty. “I find these works to be peaceful and calming but everyone has a different reaction,” Alison says.


The cocoons appear delicate and effortlessly arranged, however, the exhibition is the culmination of many hours of work. “As each cocoon is individually fixed to the paper, crafting works such as these takes a long time,” Alison explains. “The large work is 3 metres long and took around 30 hours to complete.”

I ask Alison about what she loves about living and working in Canberra, and it seems that the exhibition is perfectly suited to the Nishi Gallery. “There are great places for creativity and I especially love the New Acton precinct,” Alison says warmly. “Canberra is my new home and one I love more with every day.”

the essentials
What: Spun – Works on Paper by Alison Wright
Where: Nishi Gallery, 17 Kendall Lane, NewActon
When: On now until 1 November 2015. Nishi opening hours: Mon – Fri 11-3; Sat + Sun 11-4
How much: Free


Josephine Walsh

Jose Walsh is a digital communications specialist who also runs her own blog, She has a passion for museums and the arts, a deep love of travel and more shoes than sense. Having worked in museums for the past seven years, she loves finding new ways to connect people with their cultural institutions. She loves meeting new people, hunting for a decent espresso, and planning her next adventure. More about the Author

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