Colloquially, to be gathering dust means to remain unused, left behind, untouched for a long period of time. Gathering dust implies an inertia, a dormancy, typically within the domestic household. Taken literally, it suggests a foreboding force, gaining momentum, reminiscent of those ominous dust storms that have become increasingly frequent in desert regions as the climate emergency escalates. Dust itself carries connotations of the fragility of beings, the passing of time, disillusionment, disappointment, and death. Ultimately, dust reminds us of the humble nothingness from which we were once formed and inevitably will return to.
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IMAGES > [Top & Above] Elise Cakebread, from Gathering Dust, 2023. Image courtesy of the artist.
IMAGE > [Above & Below] Elise Cakebread, from Gathering Dust, 2023. Image courtesy of the artist.
In Gathering Dust, textile-based artist Elise Cakebread assembles a new body of work from the rescued detritus of domestic waste. Cakebread takes discarded garments, yarn, wire, fibres, ribbon, packaging materials, cushion stuffing, doilies, tablecloths, and reimagines them to create complex entanglements of colour and texture, emphasising the rich history of the material and its potential for future transformation. By harnessing the most abject of material categories – waste - and elevating it into aesthetic tableaux worth keeping, Elise Cakebread’s Gathering Dust casts a reconsideration of the value systems we live by, challenging our concept of waste and the industries that profit from producing it.
Over the past few years, I have wrestled with my role in a new life that requires unrelenting, and undervalued domestic labour – at odds with the feminist values that I had not previously struggled to uphold. Simultaneously, as the climate crisis has deepened, the sense that social and environmental issues are something existing outside the home – no longer resonates. Instead, I have felt these ideas converge and the need to consider a complete re-evaluation of values as something both socially and personally important. The process of making the Gathering Dust works has acted as a way of thinking through these ideas.
Elise Cakebread, 2023
Elise Cakebread is a textile-based artist, craftsperson, and designer whose practice explores materiality, tactility, sustainability and the ornamental through experiments with traditional textile processes, giving life to work that spans sculpture, installation and decoration.
Cakebread’s work has enjoyed extensive display nationwide, having appeared on exhibitions at Craft, Design Tasmania and The Australian
Design Centre. In 2021, Cakebread was awarded a Fellowship from Regional Arts Victoria to research scale and sustainability within their
practice, extending their creative investigation into found textiles in response to its ongoing role in the waste crisis. Cakebread has
worked on commissions and collaborations with industry leaders including Gorman, Dulux, Capella Hotels, Space, Hotel/Hotel, Alt.Material and
Local Actual. Their work has been featured in publications including Vogue Living, Grand Designs, The Design Files, Yellowtrace and more.
+ Visit Elise Cakebread's website