Cree Marshall

Swinging Rock Band, Cree Marshall

Cree Marshall, Swinging Rock Band

 (2006, wood, steel twine and rocks)

Art Forms: found art, assemblages

Lives: White Cliffs


What is your background?

I'm from New Zealand originally and when I was younger Australians were still caught up in a 'cultural cringe'.  New Zealand somehow never got caught that way so I grew up with beautiful artists as part of my childhood. My mother was very keen on design and so eventually I moved into interior design, my first career.

When did you begin to produce found art works?

When I retired I came out to White Cliffs to write but then started looking at objects around me and thinking 'isn't that thing beautiful' and 'I might be able to use this and that'.  One day a friend said, 'You're an artist' and I thought, 'Not really, I'm just someone who likes putting things together'. It wasn't for years that I thought 'actually, I am creating art'.

What inspires your creative work?

The land here is so powerful and I find treasures constantly.  A gorgeous piece of wood, a rock, a bit of rusty metal or piece of timber and when I see it I immediately think 'now I could do this'. I can't help myself. I see these things and I have to do something with them.

When I see something that is wasted and thrown away I'm intrigued to pick it up and look at it in a different way.

What effect has living in White Cliffs had on your practice?

When I came here I looked around and thought 'I am either going to love it or hate it'.  I knew immediately that the land itself was so powerful that either I would have to escape from it or I would never leave. That was twenty-odd years I love it.

You designed your own underground home, or 'dugout'

There are locals who would laugh if you suggested it was an art form or a piece of sculpture but if you look at the dugouts of White Cliffs, all of them have people's personalities in them - quirky, odd, different things.

In this particular area round the Blocks and up on Turley's Hill they were heavily mined and the dugouts followed the workings and so they tend to be very serpentine. They just wind around and have odd shaped rooms so my design followed that shape.

Describe the art work featured here, 'Swinging Rock Band'

I found that divine piece of wood on a local property and my husband found a tractor counterweight which I used for the base and the upright is a steel bar. The 'strings' are plaited twine wrapped around rocks. They swing at different speeds (because of their different lengths) if they are pushed.

Edited from an interview by Lisa Andersen, 2 October 2010.

Cree Marshall, Dugout

Cree Marshall: Dugout bedroom and mosaic floor, White Cliffs.