Blake Griffiths is a weaver based in Broken Hill. Blake considered the isolation of the pandemic was an opportunity to revaluate his personal and professional life. His journal is reflective writing and research for new work. By visualising inspiration and concepts, Blake documented the eerie stillness under lockdown restrictions.
“A bird’s still a bird without its wings. The only way to mirror your universe is to strip it bare to its most essential fragments and then refract it, to weave it back together. We can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness.”
We asked Blake three questions about his experience of isolation, completing this journal and his hope for the future. These are his responses:
Describe the experience of the period of isolation for you.
COVID has provided me an opportunity to sit still, reflect and be critical of my position personally and professionally. It manifests a re-valuing of what I had otherwise taken for granted, become comfortable with and made habitual. I am fortunate that I work in isolation most of the time and it has been beautiful to share and talk about this concept/feeling with others experiencing it for the first time.
What does your book represent and how did you approach the challenge?
This journal presents a stream of consciousness throughout the COVID social restriction period, which, in reality was not overly different from my regular days being geographically isolated. I completed a process of writing down my thoughts, collaging inspirational images and drawing connections between music, writings, artworks and books that contextualise what I am thinking about and how I might go about conceptualising design/artworks in response to it. It is haphazard, reflecting this period of strange stillness.
What do you hope will change in Australia as a result of the pandemic?
I hope that the world remains slow and that we acknowledge the positive role the coronavirus has had on environmental regeneration and healing. I hope that we can acknowledge the powerlessness of the human over the natural environment and use this as a learning tool, not as a period of suffering. We have been tricked into thinking that we have become isolated, however, we have really re-focussed our connection toward those and what is most important to us, albeit through different means. I hope this quality can remain.
Predominantly a weaver, Blake Griffith's practice is interested in the intersection of warp and weft (the crossing threads of a weaving) and its structural properties. His ideas understand the intersection of warp & weft as the tension between the cosmological and physical world. He uses the intersection, or meeting, of opposite forces to comment on social, cultural and environmental issues in a balanced and sensitive way.
Blake treats his work as a meditation; a meditation that investigates connection between personal practice and the language of a society; attempting to balance fast and slow. He takes mundane materials and transform them beyond their individual qualities through the process of weaving, his work asks us to look deeply and contemplate our social, cultural and political positions in contemporary Australia.
Blake often collaborates with artisans to complete larger works.
View Blake Griffiths' journal here:
Image: Blake Griffiths, Design/Isolate Journal (detail), 2020.