Interview with Jodie Goldring

By Senaj Alijevski

Responses by Jodie Goldring in regards to Book Works, an exhibition of sculptures using recycled materials, held in the foyer of the Hawthorn Arts Centre from May 23 – June 5.

  1. What themes or ideas motivate your work?

In the past I had an autobiographical approach to making art and was influenced by my immediate surroundings and life experiences. I have shifted to exploring environmental concerns that have become significant to a growing number of artists. I enjoy leaving the meaning of the sculptural works open to imaginative inquiry by viewers so they become participants in making meaning of the artworks.

  1. What are you inspired by?

I am inspired by recycling and actually enjoy collecting discarded natural and man made materials. In the studio I explore the tactile quality of found materials and then experiment to see how they can be reclaimed and what can be made into.

I am inspired by nature. For example when I went on a holiday to Tasmania in 2009 I visited a families property that they had been re-vegetating over time. They showed me a cordcep and I was immediately fascinated. Cordyceps are unusual fungi that invade insects and cause their premature death; their nature is predatory. Whilst consuming and killing a healthy host they grow into weirdly beautiful fruiting forms before exuding a mass of spores that await the next insect to invade and transform.

  1. How do you go about creating a piece from scratch? How long does that process take?

My art is slow art. It takes a long time to design and create. I only do a small number of projects a year because of this. Some times I respond to a community need when creating artwork. For example I put a proposal in for a sculpture exhibition that has a theme or is located in a particular site that informs my ideas. Other times I reflect on my art practice to date and think about potential directions for new work. This is the way I develop new bodies of work for solo exhibitions such as Dining with Cordycpes. With this show I created a whole room installation that was exhibited at Off the Kerb Gallery in Collingwood in 2011 (and re-shown at Incinerator Arts Complex in Moonee Ponds in 2012). To create work for this exhibition I sourced images of cordycpes and dining rooms and drew up general plans. I then sourced furniture and from each piece of furniture I designed cordyceps that would grow up out of them. Concurrently I did materials and technique exploration that was documented in my art journal. I completed 10 trials in 10 days, which was a feat of endurance that helped me to explore a lot of terrain in a little time. Each artwork took about 50-150 hours to make and I created the whole room installation by working in the studio 2 days a week over 2 years. I collaborated with Barbara Hawkins and Sue Dilley from the Basketmakers of Victoria when creating the dining room table as I was running out of time leading up to the exhibition. It was an enlivening experience to see how other artists created cordyceps and we engaged in an enriching dialogue during the collaborative process.

  1. Are there any artists you admire who have influenced your style as an artist?

Fiona Hall is an artist I admire as she challenges the audience to think about their relationship to the environment. As an undergraduate student I was inspired by the work of Eva Hesse and Louise Bourgeois.

Since 2007 I have been inspired by craft organisations such as the Basketmakers of Victoria whose members generously share their knowledge. Their emphasis on passing on knowledge is refreshing in a world where the focus is on individual artists making their own way in highly competitive environments.


  1. What direction is your work currently taking/what are the next steps for you as an artist?

I am really not sure. It is time for me to get into the studio and reflect on this question! I do know that I would love to make large sculptures using a random weaving technique. I also have a commission to make a large sculpture for a business in Mackay called Better Pet Vets. Local fauna and/or flora such as the North Queensland Day Moth, which is unique to the Mackay region, will inspire the sculptural installation. This approximately 3//4 metre long installation will be set at a height in the foyer of the vet hospital. It will be seen from the street through a large glass wall that ill be lit up at night creating a striking vista for people who live in and visit Mackay to enjoy.

  1. Your upcoming exhibition is on the 24th of May, what types of works are going to be on display?

When invited to exhibit some of my sculptures for Swinburne’s celebration of Book Week I immediately thought of 3 artworks I have made implying that books are hosts for parasitic fungi called cordyceps. The fungi is not real fungi…of course…but intricately created fungi shaped sculptures that look like they grow up out of the books.

In these works I used cordyceps as a metaphor to illustrate the infection and subsequent mutation of ideas where beautiful and grotesque meaning emerges. The viewer is able to open the book to see a quote that I have chosen which is in juxtaposition with the text of the book and the cordyceps to transform meaning.


Since making a tree change to the Central Highlands in 2012 I have been exploring the idea to “inhabit”. Simple naïve house forms are a quick and easy way to do this and born out of my work with primary aged children. With Book Houses I have enjoyed playing with altering pages of books and found that shellac painted onto pages dissolves the ink, which creates lovely colouration.

  1. Where can people view and purchase your work?

I am currently redesigning my website which will be up and running soon at:

I can be contacted by email on: [email protected]

Image care of Jodie Goldring.