Guild art loan a 'slice of home'

19 Jul 2020

Posted May 2, 2017

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie will take two pieces of home back with her to Canberra when Parliament resumes next week.

The Adelaide Hills Spinners and Weavers Guild recently presented the local MP with two wall hangings created by member Dina Van der Gaag to decorate Ms Sharkie’s office and meeting room and remind her of the electorate.

Titled "Our Coast" and "Our Hills", the hand-felted landscapes depict the seaside and rural areas of the regional electorate and are on loan during Ms Sharkie’s term in office.

Ms Sharkie said she was touched by the guild’s offer and delighted with the wall hangings.

“They are beautiful to look at and really capture some of my favourite views of Mayo,” Ms Sharkie said.

“I’m going to hang them in my office and meeting room where I can see them every day and enjoy a little slice of home.

“I suspect they will become a topic of conversation when people come in for meetings and I am really looking forward to telling guests about the talented people at the Adelaide Hills Spinners and Weavers Guild and the thriving artistic community in Mayo.”

The maker of the felted landscapes, Mrs Van der Gaag of Littlehampton, said she spent up to 30 hours hand-felting each artwork.

The wall hangings are made from merino wool and silk using wet and dry felting techniques with applique and stitched details.

“The blending of the colours is a bit like watercolour painting,” Mrs Van der Gaag said.

“In fact, I would call the technique of these wall hangings ‘painting with wool’.

When Mrs Van der Gaag designed the hangings, she said she tried to represent the features of the Hills where the guild was based, and the coast of the Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island, while incorporating Ms Sharkie’s favourite colour blue.

“I am extremely honoured that they will hang in Canberra,” she said.

“But more than that, it is a wonderful opportunity to display our craft and our guild to the wider community as well as showcasing our beautiful Adelaide Hills and coastal areas.”

Mrs Van der Gaag learned to spin and weave in the 1970s shortly after she immigrated to Australia.

After a gap raising children and working, she retired in the 1990s and rekindled her love of creating with wool, joining the guild.

CAPTION: Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie, left, holds the wall hanging “Our Hills” while artist and Adelaide Hills Spinners and Weavers Guild member Dina Van der Gaag holds “Our Coast”. The two wall hangings have been lent to the MP to decorate her Canberra office and remind her home.

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