The entrance to Darebin Creek in Gooch St Thornbury was marked by a large ugly concrete block, left over from some construction work.
Over the past year, I've been working hard to change that. The Friends of Darebin Creek received a small community grant from Darebin Council in 2019-20 to create a mosaic artwork on this structure using upcycled materials and we asked people to donate tiles and household ceramics to begin the project.
Much of 2020 was spent cutting and shaping the donated materials. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen countless changes of plans with restrictions and lockdowns, but with persistence we eventually were able to find windows of time to complete the work while adhering to varying public health and essential work restrictions. We had half-day workshops on 28 February at Darebin Parklands, Gleeson Centre which saw around 12 adults and children make nature-based elements and depict plants and animals from the creek and surrounds.
Victoria Milne from the Friends of Darebin Creek helped lead the project and came up with the idea of putting the single word "UNLESS" on the top of the block.
"Unless" was uttered by the Once-ler a character in the Dr Seuss book and film The Lorax. The Once-ler said "unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not." It serves as reminder that we need to protect our precious natural resources, water, land, trees, plants and animals around the creek.
Some of the work was completed in the studio, but I find it easier and more rewarding to be on site (depending on the weather). While integrating the elements onto the block passers-by and locals have enthusiastically joined in and supported me with cups of tea, buckets of water and feedback. It's been an organic process.
It's been wonderful to meet some people when on site. Special thanks to Chris, Jess and Mia who can look out their windows and see the installation. They've made a flower, frog and part of the blue sky.
We are now at the stage of cleaning the work and have approached council about a sign, but this is not looking likely for the moment.