I am listening to one of my favorite soundtracks, A good year and drinking a coffee from an Honor Freeman cup with the words ‘half empty’ on it and reflecting on 2013, a year than has been anything but half empty. 2013 changed the ball game for me. In 2012 I was awarded an Arts SA Project Grant. This grant allowed me the time to develop a body of work that for the first time in my career I was really proud of. This time last year I was shut away down on the coast of South Australia melting glass. Creating works for my first solo exhibition, The Nature of Memory, which exceed expectations (possibly cause I didn’t have any just the hope people would come and hopefully take something away from it).
One of my mentors, Catherine Truman said to me many years ago to always create from within. In reflection it is perhaps these simple words that are the reason for the success of the show. The Nature of Memory was a very special show for me, it was after all, for my grandfather, Dean.
The collection of works in The Nature of Memory referenced my fascination with this universal human need to hold on and preserve memories and moments in time.
I dedicated the exhibition to my Grandfather, Dean Hosking, who passed away in 2011. He was an incredibly passionate gardener and after he died in 2011, everyone in our family became obsessed with their gardens. It was as if they were returning to the earth to be close to him. My Grandfather kept journals, 2 of which I used in the exhibition, they were meticulously kept, he was an accountant and fastidious record keeper, recording daily rainfall, every plant that he planted, names of people he met, tips for pruning, maintaining gardening tools and more. I included 2 these treasures in the show with the piece titled, testing time, these are the only pieces that used borosilicate glass, a glass used mainly for scientific applications as it is a hard glass. The pieces reference preservation, scientific process, controlled testing, tried and tested methods, similar to those in grandpa’s journals.
The Director of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, Stephen Forbes’s opened the first leg of the exhibition at Gray Street Workshop Gallery, March 2013. He noted that “Jess’s grandfather was a passionate and dedicated gardener who inspired the rest of the family to nurture and grow things…in Jess’s case the legacy of her grandfather is preserved in her glass garden.”
When Stephen said these words I could see my grandmother who was sitting in front of me, begin to cry and I too began to well up. Stephen got it, my Nana got it, people got it! They understood what I was trying to say. As a maker that understanding is so profound. These incredibly private thoughts and ponderings that you have hung up on a wall for the public to see, your heart neatly pinned up there and not only to be accepted but understood and even admired is something no words can express.
The exhibition which, originated in Adelaide at Gray Street Workshop Gallery, went on to studio 2017 in Sydney and then Bilk Gallery in Canberra. Reviews were written, pieces were acquired for both state and national Gallery collections, the exhibition won the best visual art in the Fringe Awards and he conceptual Flowering plants were a highly commended finalist in the 2013 Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize. I worked with some truly inspiring individuals and I learnt so much. I am so grateful and humbled by the success of this show and I am truly grateful for the Arts SA grant which started it all, my parents who have always supported me, my boyfriend for his calming words, my mentors for inspiring me, my colleagues and friends, my family and my Grandfather who taught me how to grow…