Sculpture at Bather’s Beach Fremantle 2017

Thanks to the brilliant photographer Richard Gale for these lovely shots of my turtle at Sculptures at Bathers

This exhibition is on until Sunday 12th March.

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If the weather is bedding

If weather is bedding

and it so often is

cloud pillows

blanketing heat

sheets of lightning

then the continental

coverlet of February

has slipped sideways

as if after a kicking night

in which all came untucked

and we wake in the dark

coldly exposed to a damp chill wind

groping for even the ruffled edge

to get our fingers gripped

and haul back the warm

while on the other side

they toss feverish

in the unaccustomed heat

of the doubled over weight

of summer’s quilt

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‘Damage’ Bankwest Art Prize 2016

The 2016 Bankwest Art Prize opened last night. This is Western Australia’s most prestigious award for WA artists. I am extremely happy to be a finalist amongst some very august company.


My piece for this exhibition is called Damage.

This work is my attempt to understand child suicide. Having been distressed by news reports of children as young as ten committing suicide and hearing talk of tiny triggers distracting from extensive accumulated damage, the idea for this piece came to me as a way to make sense of the senseless and to honour every day in a life. Each circle represents a year with 365 stitches in the outer edge and the stack of ten circles echoes a life of a child. The damage is represented by a diminishing series of circles cut and melted through each disc forming an asymmetrical cone. This will take on a cumulative shape, which is both a presence and an absence, symbolising abuse and neglect.

Early in 2016 I completed a residency at PMH hospital where the cords and ropes I use for my crochet sculptures and teaching had to be carefully managed. Many of the children I was working with had mental health issues and it was important to recognise that the materials I see as creative and useful are often used to commit suicide. Making this piece using cord with a high breaking strain, one which you could trust to hold you seems appropriate.

The piece has a significantly human density, a dead weight. It weighs about 70 kilograms, making it difficult for one person to carry.

Most importantly the piece is beautiful. The colours, starting from a bright, clear neon green, grading through to a deep blue like a darkening aura, can be read in the most manifest way as green innocence moving to blue depression, but the darkening spectrum can also simply indicate growth and change and the gathering of knowledge that every child displays.

Due to our profound abhorrence of crimes against children and our understanding of the long term effects on many people, we have tendency to believe that a child who has been abused is permanently and irredeemably damaged. This must lead to an overwhelming hopelessness for which suicide may seem the only solution. I wanted to make a piece which was intensely beautiful and  damaged, not beautiful because of the damage or beautiful despite the damage, simply beautiful in and of itself.

Deliberately cutting into the discs with their hundreds of hours of careful work is an act of brutality designed to evoke similar feelings in the viewer. Making a work that is both beautiful and damaged shows the possibility of redemption and allows contemplation of this terrible subject in a way that is bearable.

Damage detail

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Sculpture by the Sea Bondi 2016: Big Intentions

So for the last two weeks I have been enjoying another wonderful Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi. There is a great line up of works and some fabulous artists from all over the world. My stupas have settled in really nicely on the headland at Mark’s Park and I think they will be sorry to have to leave at the end.

Big Intentions BondiBig Intentions – Crocheted paracord and steel. Mikaela Castledine sxs Bondi 2016

While I have been here I have done many workshops and talks for the superb education program that Sculpture by the Sea run for local schools and today I participated in a live virtual tour of the exhibition for remote schools and the distance education team. The video starts about a minute in so don’t panic and my section is about half way through. Enjoy!

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Short Story Published

Last night the latest book of short stories from Margaret River Press was launched at the Centre for Stories in Northbridge. Shibboleth and Other Stories is a great collection of work edited by Laurie Steed, it contains my story All the Devil’s Weed Plants in some very good company. The book can be purchased through the Margaret River Press website and selected bookshops.


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Installation: Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe 2016

Big Intention: Inspired by the Buddhist Stupas from Myanmar. Medium: Crocheted nylon Para cord over steel frames. Artist: Mikaela Castledine. Video Production: Josh Hopkins. Music: Andy Hopkins.

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Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe 2016

Well, it is that time of year when I am madly finishing my work for Sculpture by the Sea in time for install. My work this year is a collection of six stupas inspired by the beautiful buddhist pagodas at Inle Lake in Myanmar (Burma) According to some Buddhist traditions a stupa is built to gain merit on your journey to enlightenment but it only delivers merit if it is built with the right intention. For me, this is the same as art, which needs to be done with the right intention to be art. Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe opens on March 4th and continues through until March 20th 2016IMG_7449.

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