Frosty Morning, Hospital Creek
The embroidered orihon, Frosty Morning, Hospital Creek, is a celebration of my morning walks along Hospital Creek behind the Gudgenby Ready-Cut Cottage during residencies in September 2015 and 2016. The residencies offered me a special opportunity to live at the cottage within the Namadgi National Park. In both years I witnessed the birds return for summer and listened to the chorus of frogs in the Gudgenby Valley. I wanted my work to be truly reflective of this place, not simply the next step in my practice.
Towards the end of my first residency I was drawn to a small section of Hospital Creek. I was fascinated by the water’s movement through the textured expanse of native grasses. I explored its angles and bends over the last few days, often simply sitting and watching. Reluctantly I left with a few drawings and watercolours as evidence of my efforts to capture its life.
In 2016 I returned to Gudgenby. As I walked through frost-encrusted grasses with the fog beginning to rise, Hospital Creek was still gurgling its way down from Mount Gudgenby after heavy winter rains.
The creek flows from the south, crossing the road to Yankee Hat. It meanders across a paddock towards the Ready-Cut Cottage, then burbles through swampy paddocks to join the Gudgenby River.
Suddenly there is a sharp angle in the creek’s course. Now the water flows like the ink from the sweep of a calligraphy brush. It gathers momentum as it curls around this corner, crashing into the grassy banks in a series of tight zigzags, then plunges into a deep pool edged by granite boulders. These boulders, smoothed by the sub-alpine climate into bold rounded shapes, like a tor, remain steadfast in the restless creek. The granite is spotted with crinkly round patches of lichen. The tor provides the perfect tower to watch a sparkling Hospital Creek performance on a frosty morning.
Ruth Hingston never fails to surprise with her inventive use of embroidery. Although in miniature, her very small seven-panelled embroidered screen narrates a vision of a monumental landscape that unfolds in all its delicate and detailed complexity. It is a reminder perhaps of the Japanese aesthetic of suggesting the majesty of nature through a miniature landscape in rocks and sand.
In the past, Ruth has used embroidery in a very wide range works.