The picture frames you see in Tiffany Titshall’s exhibition Nature’s Folly are all made from recycled timber - the flooring of the old kitchen skillion of her home, the former schoolmaster’s residence in Majorca. In 2009, over a bottle of Amherst wine at the property, building designer Peter Rechenberg talked with Tiffany and her husband about the proposed demolition
of the dilapidated 1930s extension to the 1890s residence, and instantly drew a quick sketch of what he thought the replacement building should be. The owners agreed, and began discussing with Peter the importance of recycling,
of designing and constructing a building suitable to the harsh environment of the area, and of making that building
passive-solar, modern and not overwhelming upon both the narrow footprint of the former school site and the old house.
Over time, a number of weekends spent in the old house, collaborating on ideas and materials, including recycled bricks sourced from the old Alexander Miller Memorial Homes in Maryborough, a final design was produced. At around the same time Central Goldfields Shire Council Arts Manager Kay Parkin offered Tiffany a solo exhibition, the rear of the house was demolished by hand in order to conserve as many recyclables as possible. The flooring of the kitchen, which had been replaced at some point between 1950 and 1970, was painstakingly taken up, de-nailed and sorted. Over the twelve years
the couple have lived in Majorca, and long before, those boards had been used as a dance floor, had seen snakes and lizards crawling over them, and a couple of generations of echidnas living under them.
The boards were Eucalyptus regnans, commonly known as mountain ash or Tasmanian oak. Tiffany and her husband Caleb Cluff broke the boards down to length and width, thicknessed them and routed rebates, sanded and oiled the stock, and delivered them to Ralph Durr in Talbot to be guillotine-mitred. Tiffany realised the timber’s native colour and years of marking and scarring matched the slightly washed-out hue of the pale inks and starkly contrasting charcoals of her works on paper. This integration of material and idea has contributed to the richness of an exhibition drawn from the experience of living within a landscape still damaged, and still in recovery from mining, clearing, fire and drought, and the extreme seasons of the Victorian goldfields; compared with travels through more structured landscapes and gardens.
Nature’s Folly opens June 1st 2013 at Central Goldfields Art Gallery, Maryborough, Victoria.
With thanks to: Central Goldfields Shire Council, Peter Rechenberg Design, Amherst Winery, Ralph Durr framing and Caleb Cluff.
In the studio and other places
Tiffany Titshall works in charcoal on paper from her studio in central Victoria. From landscapes and follies to darker, more overt images of animals and devils, her work always simmers with hints of her inner world.