The art centre began using ghost net in 2009, but then the bags of net sat around for a while before it was used again. They were viewed by the artists as bulky and smelly. But then the artists started to pull the net out of the bag, hosed it down, and started to sort it. They found a real attraction in picking the different pieces of net apart, finding interesting pieces, and playing with them. Now, the ladies really enjoy using the net, and can spot the best bits to use.

Ghost net art: Not just net and rope
Ghost net art: Not just net and rope Image: Rebecca Fisher
© Australian Museum

What may look on the surface like faded, multi strand blue rope can, when unravelled, sometimes include numerous different coloured strands. Lynnette Griffiths, project officer at Erub Erwer Meta, explained that no strands will contain exactly the same colours. These pieces don’t hang around for long though, as everyone wants to use these!
While they don’t identify the different nets on Darnley itself, Lynnette was able to show us where some of the nets came from, most of which originated in south east Asia.

Ghost net is everywhere at the art centre, from sculpture, bags, necklaces, hair clips, to ghost net tied die patterns on shirts and depictions of lino prints. It is great to see that such environmentally destructive materials are being collected and recyled into amazing works of art.

The acquisition of the new ghost net works from Erub Erwer Meta was made possible by a grant from the Australian Museum Foundation and the bequest of Patricia M Porritt.