Seven schools across New South Wales and Queensland studied the story of wool for their 2018 Archibull Prize journey.
How do you turn a cow into a sheep? Come and meet our woolly bulls.
Beginning our journey in NSW heartland the students at the Kinross Wolaroi School in Orange created ‘Spinning a Yarn’ to illustrate the history and uses of wool.
Our Young Farming Champions (Peta Bradley and Catlin Heppner) visit inspired the students to consider how wool can be used in many modern materials and also to think on, and consider, its proud history as a commodity that has played a huge part in the Australian success story.
A spinning wheel, a wool pack, and ugg boots were just some of the elements of this Archie with every Year 8 student knitting part of the thread that winds over the body. Students also made felted garments for the figures at the base of their brightly coloured Archie.
The bright colours of our Archibull are drawn from the student’s experiences of Pop Art. In Year 8 they study Pop Art and have made works that reflects the bold colour and imagery of that time. A number of features on the Bull have been painted in this style.
The Archibull entry also features more traditional approaches to painting and includes lots of colourful woollen and handmade elements. The rustic elements of the work, especially the wool shed inspired base, draw their style from an earlier time in our colonial and recent past where woolsheds were iconic images used in paintings by artists such as Tom Roberts.
Bombala High School were also first time entrants in The Archibull Prize and they drew heavily on the wool industry in their area to come up with the very unique ‘Shorn No-bull’.
In our first team meeting, we knew we wanted to make our Archie unique and we knew we wanted to incorporate our small rural town into our project. Throughout the entire making of Shorn, we have come to understand how important the wool industry is, especially in our town. We soon came up with our main theme ‘Shearing hasn’t changed very much through the ages, in that the process still relies on a skilled person to remove the wool’, this is what we want every person who looks at him to think about.
Another addition to Shorn we wanted was the property names from around Bombala that make up our wool industry. Our first look for this idea was to connect the farms like puzzle pieces. After talking this idea through with our Young Farming Champion, Dione Howard, we soon realised that this design would not have that stand out appeal we were hoping for. So we decided the next best look would be actual property outlines which still interlock like puzzle pieces however they will give our Archibull a whole new look.
Dione Howard was also the YFC guiding Moss Vale High School through their Archibull Prize and the creation of ‘Lizzie’.
Using patterns to elaborate on the theme that the production of wool is a shared responsibility, Lizzie shows how many people are involved with the story of wool:
The shared responsibility is expressed by moving through the process from growing the wool involving the producer, then to the shearers who harvest the wool and the roustabouts who fill the bales. The bales need to be transported by road and rail. More people share in the production as the fibre is processed and manufactured into yarn, cloth and garments
Lizzie also shared concepts on the importance of the environment in wool production:
The inclusion of a wind turbine in the paddock and water tank next to the shearing shed signify the responsibility to conserve natural resources and protect the environment that provides the materials that create wool. The cattle egret, woollen bird and bee represent the importance of biodiversity in maintaining a healthy ecosystem that supports the growth of plants and animals that we need for our food and fibre.
Taking the theme literally are first time Archibull entrants: the combined primary schools of the Moree district in northern NSW who put in a mighty effort with their schools spread across 150km!
Under guidance from YFC Emma Turner students from Croppa Creek Public School, Bullarah Public School, Bellata Public School and Pallamallawa Public School created ‘Woolly Bully’. Complete with woolly face and ram’s horns the theme of their Archibull was From Paddock to Prada as they researched the journey of wool from the sheep’s back to clothing.
Here is some of that journey:
The students’ discovery that Australia is the largest producer of premium quality fine wool, bringing in $2.96 billion every year, had them hooked and caught their attention. The agreement on the idea for this artwork was finalised after the students visited a shearing shed and became intrigued about where the fleece goes next.
Local produce is a key feature of our Archie. The wool attached to Woolly Bully’s head and body were sourced from our excursion to the farm owned by one of the students. This wool was shorn in front of the students and collected from the classing table. This provided students with an authentic sense of understanding and ownership of the artworks elements.
Also adorning their Archie with wool were the students of Barraba Central School who created ‘Shcow’ with the help of YFC Lucy Collingridge.
Showcasing world hunger and the wool industry, Shcow comes complete with a barbeque! And why else do the students think Shcow is unique?
Shcow is 100% hand drawn and it’s got art on all faces of the bull. We used previous Barraba Central School’s metal ideas and projects to make main points on our Archie. We think these help pull together our Archie and give it a real BCS vibe and helps people understand how kids in the Barraba region grew up living on farms and how these concepts are true to us.
Picnic Point High School also explored environmental sustainability with a cheeky Archie called ‘Moolcolm Turnwool’.
With guidance from their YFC Sam Wan, the students in the Year 7 Extension Class incorporated several different elements to highlight the effects of climate change:
The eyes display contrast between the opposite sides to do with climate change. We have painted one side of the head dark and red to showcase the life for farmers in our drought. The second side shows your typical green and bright sun. It is meant to replicate what it would look like without climate change.
There is a tree painted on Archie’s front left leg. This is reflecting climate change and biodiversity. It represents an article we read about the planting of trees in Sheep Farms in Northern NSW, Armidale and Tamworth area. It is just one of the science research studies that has been happening to support our agriculture industry. It is a Target 100 project. We also have the Target 100 logo here.
The last school to study the wool industry was the ever-inventive Beaudesert State High School from Queensland who enlisted students and KLAs from the entire school to create ‘Woolinda’.
Supported by YFC Deanna Johnston, and following on from their entry in last year’s Archibull, the Beaudesert students have made Woolinda an interactive Archie and she is even solar powered!
The music notes and words to “Click go the Shears” are wrapped and entwined around the front legs of Woolinda. When you press the button near the music, you are able to hear our school choir sing this iconic Australian song.
The little sheep dog (Alex is his name) next to the pond is there to muster a wayward ram that has not yet been penned up. At the press of a button, the little dog barks; he then chases the sheep
Woolinda, is able to chew. Woolinda’s teeth are also real.
The shearing shed that is featured inside of Woolinda is operational. We wanted to make a miniature shed inside of her where the little shearers shore their little sheep. The shearing starts at the press of a button.
Woolinda has one ear that twitches. Her ear twitches when the blowfly sound gets closer.
Watch this space. Cotton, Grains and Sheep and Cattle Archies still to come