As I mentioned in my last post, I have been commissioned to make an artwork, called hAbitAt, for the Canberra Centennial Birthday celebrations on March 11th. The event will take place between 12-7pm, where I will host a “maker’s tea party” on the lawns by the side of the lake. Some people will simply be there to drink tea and chat, others will bring their own crafts projects. But the main idea is to create a shared hAbitAt, a collaborative crowdsourced artwork that literally spells out our relationship to location and community as the day progresses. Join the Facebook Event here!

The artwork

The day will start with the reallybigroadtrip bus, “home, James” and some tents set up around the lawns and draped within the trees. This is our hAbitAt; a blank canvas homepage which will evolve as it becomes occupied throughout the day. My guests will be the communities I have been hanging out with, their friends and families, and the people passing by as they walk round the lake.


home, James at Milkwood Farm, Mudgee, NSW

This is a shared, open hAbitAt; whoever happens to come along becomes part of the community and can leave their mark by attaching words to the tents. Words can be made from existing letters, or they can be knitted or sewn from a basket of materials right there and then.

In true crowdsourcing my life fashion, I need your help for this to work. That help can either come in the form of physical participation on the day or contributing materials and words (from near or far) to become part of the artwork on the day.

Physical Participation

In advance: I would love to hear about people/places I should meet while I’m in Canberra.
I’m spending the next couple of weeks pottering around the city hanging out with knitting and sewing communities. I’m especially keen to meet more mature age groups who can give me a personal perspective of the city over its comparatively young history.

On the day: Join the “maker’s tea party” on the lawns at any time between 12-7pm on March 11th – and make your mark.
Tea and biscuits, a sewing machine and a variety of fabrics, yarns and pre-made letters will be provided. There will be a whole host of delightful maker types to play with, plus all the other wonderful birthday events for you to go off and explore (but please come back again afterward!). Bring your own deck chair or blanket and spend a few hours or the whole day watching or bringing the artwork to life.

Contributing Materials

Every item that is donated to the project will be tagged and documented on site and online so you can see how your contribution has become part of the whole experience.

Materials we require are:
* Fabric and yarn (which can be used to make the letters).
* Completed sewn / crocheted or knitted letters (which can be used to make up the words) – or even the whole words if you really wanted to go for it.

We want every size, shape, colour or combination you can come up with – blow our minds! All material contributions should be sent to me by Friday 8th March or brought along on the day (contact me directly for the postal address).

Your words:
As the name would suggest, the birthday day celebrations “Canberra in so many words” are all about words. As I meet the older members of Canberra’s community I will be asking them what words describe their relationship to the city and the people who occupy it. These will become the words that we hang on the tents.

You are invited to also contribute your own words that represent your connection to Canberra as a place (especially if you are from there but have moved away). Each word will be tagged with the names and locations of the people who contribute to them. You don’t need to be physically present to add yours to the collection, just contact me directly to let me know who you are, where you’re from and what word you want to be included and we will do our best to incorporate them all.

I’ll be posting photos of the materials, work-in-progress during the day and of the finished artwork after the event via my usual social media spaces, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #hAbitAt100 so you can follow online too.

So, please help me spread the call so we can build a crowdsourced collaborative Canberra together x

UPDATE: A couple more cool things have come up since I first wrote this post…

 reallybigroadtrip’s first Nomad in Residence!

I am CRAZY excited to announce that this event will now feature my first ever Nomad in Residence! The idea with the Nomads is that they are special guests who bring their talents and vision to the trip. They might share their networks or be brought along to meet new people, exchanging skills and experiences along the way. Sometimes they will be with me for a day or two, sometimes a few weeks. I have had one guest on the bus already (my dear friend Elliott Bledsoe who was mostly there for a weekend roadtrip!) but now I get to officially host a professional Nomad in Residence.

Sayraphim Lothian has been a dedicated supporter of reallybigroadtrip since I first started trying to turn it into a reality. She contributed to the crowdfunding campaign, shared my constant bleats for help, sent random words of encouragement and even designed the ‘knitted bus logo’, making her design/process freely available here on this blog for everyone to follow. It will be an absolute pleasure to host her in #homeJames (which is especially brave of her since we haven’t done the interior build yet!).

Sayraphim will be spending the day with us, sharing her vast passion for textiles and random acts of kindness. You can follow her via, and and here’s a little bio:

Sayraphim Lothian is a public artist who uses craft to facilitate meaningful connections between people.
Her participatory work creates bridges between participants, allowing moments of loveliness to flow between strangers. They are about the sharing of experiences and the fleeting but meaningful connections made. They are about rediscovering joy in oneself and realising it abounds in other people.


Sayraphim and her work can be found in a number of books and publications including Garth Johnson’s 1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse, Vickie Howell’s Craft Corps and Heads On and We Shoot: The Making of Where The Wild Things Are from McSweeny’s Publishing.


Her work is held in MOMA in New York, the archives of the National Gallery of Victoria, in the Monash Heart Art collection as well as in private collections and on the streets in cities around the world.


She holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in photography, a Graduate Diploma in Primary Teaching from La Trobe University and is currently undertaking her Masters in Art in a Public Space at RMIT, Melbourne.


While I’m on updates, some clever people have asked about the location (since there are many lawns around what is an extremely large lake ;P). I have set up a Facebook Event to help manage these details (thanks Sayraphim for that very smart suggestion!). And here’s a Google Map (our location is where the green arrow is pointing right by the end of Anzac Parade; ignore the red ‘A’).

View Larger Map

Also – turns out there will be a free bus shuttling people around the city – now you have no excuse to not come along :)




Update: check hAbitAt – my first solo/Australian arts commission for info on the commission and hAbitAt – in pictures for the outcome.

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