Mulga Lamps by Blim DaFei Dolan
Featuring Clay Lamps by Sam Jonscher
I am proud to present a second series of lamps, centred on a budding relationship with a local timber. I first came to know mulga (Acacia Anerua) when I moved to Yuendumu in 2019, quickly being told it’s the firewood I should collect as its dense wood makes hot coals perfect for a roo tail. Particularly common in the Tanami desert, where I heard the phrase ‘can’t see the horizons for the mulgas’ as the dense stands often block all views of the flat terrain. Creating an often claustrophobic feel despite all the open space.
I began carving spoons in Yuendumu and despite mulga blunting all my knives, it’s two tones and ability to polish made it the choice wood when making gifts for friends. From spoons to lamps, the process seemed to solidify as I moved into town, had spaces that could benefit from considered lighting and access to spaces and tools and shops. I have also made lamps out of local Melaleuca styphelioides, prickly leaved paperbark when living on the east coast.
The lamps are a slow and meditative process, one that I have enjoyed immensely, attempting to use hand tools and local products where ever possible. It allows a slow questioning of purpose, of time and material as the timber is slowly guided into shape. A question I often ask myself while making the lamps revolves around the mediation of natural forms, the way the material has spent the great majority of it’s cycle away from human intervention but my interventions aim to make it a tactile, prized indoor possession. It comes with inquiries of adventures within the natural world, how do we mediate when we walk through a national park or a manicured garden. Does the care I show to a tree I’ve cut down have a possibility of balance?
I hope the soft lighting of these lamps provides a setting for your own inquiry into questions that have no answers.
– Blim DaFei Dolan