Interview: Beth Taylor “Breadtag World”

I will never look at a breadtag in the same way again! I dropped into Sweets Workshop to check out Breadtag World which is the current solo exhibition by inner westie, Beth Taylor. After hearing about how she created her artwork completely from breadtags I had to see it for myself. Big thanks to Beth for giving us an insight into her art, inspiration and process.  The exhibition is on until Wednesday 20 July at Sweets Workshop (Shop 4, 58-60 Carlton Crescent, Summer Hill).

Interview with Beth Taylor

  • For those who may not have seen your current exhibition “Breadtag World” at Sweets Workshop, how would you describe it?

Breadtag World is a series of sculptures of the planets, moons and Sun that make up our solar system made out of 12,000 breadtags.

It’s meant to be funny and whimsical (not something I’d use as a guide to space travel if I ever did any!) I also wanted people to think about the everyday things that surround us that we don’t notice anymore, such as the humble breadtag!

  • How did you become artist? Did you always want to be an artist?

I don’t think of myself as an artist really. I do consider what I do with breadtags art, and it’s something I’m compelled to do, but it’s not how I make my living.

I studied documentary filmmaking at the Australian Film TV and Radio School (AFTRS) and have made a few docos. My first love was photography, and that’s something I’ll always pursue.

  • How long have you been collecting breadtags for and how did it all start?

I started keeping them in a container on my fridge in 2003. I just couldn’t throw them out, they were such beautiful little things. Form meets function personified!

There must be hundreds of people who’ve contributed now. Friends, family, and friends of friends, co-workers. People have had cafes and canteens collecting for me, I’ve even had an offer from a correctional officer that he will get the prison to keep their tags!

  • Where did your inspiration for your current body of work come from? Why the solar system?

I have an 18 month old son, so I get a lot of time where I’m walking along with him and he’s picking up rocks and sticks, and I have a little daydream.

I honestly have no idea where the idea came from. I was having lunch with my husband and he asked me what was next for me and without even pausing I said “I’m going to make the solar system out of breadtags and have an exhibition at the Sweets Workshop”, and now here I am! Divine inspiration?!  Having a child has made me grab the opportunities I get with a lot more vigour and organisation.

  • How did you go about getting your work exhibited at Sweets Workshop?

Actually, my husband and I used to live in a flat in the same building as Emma and John from Sweets. We always thought they looked really cool but never got to talk much. After my husband Jeff and I moved to Marrickville, he saw they’d opened a shop and so I went to check it out and loved it. I pitched the exhibition to them soon after. The gallery is a perfect size for a solo exhibition and they’re such great people. It’s been so nice to get to know them.

  • What is the process involved in the creation of your art?

The first step has been to amass enough breadtags, and that has taken years. Approximately 12,000 breadtags have gone into making these sculptures, so to give you an idea, if you laid the loaves of bread end to end they would stretch the length of 66 Olympic swimming pools!

To make the sculptures, I formed units of the tags by clipping them together and melted them in the oven (keeping the space well-ventilated!) Then I glued them onto styrofoam balls that were painted showing where each colour should go (like paint by numbers). Sometimes if I didn’t have the exact colour I wanted, I would paint each tag individually with plastics dye.

Each of the larger works took about 40 hours to produce, and much of it was done while half-watching ‘Masterchef’ on my computer to keep me revved up!

The last, and one of the most important processes was to keep my 18 month old away from the sculptures (he calls them “moons” or “balls”. He is almost as obsessed with breadtags as his mother and if he sees one lying around anywhere he’ll bring it to me with much excitement.

  • Where do you turn for creative inspiration?

I like taking inspiration from the people, places and everyday items around me. The things that hang all my work together are a love of the everyday, a desire to find beauty in unexpected places, and a sense of humour.

I find my husband and my son very inspiring too. My husband is a musician and we have a similar sensibility, so we spur each other on. My son knows how to enjoy life and be in the moment – nothing gets past him! It’s a great reminder to be present – something that’s a challenge in an age of a million distractions.

  • What’s next for Beth Taylor and breadtag art?

I know what my next project is, but sssh, it’s a secret for now!

Inner West questions

  • Best place for a caffeine hit in the inner west?

I’m not a coffee drinker, but I had a damn fine hot chocolate at Alchemy on Addison Rd, and Adora’s hot chocolates and milkshakes are to die for!

  • What/where was the last great meal you ate in the inner west?

I have a young one so I haven’t dined out in a while really! Bloodwood really impressed me with its vegan and vego options.

  • The inner west’s best kept secret?

A walk around the Cooks River finished off with a hot drink and a chocolate at Adora. The Magic Yellow Bus is the best unkept secret for parents with young ones. It rocks!!

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1 Response to " Interview: Beth Taylor “Breadtag World” "

  1. Diane says:

    Can someone please convince Alchemy to open on a Sunday. Please.

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