I acknowledge the peoples of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which I live and work. I pay my respects to their Elders, past and present – and recognise their ongoing resilience, creativity and care for Country.

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Pit Projects: Thistle Chair
Collaboration with Michael Gittings

02 August - 25 August 2024
Northern Beaches Environmental Art & Design Prize

Curl Curl Creative Space
105 Abbott Road, North Curl Curl, NSW 2096

25 May - 02 June 2024
Melbourne Design Week 2024

L8, R13, The Nicholas Building
37 Swanston Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000
-> Pit Projects Website

Thistle Chair (2024) is a sculptural couch constructed from stainless steel and upholstered in the pappus-clad seeding flowers of the Artichoke Thistle. The work is driven by an interest in the brittle and inhospitable fur-like materiality of the matured thistles flower, as well as the play between utility and complete uselessness in furniture as pure sculpture. Using the Artichoke Thistle, an invasive weed species prevalent throughout Victoria, the work considers both the material burden and aesthetic potential contained in the plant. 

Introduced to Australia in the first half of the 19th century, likely by accident or as ornamentation, the Artichoke Thistle is a naturally occurring species native to the Mediterranean. The plant thrives in poorer pastures and neglected roadsides, often impacting unkept river frontages, roadsides, industrial areas and wastelands.

The plant goes to seed in late summer transforming the spiney purple florets to hairy seedheads covered in golden pappi. Picked during a brief window of time before the flowers decay with the onset of winter, the work halts the plant’s perennial cycle extending its life from semi-urban roadsides into the gallery setting. 

Reminiscent of rabbit tails and framed as a piece of furniture; the plush sculpture teases viewers with a desire to touch and sit – an impulse that is denied.

Images courtesy Pit Projects, photography by Michael Pham.
Melbourne Design Week 2024
-> MDW 2024 Program Event Page

Interview with Grace Sandles for Union Magazine
-> Union Magazine: Anni Hagberg & Michael Gittings on their Thistle Chair

Finalist, 2024 Northern Beaches Environmental Art & Design Prize
-> Find out more