A BRIDGWATER weaver and artist is returning to her roots for Somerset Open Studios 2018.

Fibre artist Caroline Hawkins will be ‘artist in residence’ at Hazelmere, Hillcommon near Taunton with her menagerie of Australian wildlife sculptures.

Selected items of her works will be on display and workshops in bush animals and aboriginal weaving will be held each weekend during the event, which runs from September 15 to 30.

The venue is number 67 in the Open Studios guide.

Caroline is a Bridgwater born weaver and artist, who now calls Australia home.

Her art has developed through making connections to her local environment, culture and history with an eye on the future and our responses to our changing world.

Her unique sculptural works combine aboriginal methods in making ‘bush toys’, with a passion for endangered wildlife including possums, bandicoots, quolls and parrots.

She said: “There are so many species declining in numbers where I live, we are now at a point where choices have to be made as to which species can be saved and which will inevitably become extinct. How do we make that choice?.”

Caroline originally learnt European style basket weaving, returning to England for tuition in using willow.

Willow is not harvested in Australia and is regarded as an invasive weed where it does occur.

Whilst researching suitable local alternative plant fibres to use, she met indigenous artist, weaver and aboriginal elder ‘Aunty Bronwyn’.

A friendship between the two weavers soon developed, as Caroline gradually learnt indigenous weaving techniques.

Caroline said: “Sitting down with Aunty Bronwyn to weave in the method passed on by her Grandmother you learn far more than just how to weave.” Says Caroline “Life slows to a different pace as you realise that you are immersed in the practice of indigenous culture”.

Workshop and booking information is at carolinehawkins.com.au Somerset art studios maps downloaded from somersetartworks.org.uk/openstudios2018