Concurrent with my gardening project is my foray into woodworking, using borrowed tools and free timber, like pallets and offcuts.
I’ve got more to say about the thrilling possibilities that the waste crisis holds for humanity, but today I want to tell you about the ‘trash trove’ I discovered in Cobar last month. Cobar is a small town on Ngiyampaa/Wangaapuwan country, eight hours west of Sydney.
I was there to visit the site of the Cobar Sound Chapel, an art installation and music performance space housed inside an old water tank, designed by an eccentric Luxemburgish muso (my dad) and his Pritzker Prize-winning friend (Glenn Murcutt).
While my father, er, supervised the team of local builders (rough-as-guts legends who communicate in a dialect my dad’s picked up alarmingly well) I explored the surrounding scrub.
I saw a story in every piece of rubbish. Flattened ring-pull tins (a camper’s dinner circa 2000?), empty pill bottles that read ‘NOT TO BE TAKEN’, pools of molten plastic, boar skulls with all the teeth in tact, Coca Cola labels with branding they used in the ‘90s, lots and lots and lots of beer bottles (some locals are disgruntled about the takeover of their moon party spot), twisted-up engine parts, a tracksuit, a TV and the city of springs leftover after a mattress is set alight.
As a result of my trip to Cobar, my mum’s garden now contains a small rockery with a bird bath made of a large ceramic bowl atop the rusty pipe collar from one of the water tank’s outlets. It also contains a rusty mop bucket that I’ve repurposed as a planter for this spring’s potted colour.
I made my friend Kat a side table using timber collected on the Sound Chapel worksite, and my next planned woodworking project is to build my dad a table using what I can of the original timber the builders salvaged from the rim of the tank.
Life’s full of paradoxes and, in coining the term ‘trash trove’, I think I just named another one.