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dawn kanost

Dawn Kanost

Dawn Kanost
Practice like your hair's on fire, 2014
reclaimed materials: silk (scarves, clothing, sari), cotton
2680 x 1950 mm

Photography by Jeremy Dillon

The piece is a ‘kantha’ (an Indian traditional quilt that reworks worn saris.)

The work is made from reclaimed materials of silk (scarves, clothing, a sari) and cotton (stitching).  Uncounted layers of silk have been hand-stitched together – by studying the edge areas, overlays of at least 6 separate textiles can be identified in parts.

Words are formed by the stitching – these words are the ten Buddhist 'paramis':   generosity VIRTUE wisdom renunciation ENERGY patience truthfulness rESoLVE loving kindness EQUANIMITY



FLY (brooch) 2010
reclaimed materials: tableware (epns)
new materials: 925 sterling silver, stainless steel
13 cm x 13 cm x 2.5 cm
Photo: Jeremy Dillon


Annular (brooch) 2010
reclaimed materials: tableware (epns)
new materials: 925 sterling silver, stainless steel
16.5 cm x 16.5 cm x 2 cm
Photo: Jeremy Dillon


HOUSEHOLDER (brooch) 2010
reclaimed materials: tableware(EPNS)
new materials: 925 sterling silver, stainless steel
4 x 17 x 3 cm
Photo: Jeremy Dillon


HEROINE (two-finger ring) 2010
reclaimed materials: tableware (EPNS)
3.5 cm x 9.5 cm x 4 cm
Photo: Jeremy Dillon

View 2009 artworks

dawn kanost

My work represents several loves intertwined. I was engaged, from my childhood, with the worlds my parents recalled to me. Harold's childhood, with backdrop of the American Depression and a sole parent, full of bean dishes, wild asparagus, blueberries sorted and preserved. My Finnish mother, Aune, whose x-rays showed childhood tuberculosis calcified within her lungs, wove into me Finnish forests, rag rugs and threads of fearlessness. My own memories of mushrooming in wet paddock grasses and late-summer, fly-maddening days spent with enormous creek-grown blackberries, fingers and mouths purpled, skin traced with thorn signatures.

These loves have at their centre the notion of a peasant culture. I can't help myself – I'm in love with the way people who owned one dress for 'working', and another 'for best', clothed themselves. I'm captivated by their inventive, and often large, adornments: traditional designs that marked your origins, marital status and were, before banks came into existence, their wealth worn.

And into the current day, where the revolution of an ecologically-sound approach to daily living seems obvious, I find myself using reclaimed materials to speak of my wish for this change.

dawn kanost - cv
2011 Diploma of Engineering Technology – Jewellery. NMIT.
2007 Diploma of Anthroposophical Studies. Melbourne Rudolf Steiner Seminar Ltd.
1996 Doctor of Philosophy (Immunology). Monash Medical School, Monash University.
1989 Bachelor of Science (Hons 1). Monash University.
2005 Let something go: change, NGV moat, Melbourne
2013 Home. Reframing craft and domesticity, Hatch Contemporary Arts Space, Ivanhoe
2011 Linden Postcard Show 2011, Linden St Kilda Centre for Contemporary Arts, St Kilda.
2008 Expressions 2008: The Wool Quilt Prize, National Wool Museum, Geelong.
2006 Lexicon, Gallery @ City Library, Melbourne.
2004 Expressions 2004: The Wool Quilt Prize, National Wool Museum, Geelong.
2004 Real. Not Real, artroom5, Adelaide.
2003 Linden Postcard Show 2003, Linden St Kilda Centre for Contemporary Arts, St Kilda.
1999 Doll, Artspace, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide; Object Galleries, Sydney, Pt Pirie Tourism Arts Centre, Pt Pirie.
1998 Home is where the art is, Artspace, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide.
1994 Courtship & dating: things your grandparents never told you, Adelaide Details.
2004 Coffin Bay Art and Craft Gallery’s Winter Hat and Beanie exhibition.
  Two prizes: Most Surprising / Unexpected Hat; Most Innovative Hat.
1989 Australian Postgraduate Research Award.
1991 Australian Society for Immunology Student Bursary.
1988 Anti-Cancer Council Vacation Studentship.
2004 Trzcinski, J. ‘Trash and treasure’ Herald Sun Home Magazine. May 29, 2004:16
2004 Radok, S. ‘Real not real’ The Adelaide Review. 247 (April 2004).
1999 Harms, L. ‘Doll’ Artlink. 1999, 19(2):84–85
1994 Kanost, D. and McCluskey, J. 1994. ‘Anergic B cells constitutively present self antigen: enhanced immunoglobulin receptor-mediated presentation of antigenic determinants by B cells is hierarchical’ Eur. J. Immunol. 24:1186–1193.
1993 Kanost, D., Basten, A., and McCluskey, J. 1993. ‘Threshold detection of self-antigen/MHC class II complexes formed in vivo: constitutive presentation of an immunodomiant epitope of hen egg lysozyme (HEL) in HEL-transgenic mice’ Int. Immunol. 5(8):893–902.
1991 McCluskey, J., Blok, R., Brooks, A., Chen, W., Kanost, D., and Kjer-Nielsen, L. 1991. ‘The biology of antigen processing and presentation.’ In James McCluskey (ed) Antigen Processing and Recognition, p. 1–54, CRC Press, Boca Raton (ISBN 0-8493-6932-0)
  The Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art, University of Western Australia
  J. D. Somerville Oral History Collection, State Library of South Australia
  Private collections


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