Installation view of Caro Pattle’s work <em>Soft pipes, play on</em> 2022 (left) and Kate Jones’s work <em>Hekataea</em> 2022 (right) on display as part of the <em>Melbourne Now</em> exhibition at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne from 24 March – 20 August 2023. Image: Tom Ross

Caro Pattle

Caro Pattle
(b. 1985, Whanganui, New Zealand. Lives and works in Melbourne)

Caro Pattle’s experimental, object-based practice explores contemporary materiality through a range of handicrafts. Drawing from several disciplines, she creates works that joyfully muddle various binaries: organic and synthetic, past and present, and functional and non-functional. Underpinned by her ongoing research into material cultures, animism and the domestic sphere, Pattle’s practice spans large-scale public art installations through to smaller-scale objects. Embedded in all of her work is a distinct sense of pleasure and play in the making process.

Soft pipes, play on, 2022, is a hand-woven piece using coil basketry techniques, re-imagining a prehistoric stone-hewn vessel in lush blue velvet. Created using a time-intensive process of knotting velvet yarn to create a dense organic surface and structure, the vessel combines historic forms with contemporary materials, divesting the object of its original function to focus on the beauty of the form. The title of the work is derived from English Romantic poet John Keats’s 1819 poem ‘Ode on a Grecian urn’. While the original poem describes musical pipes in a painted scene on an ancient Grecian urn, Pattle takes the line out of context and into the realm of her contemporary velvet vessel, situating the object as a future artefact of the Anthropocene that questions the boundaries of nature and culture.

Pattle completed a Bachelor of Textiles at RMIT University in 2019 and a Bachelor of Fine Arts, also at RMIT in 2009. The recipient of numerous travel grants and industry prizes, she was named the Australian Textile Graduate of the Year by the Design Institute of Australia in 2020 and was shortlisted for the Design Files Awards in 2021 and the VIVID Design Prize in 2022. In 2022, her work was presented at the inaugural Melbourne Design Fair as part of Melbourne Design Week.