jennifer ryder-jones

Fieldwork at the New Art Festival in Ottawa

Scrag-ends liven up a rainy weekend at the New Art Festival, June 2 and 3, 2012

fieldwork at NAF

Each year the fieldwork collective participates in Ottawa's New Art Festival (NAF) as a community arts group, and the collective uses the opportunity to promote the fieldwork project as well as encourage participation in environmental art through our community outreach activites.  For 2012 we took Scrage-ends, the 2011 installation by Jennifer Ryder-Jones, and installed them at the festival site, and we encouraged visitors to NAF to make their own scrag-end at the fieldwork booth.  Chris Grosset and Erin Robertson loaded a table with strips of bark, string, wire, fabric and other odd items.  It didn't take long for people to find our booth and get to work. 

busy fieldworkers

Families, children, adults and artists from some of the other booths made dozens of little scrage-ends to either take home, or to hang on a clothsline so that other visitors to NAF could take home a creation. 

One of the very first scrag-ends was this incredible bird, created by a young woman named Rachelle who is visiting Ottawa from Manitoba as a volunteer for Katimavik.  Her piece, seen here in progress, got our weekend off to a great start.  Despite the rain, the fieldwork booth was once again a bright spot at NAF .  Thank you to the festival organizers for inviting us back to NAF, and thank you to all of the participants in the scrag-end project.

Rachelle's scrag-end bird

Fashioning a SCRAGEND

The genesis of the Scragends project goes back a while, 1997 to be precise, with twelve willow mannequins that I made for an international fashion show "Fashioning Textiles" that travelled across Canada for "Canada's Year of Asia Pacific".  All twelve mannequins, fashioned from branches and found objects, were a size 8 and were clothed in the works of various designers. 

Over the years those mannequins moved around with various people and to different places, but my interest in them remained so I began an effort to gather the group back together.  The remains of seven of the mannequins are back in my possession now, some of them having nearly faded away to nothing (a  size 0?).  Collected in my yard, they were awaiting a new life when the concept for the Scragends installation began developing.

The term “Scragends” comes from an English expression for rubbish.  I’ve had a consistent interest in dealing with recycling in my work, and the beauty of repurposing found and natural objects.  The Scragends, like the mannequins, are compiled of various recycled objects – some will disintegrate, and others not.   While the Scragends endure their lifecycle in the elements at fieldwork, I continue to hope that the absent five mannequins can be secured, so that the original twelve will be recycled and reunited once more. 

Jennifer Ryder-Jones


"Scrag-ends" consists of a series of decaying willow mannequins: twelve were originally made in 1997 for use as display forms in "Fashioning Textiles", a travelling exhibition in celebration of "Canada's Year of Asia Pacific".  In a future blog entry I will write about the history of the pieces.

Three have remained in my possession, silently marking the metamorphic passing of time.  "Scrag-ends" is a derogatory expression used in England and refers to waste or rubbish.  In my work I deal with environmental issues and the juxtaposition of various energy sources created through new uses and recycling of a multitude of diverse materials.  The "Scrag-ends" are made of locally collected willow and recycled metals, clay, and debris found in the area.   

The installation at fieldwork will be in situ for a year, allowing the pieces to start the decay process over the seasons.  I will document and blog about their gradual decay over the fall, winter and spring.  Visit the "Scrag-ends" in person and send me your comments and photos at

Jennifer Ryder-Jones

great time, great people, great art, at the opening of the summer installations!

fieldwork-michael alstad-coyote illumination
fieldwork-steven white- piano pendulum
fieldwork-jennifer ryder jones-scragends/scarecrows

Despite the continuing grey weather a great crowd of people came out to celebrate  the opening of fieldwork's Summer 2011 installations with us.  Great food, wonderful, imaginative installations, lovely people and a lovely space.  What more does one need on a sombre May afternoon? After a long winter, and a couple of barren weeks, the field is now showing off its 'summer collection'!   More pictures will be posted soon in the 'spring/summer 2011 gallery' in the menu to the right.

Come visit!

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