Q & A :: Beth Taylor on Breadtag World
July 4th 2011
Nick La Rosa
Some people create art with paintbrushes, clay or video. Beth Taylor uses a multicolour cascade of bread tags. She’s created a solar system out of these pieces for her exhibition, Breadtag World. Here’s the lowdown on the show.
Flog: Number of bread tags used?
Beth Taylor: 12,000 used (if you laid the breadbags end to end, they'd stretch 66 Olympic swimming pools).
Which countries the bread tags are from?
All over Australia from WA to ACT, NSW, SA and Victoria, New Zealand, Hong Kong, USA and Canada.
Which colours do the bread tags come in?
The USA have some lovely orange and pink ones we hardly get here.
There are some lovely green ones you get on veges here in NSW and a lady from WA who's been sending me her breadtags for years – SHE gets some whoppers on bags of potatoes.
In Australia, the easiest colours to get are (in order): white, blue, red, yellow, brown, green, orange and pink.
Most bread you went through for bread-tag booty (in your pre-breadmaker-owning life, of course!)?
I never binged on bread for my art. I wish they were on crumpets because I have a soft spot for them. I went through a stage of going to a supermarket really early and grabbing all the tags off old bread they were going to throw out, but that was a bit challenging for someone who doesn't like early starts!
The biggest bread-tag donors to the exhibition?
The Mental Illness Fellowship of South Australia contributed three kgs worth (8,200 tags). I paid $50 for them! Bargain! I'm not sure where they get them from, but they are recycled and they sell them to farmers in the area. My dear mother-in-law found them online – she must have googled it.
I work for a government agency with 200 employees in Canberra and they have all been donating their tags to the cause.
My friend's husband works for a Sports and Rec camp for the Department of Education and he gets all the kids to save the tags for me (several hundred)!
People get their local school canteens and cafes to keep all their tags.
I get people on a semi regular basis finding my website, wizzybliss.com, and sending me their collections. A woman emailed me yesterday to offer 2kg worth that she had collected and she needed to shift them because she's renovating her kitchen. Bless!
All my family and friends collect and there was a while there where, every second day, I'd have some in my letterbox or on my doorstep from some source or another.
How many DVDs/albums/podcasts you got through while working on this?
I've been working on these for the past 6 months and going really hard for the last 3 months. I have an 18 month old, so I work on it while he's asleep. I hate to think how many hours…
I'm no good for an estimate, but what I can give you is the Top 8 of what I've listened to/watched whilst tagging:
1) Masterchef (pretty much all of this season watched on their website). The competitive/time-based element spurs me on to create. Seriously!
2) All of Tina Fey's Bossypants audio book
3) Go Back to Where you Came From series on SBS
4) A lot of ABC Radio – In the Mind and lots of 702
5) Slate's Culture Gabfest
6) Many many many repeats of Species Counterpoint by