Giant textile brain unveiled

Using thousands of handmade textile neurons crafted by people from all over Australia and beyond, Neural Knitworks will soon unveil its first giant brain installation at the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Art Centre in Gymea.

For several months, textile artists Pat Pillai and Rita Pearce have been working with Inspiring Australia (NSW) to amass neurons for their textile brain installation. Thousands of people from all walks of life have joined the project by creating handmade textile neurons following scientifically informed patterns.

Across Australia, people have been holding group knit-ins, inviting brain health experts to get involved, downloading brain health podcasts to listen to and creating textile neurons at home.

Knit ins have been hosted by libraries, craft groups, museums, nursing homes, schools and project partners Inspiring AustraliaBrain & Mind Research Institute andAlzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation.

The national project has struck a chord, delighting many including children, older people, scientists and craft enthusiasts.

Each day, hundreds of neurons are arriving at the gallery by mail and next week the artists will begin building the rainbow cortex using hundreds of white milk crates donated by Sydney’s Vivid Festival.

Exhibition opening and brain health forum

All are welcome to attend the opening night at 7pm on Thursday 21st August. The exhibition will be on show from 22 August to 16 September before traveling around Australia.

A free neuroscience forum will also be presented at Hazelhurst on Sunday 24 August from 10.30 am to 1pm as part of the gallery’s Open Day.

10.30 am: Meet members of the creative team behind this project including founding artist Pat Pillai and science communicator Dr Jenny Whiting who will discuss the brain health benefits of yarn craft with art teacher Mary Hayman.

11.15: Discover how neurons work with stem cell researcher Dr Heather Main and hear from neuroscience expert Professor Jonathan Arnold from Sydney University’s Brain and Mind Research Institute who studies the impact of cannabis on neurons.

12.00: Discover how to keep your own brain functioning well with Paddye Parnell from Your Brain Matters, learn how yoga and meditation can help calm your mind and body with neuroscientist Dr Grace Lai and how to nurture the adolescent brain with Toni Ottavio from Headspace.

Get involved!

To find out how to participate in this national yarn craft neuroscience projecct, join the Neural Knitworks community on Facebook.

Neural Knitworks plans to continue to raise awareness about mind and brain beyond National Science Week, with the artists ready to take their giant brain on the road at the conclusion of their first exhibition.

For information about how to host the exhibition in your community contact Curator Carrie Kibbler at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery.