Naomi McCarthy

artist, writer, animateur

Wrap Up

A Veil of Wishes culminated in a large scale installation at The Max Weber Library in Blacktown with over 2000 hand made dandelions turned into a glowing testament to the resilience of the human spirit. the accompanying anonymous wishes, presented as a digital artwork overwhelmingly spoke of family, safety and prosperity. The very presence of hundred and hundreds of wishes in the project underscored the proposition that:people are still ....wishing. Hope is alive and so is fun, generosity and a sense of community. The Veil of Wishes stayed up for the summer holidays and librarians and library patrons alike .... still miss its sunny presence. 


For a photographic record of the project see Dandelion Projects Facebook page 



Workshop Wonderland

This project has developed a little differently than we planned - instead of sending Dandelion making kits out to community groups for them to contribute their dandelions and wishes to the final artwork - we have been drawn into running workshops in a range of community spaces. Whilst making life a little squeezy, as we both work fulltime, this new development has also brought its joys and surprises. I have so far delivered two outreach workshops, one each for a Bhutanese and a Chinese friendship group. As most people in these groups don't speak English and I speak only English, the gathering of wishes, of necessity, has been facilitated by someone from each group who speaks and writes both languages. Curiously the gathered wishes were culturally coherent, and apart from the odd moment of irreverent humour the wishes from each group were analogous to each other within the cohort. By the time we collect 2000 wishes, it will be interesting to see just how coloured by culture our wishes are and also as the project develops to see if we can encourage people to offer their secret wishes unmediated by community expectations…   


The making of these lovely little golden orbs is bringing joy and connection wherever they are made. They are gathering in numbers ready to unite in our 'Veil of Wishes' at Blacktown Art Centre, December 2017.

And so it begins...

We collected hundreds of handmade dandelions and an almost equal number of wishes at our first Dandelion event at Blacktown's Medieval Fayre. Children were willing and enthusiastic to not only make and contribute a dandelion to the Veil of Wishes artwork, but were also  full on enthusiasm to write down their wish, and hand it over carefully folded with the wish safely inside. Curiously, adults in this instance  were much more reticent to contribute a wish, they would make a flower and help and encourage their children, but, writing a wish for themselves evoked bashful resistance. One wonders on the multiple reasons why this may be so and rather than jump to conclusions we will  be wrapping our thoughts around this phenomenon ... watch out for the next step in the project development ....

Witnessing a Wish

I witnessed a wish in the making this afternoon while walking to collect my grandson from school. A mother up ahead was pushing a pram, she paused, reversed a few steps and plucked a dandelion clock growing at that point where the earth meets concrete. Moments after passing it to the young fingers reaching upwards from the pram a light shower of nature’s gyroscopes floated through the air. Beautiful.

photo by Alice Sciberras

photo by Alice Sciberras

Just thinking...

Just thinking... I’ve always loved flowers and yellow is my favourite colour, so, as a child I delighted in picking with gay abandon as many dandelions as I wished. For me, dandelions are wonderful splashes of sunshine. They are part of my psyche.

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The team

Artists Shirley Daborn and Naomi McCarthy, operating as creative collective Dandelion Projects are all about curiosity, creativity and being inclusive. Founding member Shirley Daborn has this to say about their upcoming collaborative artwork for The Pat Parker Memorial Residency, “I believe that most people have an internal yearning that becomes silenced through the responsibilities of everyday life. Meeting the routine demands of family or work, for example, leaves little time for contemplating the larger philosophical issues of life. Our Veil of Wishes project will invite people to contribute their personal aspiration and highlight how the dreams and wishes of individuals can be united to express often unspoken communal desires.” Whilst founding member Naomi McCarthy reflects on the project in this way; “I often imagine, especially just on dusk as the day is drawing to a close, a bubble of yearning gathering in the sky over the suburbs. For this project, we will be gathering up the secret wishes of people who live in the Blacktown district and creating a digital text-based artwork to accompany a public art installation draping The Blacktown Arts Centre in thousands of sunny, yellow paper dandelions made by the community. Because, whilst considered a weed by some, a dandelion has the ability, with just a teaspoon of soil and a drop of rain, to pop up practically anywhere, resilient and cheerful - we love that about them."

Contact:  Shirley.dandelionprojects@gmailcom