I love using colour. At arts school I was told to ‘tone my colours down,' but now in my practice, the colours have come alive.
My final works on paper are made by printing layers of solar plate etchings. My initial drawings are placed in the sun with a photopolymer plate and etched into the plate, washed out in water, dried in the sun and then inked and printed onto paper. It is quite a time-consuming process, but the results produced capture my drawings perfectly from the natural environment.
People often ask about inspiration and where is comes from. I'd say you bring many parts of your life experience to your work. Much of mine is collected quite close to home, from my garden and around the coastal landscape of Lorne on Victoria’s picturesque Great Ocean Road in Southern Victoria, Australia. Both my husband and mother-in-law are the most talented gardeners.
One of my favourite specimens is the Banksia, a stunning Australian native flower with many different varieties, colours and textures.
I have many specimens in my collection, but still ask friends if they ever find anything, to let me know. Well, I received a small plastic container in my mailbox which contained a dead dragonfly. I posted a picture of the package on Facebook and said thank you for the gift left in my letterbox. A friend commented, "only you would think a dead bug in your letterbox was a gift." Very funny. But I do find them fascinating....
My love of Art
As a child growing up in a busy musical family, my initial creative efforts were geared towards playing the guitar and singing, though I can recall having dreams of owning a gallery to display my art and pottery, it seemed to be a 'fly by the seat of your pants' idea because my artistic confidence was thrown into chaos at age 14. I had a fall while horse riding and broke my arm close to Christmas. I couldn't attend school except to collect my artwork, and found my art teacher had thrown out all my class work for the year, I was so upset and my mother was livid... There were many hours of work just pitched without thought into the bin.
Consequently I began to devote more time to my musical vision. By the age of twenty I was travelling overseas and busked in London, the acoustics in the tube tunnels were terrific, and on returning to Australia, I recorded some original tracks with my two brothers, however it was obvious to me even then I was heading in another direction.
My love of art came once again to the fore and the music was 'put on the back burner.'
Getting a start
Returning to Australia, I found a different artistic avenue, modelling in the fashion industry. It was amazing but also challenging to work with some of our country's most talented couture designers for more than twenty years. This experience enabled me to gather fundamental inspiration from fabric, texture and colour.
Working as a fashion model I still dabbled in jewellery making and drawing and sold my work at markets. When I met my husband he noticed some drawings I'd done and said "what are you doing, you should be making art," after which he bought me an easel and canvases for my birthday, and I never looked back. My enrolment into part-time arts school was the best thing I could have possibly done. It introduced me to printmaking in many forms.
I have had eczema since I was a baby and the toxicity of the acid and some solvents played havoc with my skin. So I researched all the non-toxic printmaking methods I could find and happened upon the very talented solar plate etcher Janet Ayliffe who ran a workshop at Warringah Studios in Sydney. I was captivated by this marvellous technique. This was an especially exciting and significant turning point in my arts practice.
I didn't touch solar plate for the following two years but was again enticed to do a refresher course with Janet. I fell in love with the process all over again and set my studio up to work in this beautiful method convinced that I would work in this way for many years to come.
I have been teaching for some years and enjoy working with both children and adults. When teaching children, I try to convince them that ‘nothing is a mistake,' all our work can say and express something.
I love seeing the expression on students faces when they pull their first print. Just magic.
Ever since I’ve made art I’ve been told my work would look fabulous on fabric. It has taken many years of investigating to determine how I would produce my range of homewares. It has been a transference of my art to various substrates such as wallpaper and cushions.
My ethos of keeping my product range local and as organic as possible, is a challenge, however it is worth the hard work to keep this ethos alive.