A fresh migrant to Australia twenty years ago, my journey into making started here. I was influenced by my Flemish upbringing and time living and working in Africa when I met this group of women-artists. The friendships and banter spurred me on to develop my own art practice: from early beginnings in textile techniques, remembering my paternal grandmother teaching me how to knit, how to crochet lace, to applying this in fine metal. At the Victoria Park for the Arts where I first met with Geraldine Pillinger, Jill Ansell, Beba Hall and Rachel Wyder I attended my first workshop in ‘making’: Rosie Manning’s recycled knitted copper wire handbags and I was fired up, wanting to apply this technique to jewellery making and setting the rough gemstones I brought along from Zambia in fine silver and gold. Jude Sumich showed me how silversmith, and I enrolled in TAFE to learn more. Monart Gallery exhibited my work – I was over the moon.
We toured Stich ‘n Bitch around our homes: Georgina Moss, Jennie Newman, Shirley Clancy, Rosi Mitchell, Heather Tanner. I took part in MAKING WAVES II, in CARRY, took FOREST FLOOR around the UK and Belgium when I moved there in 2006, and returned to find the group again, and we mounted BOOM together, and more. Some moved away, others joined in: Louise Carre, Sylvie Miller, Joanna Wakefield, Diana Papenfus, Andrea Osses and Carre Wylder.
In FULL CIRCLE I reconnect with the early, playful beginnings of working in textiles and copper wire, in using recycled materials connecting to the home, women’s things such as ovens to bake in and jewellery to adorn ourselves, honoring the friendships and creative camaraderie that have grown over the years with the women in this collective. These have shaped me to find my place and connect to this incredibly diverse and ancient country.
Image: Grandmother’s Lace l, Gold ring, gold filled wire, 50x40mm, ring size N. $350
FULL CIRCLE exhibition is on at Ellis House Art Centre, 116 Milne Street, Bayswater WA from 11 - 26 September 2021. Open Thurs & Fri 10 am-4pm, Sat & Sun 10 am - 5pm.
Can't get there? Visit the virtual exhibition at Ellis House Art Centre here.
More of my work can be seen this season at IOTA21, including COUNTERPOINT, 3-19 November 2019 at Stala Contemporary, and a solo show TRIBUTARIES at Mundaring Arts Centre, 6 November – 19 December 2021.