The About Me page is often one of the first pages that I read when visiting a new website. If I am considering taking notice of information offered or making a purchase from a website, I like to know something about the person or persons behind that enterprise.
Do they know what they are talking about? Do they have relevant qualifications and experience and am I likely to enjoy interacting with them? Their 'About Me' page will give me an idea of whether our values and interests might be similar. If you feel the same way, read on!
Born in Albany, Western Australia, a small town on the Southern Ocean, I grew up in the hills near Perth, attending Perth Modern School, Edith Cowan University and the University of WA, before launching into a teaching career in Fremantle, then at various schools in WA, the Northern Territory, Scotland and Cyprus.
My education was to continue as I delved into the absorbing occupation of making, then teaching, Art in its various forms. Drawing, painting and sculpting seemed to come naturally to me and I enjoyed the freedom that such creativity allows.
Although there were periods in my life when Art took a less dominant role (such as during the years raising children) I still often created works in my mind and consoled myself with the thought that Art can exist without having a physical form (can’t it?).
Travel within Australia fascinated me and I never tired of the endless landscapes and adventures that seemed to be waiting to be discovered. So I often found jobs in remote parts of the country, getting to make ‘far flung’ friends in the process.
Teaching at isolated aboriginal communities, helping them to develop ‘cottage industries’ or researching educational possibilities for indigenous adults took me to places that I would never have, otherwise, had the opportunity to visit. Immersed in such powerful, vast landscapes, ideas of aboriginal spirituality seem perfectly natural and logical.
All that travel by land, sea and air was fuelled by a love of our ‘wide brown land’, especially the area known by Australians in southern areas as ‘Up North’ or the ‘The Top End’ as opposed to ‘Down South’ (when they actually are up north!).
Landscape ideas were sketched as we drove through red deserts, along dry river beds, across flooded creek crossings or through the swirling ‘bull dust’ of outback tracks. Sometimes these pencil sketches became paintings – or just remained as scribbled reminders.
Sometimes things just fall into place. Eventually, we decided that our children needed more stability, so we bought a caravan park in a fabulous river front location at Kalbarri, a long day’s drive north of Perth and put our energies into developing that. I had previously taught myself to make silver jewellery but this was mostly my ‘ceramics’ period, followed by a range of printed ‘up market’ Australiana t shirt designs.
A textiles course at Edith Cowan University introduced me to the exciting realm of mark making with dyes on that ‘queen of fabrics’, pure silk. Screen printing with dyes onto six metres of silk with four or more, usually overlapping, colours was an exercise in concentration, to say the least!
We had several trips, following different routes, to Tropical North Queensland and ended up living in Port Douglas, a small tourist town and a jumping off point for the Great Barrier Reef. Here we established fine art galleries, representing leading Australian artists and met many lovely people (artists, locals and visiting clients). More about that here , also a short CV.
During this time I was painting as well as organising gallery related activities (workshops, exhibitions, festivals). I don’t mind, particularly, what substrate I paint on or what medium is used but there is a thread running through these creative endeavours – a beautiful silk thread!
I found that visitors appreciated the silk scarves of various sizes that I was painting with dyes, mostly in fairly bright, tropical colours. They bought them to wear themselves or to take home as gifts. Because I nearly always introduce several hues and tones of colours into each design, it became easy for them to find a scarf that would complement their various outfits.
A few years ago I closed my large printing studio and now work from my home studio, designing silk scarves and having them printed in Australia. It’s still a lot of work, but means that I now have design and quality consistency available to everyone, worldwide.
My aim, through imagery developed over years, as well as right now and into the future, is to share with you some of the insights and revelations that I have experienced during my fortunate life of being part of this great country. In a way, the project could be thought of as being an on-going exhibition in which you, as a collector or contributor, could be involved, if you so wish!
How do you feel abut being an active 'canvas' on which artwork dances - or sits sedately (your choice)? The 'gallery' is wherever you find yourself!
This site is about high quality, limited edition, silk scarves and how to enjoy wearing them, but the scarves also tell Australian stories. If you have any stories that you would like to share about your experiences in this country we would love to hear them. Please do include photos as well.
I hope that you will embark on your own journey of discovery through the sensual touch of pure silk, in which the essence of this country's images and colours are embedded.
I plan to make the scarves available through a few, select outlets but mostly though this website. Please tell me what you think about this idea?
Would you like to become a member of this exclusive Spirit of Oz community? It will cost you nothing to join but, hopefully, the benefits will be great and ever expanding.
For a start:
And there's more...
Your ideas about benefits and how we can each relate to other members are very welcome.
PS - want to check my Art Journal?