“Fibres of Life” a most beautiful exhibition was held at the Tanks in Cairns QLD Australia from the 19th November to the 12th December 2010. The exhibition featured textile and fibre work from Canada, China, Japan, Latvia, Papua New Guinea, USA and our local region Cairns and the Atherton Tablelands. It was a very colourful and inspiring event. ATASDA which is Australian Textile Arts and Surface Design Association Inc. showed their travelling exhibition Maharajah’s Garden a great little exhibition.
The “Fibres of Life” exhibition was organised by the Cairns Regional Council Sister Cities Committee and they did a fabulous job. The layout of the exhibition swept me away. It was a great pleasure for the eye, full of surprises and diversity well balanced and colour coordinated. It was interesting to see the many different cultures expressed in textiles and fibres come together under one roof.
It was a great honour to be selected for such a prestigious international textile exhibition and I was over the moon when I was invited to have a fashion parade. My first solo parade ever! Wow. My Rhapsody Felt collection consisting of 6 pieces was on the cat walk at the opening night and lots of people and friends came to cheer me on. It was just magic. Sonlia Fashion our local fashion designers and friends Sonya and Liana from Mareeba provided me with the most gorgeous models. It could only be a success. Rhubarb was one of the garments on the cat walk. Rhubarb was selected for the Creative Fibre National Exhibition in New Zealand 2009 where it took a merit award.
Robert Astill and Helen Stumkat both felt textile artists have been of great inspiration to me and I am absolutely grateful and feel fortunate to have taken part in some of their workshops. At the moment felt is my great passion. Over the years I have had a go at papermaking, basketry, knitting, patchwork, natural dyes, crochet, weaving, and silk painting. Since 1977 I have been working hard behind the spinning wheel. I am mainly self-taught except for taking part in a few workshops from time to time. I think fibre craft is a most wonderful way of expressing oneself. It is a very rewarding occupation whether as a professional or hobbyist. From inspiration to idea to create to overcome technical problems to the finished product the process to me is the most important of all.
I conduct workshops, take part in exhibitions, and demonstrate my skills at the local shows and anywhere people ask me to go. I sell my work from Tolga Wood Works a very lovely gallery on the Atherton Tablelands. I use to sell from 14 galleries/craft shops around the country but have scaled down long time ago and happy to feel the creativity blossom and not have to worry too much about the quantity and production lines anymore.
I belong to an amazing fibre craft group on the Atherton Tablelands. We call ourselves The Coffee Drop Crafters and we get together every second Wednesday at Lake Eacham at one of the picnic shelters. The group is unique in that way that we all bring along what ever craft we are working on. We are very diverse in our creativity and the group is all about friendship, sharing, exchanging ideas, learning and enjoying the journey together. Peder usually brings his spinning wheel. He has specialised in silk and spins a magnificent thread. He is the only male at the moment and has been for years actually.
The other ladies brings their knitting, embroidery, tapestry weaving, locker hooking, inkle looms, cardboard looms, beads for making jewellery, French knitting, felting, braiding, silk leaves or trading cards just to mention a few crafts. The most exciting moments and we have them every time we get together is our show and tell. We ask for directions and help with our pieces when we feel stuck and there is always someone who has a great idea and you go home feeling energised and so much more confident knowing that the hurdle has been tackled and overcome. Not to mention all the talk about lovely food and swapping of recipes. It is a never ending story. During school holidays we get to see the young mothers and their crafty kids. It is just awesome.