Can you tell us a little bit about your background and your artistic practice?
I studied Fine Art at Monash, majoring in contemporary practises with a focus on
textile works. I’ve always been really interested in textures, which plays a big part in
how my works are made. My works are also often informed by the history of how
textiles were produced, particularly in Ireland where my family lives and my parents
What inspired you to create the works in Abiding by Stitches?
I actually had a very vivid dream of these works. I had been making, but it was more
along the lines of following a pattern to knit a top or sew a dress. The dream I had
strangely configured all my thoughts and ideas into an array of works that perfectly
communicated the thoughts I wanted to convey. I drew pictures and wrote down all
the fabrics and colours I wanted to use, and then I began the slow process of making
it all. I loved that it came to me in a dream because there’s so much superstition
around dreams and sleep in my family. I worked with lots of inspiration, but three
main ideas came to fruition throughout the process of making; works that were
directly inspired by the idea of sleep, detail in the works that referenced
superstitions I’ve explored in past works and lastly, indescribable forms that allude
to the mysteries and stories I often wondered about as a child.
I’m really intrigued by the superstitions and stories that this exhibition references
– Can you tell us one of these stories?
Growing up in Australia we were always told such wild stories by my mother of all
these things that happened in her village in Ireland, so it’s hard to pick just one.
There is a tale that’s told in my mum’s village about a haunted dog, that always
makes me laugh. I don’t have any works that directly reference this story, but I think
it’s a good example of these obscure stories get around. One day my mum was doing
a school project on this historic lake and gardens near her home, taking some
photos. A dog started barking, probably from one of the farms. Mum, age 11 or 12
thought it was Pilot, the haunted dog. She started running in a mad panic but
couldn’t get her feet through the thick snow. She was running and falling and
crawling through the snow to get away from the sound of what was actually just a
neighbour’s dog. There are so many other stories too that I probably explore a little
more of in my artworks. It’s believed that salt has protective powers, tying fabric to a
certain tree just outside my mum’s village will cure warts, and if you walk through a
ring of flowers in a field on your way home at night, no matter how long you are
walking for you will never get home. These types of stories are the ones we were
told as children, and that have always really resonated with me.
Why did you choose textile-based works to represent your ideas?
I’ve always been interested in slow processes, and have always been involved in the
making of things through textiles, even from a young age. Once I realised that
intertwining textiles and art together was a pretty successful way to communicate
the ideas I explore, I began to see a stronger language in my work, and the process
of making became more organic.
Have you ever faced any challenges in your artistic practice?
I have always faced periods where I have concepts and background to a potential
work, but am unable to figure out how to best communicate them. Over the last few
years I’ve learnt that I work best by making even when I’m unsure- that is, to just get
my hands on some fibres and see where it takes me. The process is often interrupted
by too much planning.
What are you hoping that your audience will gain from your work?
I am hoping that people are intrigued by the textures of the works, I think that’s
where a lot of my interest lies in the works that I do. I’d love it if someone even felt
interested enough to look ‘further’. To feel the movement of the works and to
possibly even form their own links to personal memories of stories. The intention of
the work isn’t to directly tell my own stories and memories, it’s more about creating
a space that facilitates thought and conversation around this. The works have their
own mystery in the way they don’t tell you everything, and I hope that people can
feel that too.
Who are your favourite artists at the moment? (Not just visual artists)
I have so many favourite artists at the moment. I love the work of Ninni Luhtasaari,
the figures in her works and so interesting and she also makes hats! I saw Anna
Dunnill’s work at Blindside a couple years ago and I found it super moving. I also had
a really inspiring lecturer in my third year of Fine Art, Kate Beynon. I think she
balances art and textiles so perfectly, and her works have incredible detail and hold
such a personal connection to her own life.
What’s next for you? Do you any plans for future artworks or projects?
I think these works have begun a new process of making for me, I’ve found it very
liberating to make without judgement of myself. I’ve tried not to second guess
decisions and to make a lot more intuitively than I usually do, so I would love to
continue on this series working in a similar way. My plan is to keep building my skills
around textiles, to keep learning new techniques, and hopefully, something will spark
interest in me enough to even possibly begin a new series.