Pauline C.

I grew up in a climate that encouraged outdoor activities which meant that my family spent many happy holidays and weekends  bushwalking, canoeing and camping.  I was (and still am) an avid collector of stones/rocks, shells, driftwood, dried seaweed and leaves of many colours and patterns.  From an early age I was also a doodler, playing with coloured pencils and crayons making all sorts of crazy patterns. I also loved to make elaborate mudcakes and I’d decorate them with leaves, berries and twigs.

My introduction to sewing/textiles did not really begin until I started school.  We began with samplers of different stitches and techniques and by the time I had completed by first cross-stitched placemat and sewn my first skirt I was hooked. Browsing through the local fabric shop while my mother did the weekly shopping was a treat I looked forward to.  I was considered a bit of an oddity in my family but as the middle child of five I had plenty of space and freedom to pursue my own activities. Attending a single sex high school meant that needlework and cooking were mandatory in the early years – whilst I had no problem with this I did struggle with the rigid programme.  However, Textiles became an elective subject for me and I finished high school with a Distinction in this field.

After completing studies in Marketing and working in several companies both in Australia and U.K., I felt a need to add another dimension to my life.  I yearned to play with patterns and colour – to create “something” of visual beauty.  After the birth of my daughter and with the support of my long suffering husband I began a Textile Design and Printing course at night.  I then studied Design and Colour for a further 2 years and I was on my way – a journey I was to find both incredibly fulfilling but with many moments of frustration.

Workshops, textile books and DVD’s have been my saviour. I’ve pinched, scrunched, wrapped, tied and dyed and then repeated the process.  I’ve handpainted, discharged and overprinted or stamped always using many and varied colours to create the layered fabrics I desire.  I love the unexpected and less structured look that Shibori gives and the unpredictability of manipulated fabric that has just been removed from a dye pot. I love that surprise element.

I am a passionate environmentalist and spend many hours trekking along the coast where I live, through local rainforest and bush areas, and I never cease to be amazed at the many patterns, textures and beautiful organic shapes I find along the way.  I take my inspiration from nature and strive to emulate this natural beauty in my work.   If I am able to bring awareness of nature’s wonderland to the attention of others, in particular the fragility of our environment, then I feel I have achieved at least one of my goals as an artist.