I have had a long love affair with paper and clay, from my room full of drawings as a child to making the hundredth origami crane with my dad to the regular clay sessions where many a wombat or wallaby was sculpted. More recently it has been me running sessions … from making those large paper pom poms and then origami flowers to the plaster figurative sculptures and echidnas out of clay with all the different school groups. But right now I have been taken over by paper mache. My last workshop with the children at O’Connell Public School at their year 5/6 Art School Camp was all inspired by my walks with Nim each day through the eucalypt woodlands where I live. We made eucalypt leaf and gum nut mobiles out of paper and sticks and fishing line with a little eucalyptus oil in the mix too.
This has now led to my new growth inspired paper sculptures that I am including in my up-coming exhibition. They are of those same juvenile eucalypt leaves that are everywhere on my walks and that come and go with a little light in my oil paintings too. The ones that look almost like little balloons in the bush. They hold such positivity for me but also make me think of fighting for life … when those epicormic sprouts appear after stresses like fires and drought. I couldn’t help myself but make gum nut bowls too – loads of them from clay moulds that I have sculpted. It took me to make about 100 before I got the mix right – well I think it’s almost right. I was searching for some fragility and lightness and maybe a little transience too.