Shop:: Trees 4 the Wood
Owner + Designer :: Grace
Where is your studio located?
My studio is in the centre of our house - it used to be the dining room but was converted to a studio a few years ago. It's temporary and I'm happy to have it in the centre of the house while I still have young children. Our property in south eastern Tasmania is called Swallows Nest Farm. Tasmania is the southern-most state of Australia and is known for its natural beauty and clean environment. We grow proteas and native cut flowers on our farm. Our local town is called Nubeena, which means "crayfish" in aboriginal. It is a sleepy sea-side town with a history of fishing and apple growing. We also have an amazing amount of convict history in our area, and because of that and the natural beauty, it is a tourist destination. My studio windows face west across the bay and I am spoilt for views!
How did you get started in your craft + what inspires you?
I have always made things. I have done 4 years of art college and have had exhibitions of painting, sculpture, collage and ceramics. I wouldn't have said linocuts were one of my talents, but I have always enjoyed doing them. My brother did a lot of linocuts when I was a little girl, and it just seemed right. When my baby was young, I needed a creative outlet that wasn't too challenging so I did a few small linocuts of birds and made them into cards for friends and family. They really were the beginning of my etsy store. Linocuts then got under my skin! I love instagram, and was inspired to do some linocuts of some of my instagram photos, depicting local scenes. I have really enjoyed these and am always really thrilled when people across the world want to buy a little piece of my world. I am inspired by the natural environment - its everywhere I look. I love the light and how it changes the look of the landscape. I love the colours that change throughout the year. I love the textures, shapes, and colours of the landscape and the weathered quality of the outdoors. All the subjects of my work are directly inspired by what I see - I think the authenticity of that is important to me.
What are the top 3 tools that are most important in your craft?
Currently, my linocarving tool, my printing baren and my watercolour paintbrushes. I mainly use the one lino carving tool - my trusty "v" tool. I enjoy carving the lino - the blocks are quite beautiful. I use traditional silk-cut lino, not the new plastic kind. I love the smell, and I just find it gives a better print. My printmaking baren is a traditional japanese tool and I use the "old style" made from a disc covered with a leaf. I have worn out two and am currently on my third. The baren is used to transfer ink from the lino block onto the paper. I do all my printing by hand and don't use a press. The "low-tech" approach appeals to me. I hand colour all my linocuts with watercolour so my watercolour brushes are really important to me. I have favourites that are soft and put the paint on just the way I like it. They are always on my desk in a jar.
What's a typical day in the studio like?
I wish I had a typical day in my studio, but at this point in my life, nothing ever manages to be "typical". I dream of having hours of uninterrupted time where I am able to begin and complete a task in one go! But the nature of life with 5 children and a farm to work on, as well as taking care of my youngest daughter who has significant health problems means that I snatch time here and there. I always have a number of projects on the go so that when I find myself with time to spare, I am able to pick it up and keep working. Linocuts are great with this way of working because there are lots of stages in the process and I can do a little here and there. I love to have music playing when I'm alone, but I also love the quiet. And cups of tea at regular intervals is a must. In the corner of the studio is a little desk for my daughter. She keeps herself busy cutting, pasting and making "cwaft" while I am busy too.
What are the greatest rewards of creating something that is handmade?
Making things for me is just part of life. I find great satisfaction in having an idea and seeing it through to completion. And of course, its such a thrill to find that people want to buy what I make! There have been times when I have been unable to make things with my hands, but I am always happier when I can get in and express myself visually in some way. It creates mess, takes time, and household chores don't always get done, but its what I do - its who I am.