Saturday, November 14, 2009

FEATURED ARTIST - Tamara Russell

How long have you been creating art and how did you get started?
I’ve been creating art since childhood with handmade mother’s day presents and then learning how to make my own clothes in high school. I learnt how to spin on a summer holiday and from then on have had a passion for all things textile.

What is the main inspiration and influences for your work?The most inspiring thing to me has always been nature. It’s something I will never grow tired of exploring as there’s always something new and incredible to discover. I love taking masses of photographs of landscapes and then using all or part of the images to create my work.

My belief in ensuring that my lifestyle is sustainable has led me to look at ways of ensuring that my practice is environmentally responsible. The majority of my products are made incorporating upcycled or reclaimed materials. Wherever possible additional materials are 100 percent natural and sourced locally.Working with recycled and upcycled items is always an enjoyable challenge and due to the nature of my ‘finds’ this ensures that no two items will ever be the same!

When and how did you realise, this what you wanted to do with your life?I knew there was something else I should be doing with my life when I returned to full time work and now I dream of being able to be a full time textile artist. I currently work part time and find that my textile art is like therapy for me. I love my time spent in the studio - so watch this space!

What other areas of life have shaped your work as an artist?It’s always the simple things in life that are the most inspiring. Things like going for long walks, exploring rainforests, the beach, cloud watching, listening to music, stargazing, visiting antique shops and art galleries, sitting in silence and listening to the noises around me…It all influences my work in some way.
How would you describe the art & design scene in Canberra?

Canberra has some really amazingly talented people. It has really come out of its shell in the last few years and with the, Canberra’s Got Style, Bus Depot market, Canberra Handmade market and now CraftACT shop I find that it’s high quality craft is much more accessible now.

What have you learnt most about establishing yourself as an artist?You have to keep working at it every single day and constantly push yourself to get your work out there. You also realise very quickly that it’s not like a regular 9-5 job. You don’t leave the office in the afternoon and switch from work mode to play mode. You never really get a break from it. Ideas come at three in the morning, or walking the dog or when you’re cooking dinner, whenever and wherever. You have to really love it because it becomes your life.

Where would you like to take your art in the future?
To the National Gallery! Ah just kidding – but I would love more contemporary textile work to be displayed. I would love to be able to walk into stores and see my work on sale all over Australia. But for now it is the markets and working on Canberra outlets.

What advice do you have for other artists hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Believe in yourself, be patient, be honest, be brave and be determined. Also, don’t be deterred by criticism

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