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2023 was a year of learning...

16 Feb 2024

The Roman poet Horace coined ‘CARPE DIEM - quam minimum credula postero’ to express the idea that one should enjoy life while one can. It translates to: pluck the day, trusting as little as possible in the next one. Therefore, I’m rejoicing in my 2023 creations, and joyfully summersaulting into this year’s artistic and personal adventures.

Much of my creative focus was learning about the world of sculptural weaving/basketry

Twining, looping, knotting, coiling, random weaving process has opened a new world for me. I attended the National Basketry Association bi-annual conference in Tacoma, Washington. I attended three workshops where New South Wales artist Lissa de Sailles shared her techniques and knowledge.

Basketry has been a way to connect with my community in a physical way. On my travels to Germany I taught my flower loving aunt Gisela (one of the Schnapps Sisters) to make a twined flower. Back in Freo neighbours, Canadian visitors, and longstanding friends, expressed an interest in basket making. Hence, I welcome people to my studio on Fridays

where we weave, talk, laugh, and share basketry techniques, materials, and ideas.

My first exhibited sculptural basketry piece

Everlasting Country was shortlisted for the York Botanic Art Prize 23. I was cuffed to receive the People’s Choice Award. Everlasting Country immerses viewers in the colour and movement of paper flowers swaying in the breeze, symbolising the preciousness and uniqueness of Western Australia’s biodiversity.

I poured my heart and soul into Everlasting Country for three months. And it took a village to deliver the 3.6 meter high installation.  As often happens with my artworks of this scale, labour intensity and timeline, my husband, friends, family, visual arts interns, and service providers provided hands on and moral support. I thank the many who contributed to this whole process.  

Portraiture was another area of creative learning.

I include many characters in my painting – human and animal. And I wanted to strengthen my knowledge around portrait making.

I embarked on a group portraiture class with a WA artist I have admired for years Judy Rogers. I developed a series featuring members of indigenous Taiwanese tribes who posed for me. I was taken by the diversity of across the seven tribes of their facial structure, and traditional headdresses.

Taking care of business

Being a single artist/ businessperson requires many hats. It is not easy to balance my time between the three areas of a successful art practice: making my art; learning/developing new skills/ experimenting with ideas; taking care of the business. 2023 marked 10 years since departing Curtin University as a researcher/teacher/mentor — and reinventing myself as artist. My website was woefully out of date, and it was time to focus on the business side of my practice.

Developing the thrust of my new website was a soul searching, agonizing and time-consuming exercise. Sifting through ideas, artwork, discussions, writing, edited, reediting, refining. Fortunately I didn’t go it unaided — artist mentor Paula Silbert guided me through questions such as: Who do I want to be as an artist when I grow up? What is my brand?

Where do I want to be in three years? How do I convey these things? After seven drafts of the written and visual materials a new website was born.

For insight into how I work, watch video:

Inspirational Novel:

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

This is one of my favourite reads this year.

It’s about animals (my favourite subject), families, connection, and navigating life’s complications.


There’s a smart, wily octopus named Marcellus; a woman looking for connection after the recent loss of her husband; a grocery store owner with a crush; and an adult “lost boy” just looking for somewhere to belong. And they’re all connected by a mystery that only the octopus has been able to solve.

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