Thursday, May 2, 2013

Makers Part 7


My next maker lives in my neighbourhood - Meredith has just started selling her work on etsy at her shop MeredithMallin and blogs about her artful life. I couldn't go past her vibrant bright and complex pictures when I found her on etsy and her thoughts about her work, I think resonates with many artists.

Can you tell me a little about your background?
I am an artist and a teacher living in the busy inner west of Sydney – in Marrickville – with my partner, Andy, and our two dogs! I grew up in the quiet (and cold!) of the Blue Mountains before moving to Sydney 7 years ago. I currently work in a beautiful preschool 4 days a week - Bambini House is a place that inspires me every single day. When I’m not teaching, one blissful day a week (and every other chance I get), I spend my time in my studio. Other loves of mine include days spent soaking up golden rays in the park or on the beach, long honest and inspired chats with tea (who doesn’t love that?), laughing, ‘old’ things, peoples stories, random adventures, yoga, collecting and gathering all kinds of *stuff* (yes, I’m a bit of a hoarder at times) and just be-ing.


What do you make?

 What attracted you to this particular medium? How did you get started?

I make a combination of mixed-media artworks and acrylic paintings on canvas or wood panel. As I’ve learnt to step out bravely, facing fears and painting through them again and again, I’ve begun to wake my own creativity. My artworks unfold, evolve and transform through layer after layer after layer. Each layer is created fluidly, from a deep place of intuition and heart, allowing expression and imagery to emerge from a place of connectedness and my own inner truths. This is a process of continual renewal and trust.


I’m not sure what initially attracted me to painting - I think in some ways it became almost meditative to me. I’ve always been drawn to art – my earliest memories of Preschool and Kindergarten are of easel painting (in fact, I have clear memories of getting upset because I was asked to stop painting when I wasn’t finished!). At school, I studied art for my HSC, with my major work made up of drawing and mixed-media pieces. After finishing school, though, art was something I only really ‘dabbled’ in sporadically. A little over 2 years ago I was re-inspired and motivated to pick up a paintbrush again when I happened to pick up an artist magazine that featured an article about Donna Heart, from W.A. After reading a little about her story, I gradually began to listen to my own creative spirit...and I’ve been slowly spreading my wings since.

How does your practice fit in with your everyday life? Do you have your own studio space and when do you work and where?

I’m so lucky to have the opportunity this year to have an entire day a week dedicated to painting. This was the result of a decision I made in May last year (whilst on an art & yoga retreat in Bali) that I needed to make my creative spirit and painting a bigger priority, and this involved taking the step to make more time and space for it. This all fell into place in a matter of weeks after returning home – the Universe was at work responding to my willingness to just take a step forward. My painting process is very aligned to my everyday life, so I feel that there is really just a continuation between living and painting that occurs naturally.


Until only very recently I had transformed our spare room into a studio. It was here I began facing my deeper fears and breaking through waves of resistance and doubt…where I began to nurture and cultivate trust in my own process. Only a few weeks ago I moved into a shared art studio space close to home – Scratch Art Space. I'm looking forward to seeing what unfolds here over the next few months!

What are the best and worst aspects about working with this medium? 

I work mostly with golden acrylics (I love the fluid acrylics). This medium is so rich and vibrant and layers perfectly. They are also an excellent medium to use in mixed media pieces as they have varying degrees translucency. I also use a combination of other mediums and materials – pastels, markers, masking fluid, textural mediums, paper, natural materials, and inks are definitely another favourite. 

Who or what inspires you?

It was through Donna Heart that I first heard about other artists such as the lovely Flora Bowley, Kelly-Rae Roberts and Mati Rose - all of which have been huge inspirations to me. I’m also inspired by Mirka Mora, Margaret Olley, John Wolseley, the Impressionists, and about a hundred others! I’m also inspired, constantly, by the children I work with (you can learn a lot from the pure honesty and rawness of children), nature and it’s abundant beauty. Inspiration comes from all of life’s lessons, and affirmations often find themselves in my work.

Do you get creative blocks? If so, how do you deal with it?

Yes! Creative blocks, resistance, frustration, walls of defiance (my stubbornness often gets in my own way)… these are all such a real part of my painting process (isn’t this so for everyone?). Even though these are not exactly ‘pleasant’ obstacles to encounter, I *try* to see these as turning points. Often it’s when these blocks and obstacles present themselves that I’m forced to make a bold decision. For example, sometimes when I’m being stubborn, and refusing to let go of something on the canvas, this is when I’ll make a brave decision such as adding a new image or new colour to change the direction and to enable me to really let go. Other times, though – perhaps more with creative blocks – I will try to show myself kindness by allowing simplicity or allowing something to just come with ‘ease’. Of course, there are times when none of this works though! This is also why I usually work on multiple artworks at once, that way, when I can’t get out of my own way I can put it gently aside and change my focus. This helps me to keep ‘flowing’ and working through the obstacles. Walks, yoga, affirmations and journaling also help with these moments too and often lead to more clarity.


What other mediums would you love to explore? 

I would also love to explore sculpture – wire and clay, I think! – and also drawing. I have such a resistance to drawing usually, even though there are elements of this in my painting, I find I avoid sitting down to DRAW. I do think opening myself up to this would probably help me to develop my creative practice more and be helpful in working through creative blocks too.


What do you hope to do next with your practice?
My current hopes are to build a wider network and connection with other creative souls and to continue developing my own creative process. I have lots of aspirations – there is honestly endless possibilities that rotate around my mind! (I would LOVE to create a bag with images of my paintings…or cushions? Or Stationary? Cards?). I’d also love to develop a workshop for children sometime – perhaps in the not so distant future (focusing on building strong self-esteem, resilience and connection with the self).

I believe that even though this creative path of mine is only just beginning, that there is no end – it is a wide-open field, always ever expanding, always ready for new possibilities and never-ending room to grow. Most of all I want to keep pushing forward and exploring this vast open place of creative possibility and we’ll see where it takes me.

Thank you Meredith! if you are interested in being featured as a collector or a maker please convo me through my etsy shop evaelena. Don't forget to like my facebook page to keep up with my latest listings and blog posts.

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