Since leaving Tasmania, where I was born, I have lived on the fringes. Travelling and working in the UK, I’ve stayed in a barge moored under Tower Bridge, an isolated long barn in Wales, in sheds, garages, boats, tents, unfinished houses.
My living conditions have made me strong, resilient and what is considered ‘alternative’.
After twelve years of leading a normal work life, I was bumped off course by my partner Mike. Mike and I set sail on our self made wooden yacht, Madoc. We lived aboard for six years but the beautiful white beaches and islands do get boring.
On our return we built an off grid straw bale house which we sold and moved to where I am now. Sadly Mike died shortly after the move, leaving me in a 5 x 3m shed, heartbroken and contemplating building my house.
My journey to where I am now, back in Tasmania, has been one of major upheavals, great adventures and led me to a place where I'm very happy to be: a dweller on the edge of this island in my bush block with views of the beautiful channel.
My workshop is a fabulous space; virtually a sculpture, soft, strawbale. An honest space as it has never been finished, straw sticking through wall, one section with no render, other sections with one coat, others with two.
It's filled to the brim with all sorts of materials, tiles, clay, concrete, clock parts and also Mike's boat building materials and tools, copper nails, bronze screws.
It's all very eclectic which is the nature of my artform. Behind my workshop there are crates and crates of colour co-ordinated crockery - in years to come I can imagine archeologists digging down into the earth and finding my 'midden'.
I am an art school drop out so I came into my art form with no rules...elaborate isolation makes my style uniquely my own.
I started on my mosaic pathway simply because I wanted to have a beautifully tiled bathroom after six years living on the boat, where a bucket was my bathroom. Mike bought me a book on how to mosaic - trouble is I instantly went into sculpture, birds, native animals, public walls and more birds. I would love to be reincarnated as a bird.
I mosaic, sculpt, weld, draw, make my own feathers, hairs or tiles by hand with clay. I've taught myself how to fire them in the kiln and combine with smalti, tiles, plates, glass, bullet shells, anything I can find.
Learning constantly by mistakes and making wonderful discoveries as I have no formal training means nothing prevents me from going forward.
So often my commissions are acts of love and surprise gifts. It is such a joy to be part of that process, the engagement with people and seeing the obvious surprise and pleasure of the receiver of that gift.
I am slowly building my home which is a solar passive, strawbale house. I am very pleased to have no lines in or out, water from the sky, power from the sun - don't know if wireless internet counts.
I live on one hundred acres of native bush which has a covenant on 94 of them for rare and endemic plants. This and the surrounding bush is an ideal habitat for a multitude of birds.
Close to nature, being aware of my place in the world and my footprint. I feel like a pioneer, wild frontiers woman...
I love working on my art so much that it tends to take over my life a bit. It's taking me longer to build my house than I thought and it'd be nice to have a shower inside the house - showers in winter are a bit challenging.
My dream is to sit in my workshop, with my home completed, making what pieces I want with a list of people waiting and hoping to purchase what I am currently working on - while I contemplate taking a long, hot, indoor shower.
Photography by Lara van Raay.