I grew up in southern NSW, on the Monaro Tablelands, south of Cooma, so I am a country girl at heart. I went to boarding school when I was 9.
About 1992 I met a school friend who was taking decoupage lessons, the type where you have with a theme, e.g. Clocks or cats etc, so I purchased a book on decoupage, Decoupage, Traditional Techniques and New Directions by Laura Bathala and Stephen Westgarth and tried it out. Working from books can be difficult and as my husband Ken and I lived in the Dooralong Valley, about 1 hour north of Sydney, I felt I needed some classes -- there is nothing like SEEING how to sand or varnish. In a craft magazine I had read an article about Val Lade, with pictures of her beautiful screen, and as luck would have it, I discovered a weekend workshop Val was giving in Sydney. Revelation, fun and I was hooked!
I haunted paper shops, news agencies and magazines, and dare I say it, cut up the odd book, as photocopying was not nearly as perfect as it is now. That first workshop was a group of 12 girls and about 8 of us became good friends, Silvana Natoli, Marlies Benjamin and others, and we worked with each other when we could. We had several workshops with Val Lade and other teachers from Melbourne, formed a Guild and progressed slowly (at least I did) from there.
Ken and I moved to Toowoomba about 9 years ago, and I met Alan Press, a fantastic teacher, who introduced me to many modern products and wonderful ways to use photocopying. Isn't a good photocopy shop a treasure?
The joy of looking at wonderful pieces (our Exhibition at the Museum and the RAS shows at Sydney and Brisbane), being forced to try things and experiment to help some of my friends, gives me pleasure.
I have tried quite a few arts and crafts over the years, lampshade making, POTTERY (ugh, so messy), portrait painting, perspective drawing, but decoupage is my real love and I hope my eyesight and fingers last forever.