Me and my pan: Artsfest tutor, sculptor Kate French, with one of her creations.
Me and my pan: Artsfest tutor, sculptor Kate French, with one of her creations.

Motivation shapes way of art work

A DAY without creativity is a day wasted, according to Grafton Artsfest student Gillian Munday.

The painter, creative writer and jewellery maker from nearby Ashby, joined this year’s jewellery-making workshop to get the creative juices flowing.

“This sort of creativity has a double-edge blade,” she said.

“It is very exciting, but also calming at the same time.”

Port Stephens tutor Val Spenscer-Sun has travelled to the Clarence to share with her students what she has learnt over the past 20 years.

“My mother had an ancient armour piece and I loved it and used to play around with it,” she said.

“In the late 80s I found a picture in a library book of a similar thing and I did everything I could to try and find out how to make it.”

In a desperate bid to make something similar to childhood memories of her mother’s jewellery piece, Val wrote away to museums in England to source instructions on how to create something similar and that’s where her interest in creative work began.

“They sent me close-up photos of a similar piece they had in their museum and put me in contact with a man who showed me how to weave into chains,” she said.

Now mainly focusing on maille chain jewellery-making, Val said she gets her biggest kicks out of teaching her craft and meeting new people.

Meanwhile, across the other side of Grafton High School where the Artsfest workshops are running, professional sculptor Kate French was inspiring students with her art.

The Queensland-based teacher travels the countryside teaching others with similar interest in clay, stone and bronze sculpting techniques.

“I was self-taught,” she said.

“I have learnt purely through interest, experimentation and trials.”

On the road seven months a year, Kate said every classroom had a lesson and she was forever learning new things herself.

With most of her pieces taking six weeks from finish to end, patience is the key.

“It’s about patience and not getting distracted so you can just lose yourself in it,” she said.

“I experiment until something grabs,” Kate said.

The autumn Artsfest will wind up around the Valley tomorrow.

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