I want to provide you with a little insight into my creative process and my life in the studio on the Mornington Peninsula.
When I’m working I always surround myself with things I love that kindle my creative energy – colourful toys, fairy-tale castles, plants, sketches and snippets, essential oils and lots of notepads for ideas. I also immerse myself with constant sound, music, movies or podcasts.
Inspiration can strike at any time – randomly from an experience, an image or a colour I catch around me, often when I least expect it. If I don’t stop and write at least a note or take a photo, the spark can escape as quickly as it arrives – I feel like it floats away, somewhere into the back of my mind. That’s why I always take the time to record those moments of inspiration .
Sometimes ideas come from my daily surroundings. For example, at the end of my street is a long narrow cypress tree – I see it every day as I come and go from home. Behind the cypress is the horizon where the sky meets the sea. The colours are constantly changing, from the silhouette of the cypress against a blazing orange-coral sky, to the muted mauve of the sea in the early morning.
I often catch a glimpse of the tiny yachts, from the local club, drifting between the trees on the bay on the weekend – for me these things are a constant inspiration.
My garden too is both a retreat and a task master. The changing seasons and colour palette is subline. My chickens wander when out on a sunny day, and I love their various quirky characteristics, their colour and textures…there are so many things that I find can bring to my creative process .
My studio sits proudly in a rambling garden, of Edna Walling design, one of Australia’s most influential garden designers, from the 1800 to the 1970’s. My husband and I built the studio ourselves to complement the nature of our tiny cottage, which is modelled after the English arts and crafts movement .
The studio was a labour of love and my very first purpose-built studio, after having worked for years in makeshift studios in garages and storage facilities. I was hands on grinding the flecked concrete floor, and painting and sanding.
My husband and I built me my dream Gothic door, bending the wood and building it from old reclaimed timber. The lock is medieval and imported from England with a magnificent old key, which is too big to lose (thankfully)! We also found some small ruby glass stars in a demolished house, which we used to accent the door.
My work desk looks over the view between the houses to the ever-changing bay. It reminds me of the paintings I always admired of Ken Done’s studio in Sydney, with the bay in view. I feel very lucky every day when I gaze out that window.
It’s my place and I have added all my own touches. I have even carved my name “’Gerry”’ into the concrete slab, with a stick when the concrete was poured. One of the highlights is the glow in the dark stones which I threw into the mix when pouring the concrete, they light up when it gets dark and never cease to bring a smile to my face and bring a touch of magic to the studio in the evenings.
Of course, my pride and joy is my purpose built press, built for me by Melbourne Etching Supplies. I also have an impossibly huge industrial drying rack for my linocuts, which I never thought I would ever fill, but of course do . Finally, a moveable table with glass slabs serves as a palette and an ink rolling area. Large map draws hold my editions.