Having been an advocate for inclusion and collaboration in the arts for many years and having just completed a four year position as Regional Arts Development Manager for Accessible Arts, NSW where I had facilitated many artists groups across NSW, it was a great opportunity and a privilege to be involved as a member of the Epicormia Collective. The timing was perfect!
The opportunity to work with the other collective artists who were all known to me and to have a shared passion and goal to work towards in the form of the exhibition at the Northern Rivers Community gallery was fantastic. Having regular meetups, a facebook page and access to all of the member’s emails meant that there was always someone on hand to guide the process or just simply to touch base. This was particularly important for me as I had to move states and completely change my life to take on a full time caring role for my blind mother half way through the process of working with the collective!
Ultimately this period of great change drove my final artwork as I had to be able to fit time for my practice in with my caring role. I began to work in a very different way and with a different medium (embroidery) than I had in the past. This allowed me to push and extend my arts practice and the flexibility of the collective allowed for this.
This new way of working has also brought great opportunities that extend beyond the collective. My final work, an artist book entitled ‘Remember the Milk’ was recently shortlisted and subsequently acquired in the prestigious Manly acquisitive Artist Book Award. This artist book was constructed as a part of the exhibition work shown at the Northern Rivers Community Gallery alongside my Epicormia Collective peers.
The opportunities that a collective allows such as to share work in progress and images along the way, to get regular feedback from the group, to work at our own pace and without pressure was invaluable as was the sharing of our individual stories and ways of working. Getting to know the collective members and sharing our collective knowledge of the arts and arts practice gave way to a shared vision, which resulted in a successful and innovative exhibition that proved to be one of the most popular exhibitions at the Northern Rivers Community gallery.
Having the capacity through funding to have an artist website created as a part of this opportunity was invaluable as a sustainable initiative of the project and I thank my website designer Oliver Shaw for his capacity to share my vision in designing the website I imagined.
It was very important to have a long lead time (about 18 months) to work towards the exhibition. All artists work in very different ways and this lead time allowed for visioning, process, reflection, blog writing, regular meetups and website development. My personal vision to have a society where access to the arts is available to all is assisted greatly by projects such as this one and I would like to thank everyone involved in making this project a success. Arts NSW, Accessible Arts, Northern Rivers Community Gallery, individuals too numerous to mention but most importantly the other artists, Paul Andrew, Scott Trevelyan, Marion Conrow, Jeremy Hawkes and Julianne Zoviar Clunne. The passion and rigor of all of these artists is amazing.
For the daily inspiration I thank my mum whose capacity to shine in the face of adversity and disability astounds and humbles me.