Sandra O.

My Story

I grew up in a family where my mother and grandmother’s textiles were made for both enjoyment and functionality.  My father also worked with his hands and he and my mother turned our back garden into a beautiful and productive place with fruit trees, grape vines, vegetables, chooks and always an abundance of flowers to give and share with others.  There was little waste with items being repaired, reused or recycled.  This influence developed in me a love and appreciation for the role of fabric in daily life, such as clothes, household items, for sleep, work and play, protection from heat and cold, and for celebrations and life passages.  From an early age my siblings and I had piano lessons and regularly competed in the annual eisteddfod.  I also enjoyed singing and elocution lessons.  As a child I was quiet, introvert and shy but felt loved and secure within a happy and loving family.

For many years now I’ve been privileged to live and work with many people both through my husband’s ministry and my work in aged care.  It’s only in more recent years that I’ve undertaken formal study to firstly cement my love and passion for textile art, but also to gain skills and confidence.

The materials I use include fabrics that are old and previously discarded, hand printed, dyed and rusted, and papers and textile throwaways, reflecting a previous use and memories of lives lived.  I’m one of four in a collage group working for an exhibition at the end of this year.  I find that the culture and work ethic in the group provides a good environment and stimulus for me, in that I work on my own for the month and at our monthly meetings receive the feedback, critique and encouragement that enables me to continue working.  I feel inspired as well as disciplined in this environment, but I know that the outcomes are really up to me.

I love fabric, the feel, texture and colour and the effect of stitch and I’m so often surprised with how it all comes together.  I care for and love deeply my family and friends.  My inspiration comes from influences including the passion and skill for all things textile passed on from my mother and grandmother.

It is important for me, in bringing together cloth and ephemera, to create something that reflects some meaning or story.  The exploration and use of techniques and fibres are not only an aim in themselves, but also a way to create a story with them being the vocabulary.