Zela Bissett’s works in the exhibition Deeply Felt, at Eumundi’s Wan’din’in Arts Space, show an artist’s journey in reconciling two apparently disparate media – wool felt and cast paper.
The works represent an innovative marriage between plant and animal fibres. The rich colours and textures of wool and silk contrast with the earthy feel of handmade botanical papers, reconciled largely through the intermediary of patient and delicate embroidery.
This exhibition traces the development of Ms Bissett’s relationship with wool felt from her first encounter and early experiments, such as Water Stories, to her recent complex wearable garments with environmental themes including Defender’s Vest and Rainbow Warrior.
Ms Bissett’s journey with handmade botanical papers occurred concurrently with her exploration of felting. After being introduced to making paper from cooked and beaten plant fibres, Ms Bissett discovered she could use her skills as a clay worker to make clay masters of low-relief sculptures and cast the reverse image in plaster.
When the newly formed paper sheet is pressed into such a plaster mould, the paper takes the forms of the mould in a permanent manner, and with surprising strength. In works such as Song of the Seasons, multiple iterations of the same mould can be seen, individualised by the use of different plant fibres and decorative treatments, combined by the woollen felted background of rich greens.
See Ms Bissett’s work this at Wan’din’in at the rear of Discover Eumundi Heritage and Visitor Centre, until July 29.