Coochiemudlo Island artist shows how pest plants can be turned into smashing art pieces

ART IN PROGRESS: Coochiemudlo Island artist Jacqui Cresswell at work.

ART IN PROGRESS: Coochiemudlo Island artist Jacqui Cresswell at work.

A COOCHIEMUDLO Island artist is turning exotic weeds into works of art.

Jacqui Cresswell has lived on Coochie for almost 14 years, a period which has seen her passion for fibre art blossom.

“I started using natural fibres when I arrived here on Coochiemudlo Island because so much of it was landing in my garden from palms and trees,” Ms Creswell said.

“Many years ago I had worked briefly with cane and finding the local vines and plants brought back the desire to weave.

“I weave with mainly natural fibres which I source locally. That’s why I call myself a fibre artist. I also call myself a basket weaver but because I also do sculptural pieces, sometimes I am referred to as a fibre artist.”

Jacqui collects vines that are declared weeds like morning glory, corky passion vine and cat’s claw vine. She also uses garden prunings such as jasmine and grape vine. 

“The palm inflorescence [flowering stem] is abundant here and is lovely to weave with,” she said. “I also use stuff like washed-up rope, wire and even recycled plastic bags. Mostly I source from my local environment here on the island.”

The structures and lines of her raw materials and their varied textures inspire the making of her pieces as does nature itself. 

“The local vines themselves twist and turn around the trees creating wonderful woven shapes,” she said. “I gather in the local bush and seeing the beauty but also the messiness of nature also acts as inspiration.

“The finding and collecting of materials has brought me closer to nature and made me look more closely and walk more slowly. 

“Birds and spiders, of course, are nature’s best weavers and they too provide inspiration.”

Ms Creswell runs weaving workshops – random weave, melon/ribbed basket, basic twining and string making – and at the Coochie Handmade Expo on Saturday, March 11, at the island’s Red Rock Café, she will share string-making basics with customers.

“Weaving workshops show different techniques and people can experiment with many different fibres and plant materials to create a woven basket, wall hanging or sculptural piece.

“I have found weaving to be therapeutic, meditative and healing and I hope that people who do my workshops have a taste of this plus enjoyment and fun.

“Weaving together in a group is a beautiful way to be together and has probably gone on for thousands of years in most countries of the world.

“It is reviving an ancient craft with ties to a simpler and more in-touch-with-nature lifestyle which is a change from our plastic throwaway society of today.”

Island artisans will join Jacqui at the expo, including ceramicists Denise and Viv Wright, bead artists Elissa and Trish of Bay Island Beads and silversmith Richard Moon.

Massage and beauty therapist Emma Flanagan of Organic Simplicity will sell her beauty products and gift vouchers.

For more information contact Michael on 0400 977 816.