Meet the talented Instructors from Australia
Michelle De Groot
Hi, I would like to introduce myself, my name is Michelle de Groot, I've in rural Victoria near Ballarat
on a 70 acre hobby farm. I have a studio to work in which is 14 x 6mt in length and width.
I have been sewing since I was a child, all sorts of projects from latch hook rugs to tapestries and
cross stitches, at school and at home I was taught how to sew clothing and make my own
clothes from patterns and home made patterns that my mother and I had changed to suit my
height, being 6 foot tall has its disadvantages when growing up :)
While in town I saw a patchwork shop and walked in amazed at the lovely quilts on display and
thought straight away, “I can do this”. And I did. I started like most people with the basics, early
on sewing my quilts together by hand piecing and hand quilting. I then progressed to machined
sewing as I realised I wasn't going to live long enough to make all the wonderful things I wanted
After realising I had found a new love and addiction, I then wondered how I was going to quilt
them, hadn't tried that part of it at that point! So I started taking classes and practiced a lot at
home and after 4 years of constant practice I began to quilt my own quilts, saving me a fortune!
Once this was achieved, me being the forever wanting a challenge, I decided to try my hand at
textile arts. And WOW did I love that! I then set about learning and learning and learning, making
sure I didn't miss anything, always striving to be better at what I was doing. Once I found myself
at a point where I had found my niche I then decided, after many people asking me to teach
them to do what I did, that it was time to start teaching what I had learnt over many years.
And here I am today, a textile artist, professional quilter, artist and tutor in my own right!
Michelle de Groot
After retiring from nursing after 30 plus years working in the operation theatre. My next door neighbour asked me to come to her card making class and that’s where the past 15 years has taken me, into papercraft!Over the past many years I have designed and made greeting cards to sell and taught weekly classes from our studio in card making. I now design and make cards for weddings, birthdays and holidays on consignment. I also make paper tags for marketing our pottery, paper boxes and teach at a scrapbooking shop in Newcastle. With Bobbi Oliver’s encouragement I now make voodoo dolls from fabric transferring my love of colour and texture into fabric that we sell in our stall at Psychic Fairs. I look forward to introducing you to the wonderful world of papercraft.
| I am a West Australian based, mixed media artist and teacher who has been creating since I was a child. My desire to create and my inspiration has always been from the visual way I see the world I live in.|
Enjoying the process of making art is of uppermost importance - the bonus is the positive response my work has on others. Art dolls allow me the freedom to create without boundaries and the opportunity to use all those little things I have collected over the years! I strongly encourage my students to reuse and recycle where they can and base many of my designs around this principle. With a few tools and some clay, you can make almost anything!
The past few years I have taken steps further into the world of painting as well as workshop/ gallery dolls. I find the mixed media world is such a happy place to be for a tactile person. Colour is paramount to my work and I find that the basic principles transcend all mediums and make the journey so much richer.
I hope that the passion for what I do can inspire others to follow their own creative journey...and if I can do that, then I have achieved something worthwhile!
Bunbury, WA 6230 Australia
I see myself as a creator and connector; an artist and a teacher. Ultimately most of what I do is about celebrating life and connecting people with their inner creative voice. I know that hearing and responding to that voice transforms and empowers. I see it regularly in my classes and in my work as a mentor with women involved with Samunnat Nepal, a project for women escaping domestic violence.
For over twenty years my primary medium has been polymer although I often combine it with other materials. Every day I learn more about the potential of polymer and I am endlessly delighted by its possibilities in terms of colour, form, texture and function. I love to make art that tells stories and promotes mindfulness. Or that just makes you feel gorgeous.
I have taught in locations as diverse as outback Australia and eastern Nepal; and in classes ranging from single day workshops, six week programs to four day creativity retreats. I teach in Nepal twice each year and, having recently moved to Canberra, will teach locally from my studio.
I presented at the IPCA Conference in Malta in 2014 and have contributed to The Polymer Arts magazine, The Bead Society Journal (UK) and am featured in Polymer Clay: Global Perspectives by Cynthia Tinapple. My work is exhibited in various galleries and my first solo exhibition was held in 2013 at the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery. I teach not as one with all the answers but as one who lives the questions. And as one for whom too much jewellery is hardly enough.
| Having taught mixed media and polymer and metal claying at various art centres for many years (Fremantle Art Centre WA, Grafton NSW Artfest, Bribie Island Qld Community Arts, McGregor Arts Retreat Qld, Bellingen NSW Camp Creative, Territory Craft Katherine NT and the Contemporary Craft Retreat in Canberra) and involving herself with personal growth throughout her life, Mel has the technical experience and warm communication skills needed to be a good teacher. Her positive energy helps stretch people’s creativity, technical skills and artistic abilities.|
“We are ALL creative. Producing beautiful, unique work is just a matter of having the right tools and instructors and getting out of your head! Oh…and practice. The more you do it, the better you become and the easier it is to ‘be in the zone’. Being creative is so good for the soul.”
Mel exhibited in The Great Southern Art Trail of WA and at specialty Art and Bead Shops. Creative Beading magazine and Australian Beading magazine regularly featured her tutorials and her mokume gane pendant featured on the front cover of Australian Beading magazine.
Mel is a free spirit and has lived and travelled extensively around Australia and throughout the world. She plans to continue and will be soaking up the beauty that is Australia, in “Snoopy’, her converted Hiace Campervan, teaching classes as she goes.
From early life I have held a fascination for the Natural World. It is through my art making that I express my sense of wonder and awe at this exquisite organism. In many ways I work with the products of this earth. Pigments, wood, paper, resins, dyes, fire, inks and wax all form my tools for creativity. Sometimes it seems I am carving and moulding my internal environment to make it visible to the outside world.
As I age, it is my wish to expose the beauty of the weathered surface. Texture forms a major part of the work and the fascination to reveal this wonder continues.
Most of my work has a microcosmic/macrocosmic look about it, somehow familiar from either through a microscope or from the air. Whether the work is Painting, Printmaking or Encaustics, this truth shows through. “As above, so below”.
Janice has been creating Art Dolls and sculptures for several years at her previous Victorian studio and most recently in her new studio "STONECREST CREATIONS" at Murrumbateman just north of Canberra. Her work has been featured in several National and International Craft and Art magazines. Over the years Janice has worked with all sorts of mediums, including Paverpol, Apoxie Sculpt, Makins Clay and Polymer Clay to name a few, however recently Pal Tiya and ceramic Clay have been favoured.
Over the past couple of years "Gourd Art" has started to feature and been included in her designs. Gourd Art is becoming popular in Australia and Pyrography, (wood burning), is an enjoyable and satisfying form of art. "It is important to know how to prepare and use the gourd" Janice says.
Janice feels very humbled to be invited again to join all these talented ladies at the Contemporary Craft Retreat, Canberra. It is probably the highlight of my craft year to be able to teach and also learn, surrounded by so many talented people.... "it is wonderful and such fun"!!
A Certified Instructor for Paverpol, a Gold Seal member of NODAAA and also the CCIP (Contemporary Clay Instructor Program).
This dynamic and exciting contemporary clay artist continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in the contemporary clay world. Senior CCIP and Paverpol Instructor; Diamond Gold Seal NODAAA Member based in
Being self- taught, the minimal training leaves her free to approach clay sculpting with no preconceptions as to how it ought to be used.
Her tutorials and amazing work have featured in multiple publications including the Australian Doll and Bear News and Dolls Bears and Collectables, Australian Beading Magazine and the USA Publication Polymer Café, Mixed Media & Steampunk magazine.
Arts and crafts have always been a passion of mine, for as long as I can remember, but I lost touch with it until the late 1990's, where I re-established my love of all things crafty as a form of therapy. I quit the IT industry and established my craft and wedding stationery business and I also taught within the mental health industry teaching various crafts as therapy to help patients find a sense of self again after illness or major personal trauma.
I work with mixed media and find inspiration in everything I see and do and some of my favourite mediums are Friendly Plastic, Angelina Fibres and Tyvek. Some of the things I make are funky wonky clocks, photo frames, mirrors, cards and jewellery.
| Throughout her life Bronny has enjoyed dressmaking and clothing design with a keen interest in free machine embroidery, crochet, and knitting. Other crafts she has dabbled in include paper weaving, silk painting and collage.|
A chance meeting at a workshop with an old boarding school buddy, Lex Sorrentino, introduced me to Paverpol. It took a couple of years before I came back to it after this but have been enjoying using Paverpol and clay and in 2018 bought the Paverpol Australia business.
Pam, a former high school art teacher and Art Lecturer at TAFE College, helped in the development of the national certification program, the CCIP or Contemporary Clay Instructor Program and is a Senior Instructor and a Precious Metal Clay Level 1 Artisan. Her work has been published extensively in Quilting Arts & Australian Beading Magazines, Polyformer, Encyclopaedia of Polymer Clay Techniques by Sue Heaser, Mixed Metal Jewelry and The Handbook of Metal Clay, Textures and Forms by Hadar Jacobson and Textiles Now by Drusilla Cole.
Pam has attended the International Polymer Clay Synergy Conferences in Malta 2014 and Bordeaux 2016. She also taught polymer clay classes in the UK and Greece.
In 2017 Pam presented a paper on Metal Clay at the Borneo International Bead conference, as well as teaching classes.
Pam lives in the coastal town of Two Rocks, just north of Perth, where she holds weekend retreats and studio workshops and classes.
Bobbi Oliver has been making her original one of a kind Art Dolls for 16 years. Prior to doll making she was a potter/sculptor. She started working in ceramic clay at age 16 in school. She has had various gallery shows in the USA and Australia. Sold her wares in shops, galleries and from her own studio. She currently sells her creations at festivals and fairs here in AU. In the past owned and operated her own gallery/studio.
She is an American artist that came to Australia in 1999 to live and work. Bobbi was active in the local Arts Council, a government funded organisation in Lakeport, California. She is currently the president of the Tuggerah Lakes Potters Assoc. in NSW. She currently teaches pottery, sculpture and doll making in the TLPA studio and other facilities.
She has an Associated Arts degree in Fine Art from Mendocino Junior College in Ukiah, California 1988 and a Bachelors of Arts Degree from Humboldt State University, Arcata, California in Studio Art with an emphasis in Sculpture in 1992.
She is a Member of Gumnut Dollies- Newcastle
Tuggerah Lakes Potters Association-Long Jetty
She has been Featured in-
Dolls, Bears and Collectables plus Patchwork and Stitching.
LARA LE REVEUR
I was born in New Zealand grew up in Canberra. I now live with a menagerie of pets and boys in the Macedon Ranges, which is very similar in climate to what I call ‘Home’.I have been involved with the Arts and Crafts movement at some level for most of my life, as I grew up the youngest member of an actively creative family. I worked for 13 years in the family business where we taught porcelain dollmaking and other associated crafts. During that time I was lucky enough to have had exposure to several excellent sculpting teachers, which is my preferred method of expression. I also traveled to the US to study antique doll conservation and restoration.
In early 2014 I returned to the US and completed two Metal Clay accreditation programs.
At present I divide my creative time between fabricating small run or one of a kind objects and jewellery using contemporary clays and teaching classes in base metal, precious metal and polymer clay.
2015 was a particularly exciting year for me as I attended the Borneo International Bead Conference to lecture and run polymer clay workshops. Sarawak, Borneo, is one of the most fascinating places that I have ever visited and there I met many interesting historians and archaeologists who have kindled my interest in looking at the bead as an object with much more significance than being purely decorative.
WILMA SIMMONS having a break in 2020
I am a mixed media and textile artist because what I do makes me happy and ‘reminds me that I have a soul.’ It took me a long time to take up an art practice as I worked in a diverse range of jobs before settling to school teaching and administration as a career. I think we are all born artists but it takes some of us longer to develop and in my case, not until my “retirement” in 2005.
Some of the artistic highlights of the last few years have been:
My art works are “handmade treasures”, inspired by special people, interesting places, my Asian heritage and multicultural literature. I like working with a mix of materials, especially naturally found and recycled objects. New works evolving from my message stick art dolls currently monopolize my time as I complete a very large installation related to local Newcastle history.
I hope that my art celebrates diversity, with a harmonious mixture of techniques, materials and ideas and will encourage others to create.