Monday, 18 June 2018

paper on skin - Winner 2018!!

Ellie Simpson modelling Lichen Morphology. Photo: grantwellsphoto
Those of you who follow me on social media will be familiar with a lot of this, so please bear with me! On Friday night I had been sitting on the couch, fully aware that my work was on the catwalk in paper on skin, in Burnie, Tasmania, feeling edgy, and trawling Pinterest for yet more images of lichen and fungus, when I received a phone call from the showcase to inform me that I was the winner of this biennial event! I do believe I gasped in excitement!! For the next 10 minutes I was kept on the phone for a 'live-cross' when the announcement was actually made - this was hilarious, as I could understand nothing - it sounded like I was in a fish bowl. It was all a bit surreal.
Isolda, 2014
Lichen Morphology was created by dismantling the structure of Isolda into pieces, 5 of which were used. Using tissue paper from Reverse Garbage, I spent days covering them in papier maché, then spray painting with silver, gold and black, ending up with a lovely silvery wood colour. I was inspired by 2 photos in particular of lichen found on my travels - one in Hamilton NZ, the other in Port Arthur, Tasmania. The inspiration from these never got resolved in my Morphology exhibition in 2011, so it was good to be able to go back to it. With a requirement to be 80% paper, I had to look sideways from my usual textile materials, but found  a happy medium in silk paper, which I wet and ironed into individual 'lichen', coloured with glitz sprays, singed a little with a heat gun, crinkle ironed, free-motion embroidered (hand dyed crochet thread in the bobbin), and sewed on pieces of dyed and painted silk cocoons, before stitching onto the armature itself. Phew!

Photo: grantwellsphoto
Photo: grantwellsphoto
Photo: grantwellsphoto

I also re-used Isolda's shoes. Then I thought about the fact that someone was going to have to wear this, and that they might want something on underneath the framework, so made a flesh coloured leotard, and printed it with a lino cut of lichen I had made as part of exhibition exploration. Lichen Morphology will be on display with other entries of paper on skin at the Burnie Regional Art Gallery 22 June to 29 July.
The morning after the big news, I hit the road with Matt, accompanying him on a work trip to Coffs Harbour and Casino. Sadly, I am a rubbish car companion, as driving just puts me to sleep -even when I am behind the wheel.... 
We  walked along the beach, discovering along the way a seagull 'Village of the Damned' - so many leg issues!! One limping, one missing, and this dude, with the leg just out airing!!
On Sunday I had a lovely morning walking along the beach, exploring Muttonbird Island, finding the perfect stick to make a staff, and finding a market with something fantastic (unlike recent travels)! I bought myself this present as it was just so appropriate - a beautiful little segment of lichen, fern, and a wee crystal - from Tasmania!! The lichen exhibits the same features which inspired Lichen Morphology, so thank you Wildwood Earth!
Looking back into Coffs Harbour from Muttonbird Island

Many thanks to all at paper on skin - I'm absolutely thrilled - and in particular, my beautiful model, Ellie Simpson.


  1. So thrilled you were a part of 'paper on skin', Svenja. Apologies you had to listen to 'washing machine' static whilst the early announcements were made. You must have wondered what on earth we were doing! Thanks for 'hanging on the telephone', as Deb Harry would say, as it was lovely to have you say a few words. Congratulations, again, Lyndal and the 'paper on skin' team

  2. Hahaaaa - it was hilarious! Such an exciting night for me, and again, my thanks to all involved for making it happen.