Our New Challenge

Out of My Comfort Zone

Out of My Comfort Zone

Luna Cameron-Parrish describes how her ideas evolved

It’s safe to say that many, if not most, of my initial ideas for the Melbourne: Our Creative Heart project never made it to fruition.

That’s not unusual for me – I generally expect that the evolutionary process of making art will necessarily involve some natural selection and some culling along the way! The difference here was the collaborative aspect of the project.

Creativity Cluster artist Luna Cameron-Parrish

The collaborative process

It was at times challenging, but always interesting and thought-provoking, to see how the other artists interpreted the many ideas we had. We honed and refined those concepts over time, to create something cohesive. The many conversations I’ve had with everyone over the past year has been the most valuable part of the process. This realisation is manifested in the first piece I created: I Reflect You Reflect Me.

I Reflect You Reflect Me, using mirrors, silhouettes and mosaic

The evolution of an idea

Melbourne’s coffee culture appealed to me right from the outset. It not only became a fun material to experiment with, but was often a part of our group meetings. Some group members started collecting coffee cups for me, which I took apart and laid out to display their designs and textures.

I made up pots of coffee in various strengths and experimented with dyeing paper, then used different dilutions as a paint. Lindsay Hussey took one of these pieces and cut it up to play with the various patterns.

Burlap coffee sacks became background material and coffee beans became the inspiration as well as the defining feature of a new muse.

Arches made from deconstructed paper coffee cups
Painting with coffee
Coffee Muse

Experiments that didn’t make it

There is quite a big difference between starting with a concept and experimenting to see how you can manifest it, versus experimenting with a material purely to see what you can do with it. They are both interesting processes.

I wanted to create a bas-relief of my hands, because I so enjoy the physical act of making. It was much harder than I thought it would be!

I tried polymer clay cut-outs, then imprinting into plaster of Paris, but neither gave me the result I was after. Next it was some trial and error with casting agents: silicone, plaster bandage and alginate.

The best results were attained by submersing my hands into alginate and then using plaster of Paris. This gave me hands with the best detail, although they were more 3-D than I had originally envisaged.

The final work displays the polymer clay and the plaster hands. I can’t honestly say that I was altogether happy with it, but it does demonstrate the process I went through quite well.

Creativity II: Tying It Together
Silicone hand mould
Alginate hand mould

Art play dates

In contrast, my “art play dates” with Lindsay Hussey and Penny Sharples were all about experimentation and fun. We had no attachment to any preconceived outcome.

The first sessions involved the two of them coming to my studio, where we moulded shapes from fibreglass mesh and cement paste. We thought that these might become part of a central installation (they didn’t …).

Lindsay Hussey (left) and Penny Sharples at the studio of Luna Cameron-Parrish
Playing with fibreglass mesh and cement paste

My time at Penny’s house, experimenting with oil and cold wax, yielded some nice results. While not included in the final exhibition, I think they have potential for further development…

Overall, this project has certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone, which ultimately can only be a good thing! I want to thank all the Creativity Cluster members for their contribution and, of course, the City of Melbourne for its support.