Dynamic textures Words by Gareth Hart and Michele Fountain Michele Fountain, of Metafour studio is a dynamic artist. It shows in her brightly coloured and textured studio at Burrinja. Big, bold weavings adorn the wall, sitting softly next to some delicate printmaking experiments, and further down the creative rabbit hole we discover poetry, text, fabric, copper and wire art! Michele has been in residence as a Burrinja Studio Artist for the past two years and 2017 is shaping up to be a big year for her. After the flurry of Dandenong Ranges Open Studios, and on the eve of two fairly large projects about to launch, I asked Michele to tell us a little more about it all. Where did your creative journey start for you? I started as a handweaver, with a short course at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria years ago. I loved everything about the process of creating cloth and that craft remained my main focus for about five years. It’s down to the support and encouragement of the arts community people like CJ Baxter who ran Limerance, and Jessie Yvette Journoud-Ryan - who gently nudged me away from thinking of ‘my hobby’ and started me thinking of my art. Handweaving is still my go-to skill, and I still make wearable textiles, but more often my weaving is part of an art piece these days.
Who is your greatest inspiration? David Bowie. In my personal philosophy, art should create space in the world. It should let at least some of the people who encounter it breathe a little deeper, find some more room to move in their lives. Bowie pushed boundaries his entire artistic life and he didn’t care if anyone understood what he was doing - he was making space and the kind of space he made let me live. His breadth as an artist is astounding. Your practice seems to constantly evolve with new creative interests – why do you suppose this is? Was there a catalyst for this? I’m like the Elephant’s Child in the Just So Stories - insatiably curious. Every new skill I pick up helps me push my ideas forward, and not always in the way that skill was intended to be used! Do you see a link between your textile work, your printmaking and your photography?
Texture is my first love, and I think that shows up in everything I do. (This week it’s copper sculpting.) Can you tell us about your upcoming group show? Jessie Yvette Journoud-Ryan, Amy Duncan and I are presenting a show in the Burrinja Gallery -