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Creative ties – Artist Profile: Melissa Carey

Artist Melissa Carey has long loved drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. As a 12 year old she had her first jewellery stall. An art school graduate in hometown Perth, she worked for a while in the corporate sector but soon realised the office environment was not a healthy space for her. Three years ago she moved to Sydney where she has established her own creative business. From her share-space studio in Alexandria, Melissa conducts workshops in candle-making, printing and macrame. She enjoys festival work and volunteer work within the arts scene, as well as commissions large and small. Next month she hopes to complete an art residency in Berlin.

Melissa Carey in her Alexandria studio   Photo: Simon Ward Images
Melissa Carey in her Alexandria studio   Photo: Simon Ward Images

“Last year I really made a commitment to build up my business and to follow my passions in teaching and art,” Melissa says. “I find it very therapeutic, and I enjoy working alongside other artists and craftspeople, working on something together.”

Macrame was extremely popular in the 1960s and 70s, Melissa explains, with origins in the 13th century. “In parts of Africa, macrame techniques were used to make tassels on camel saddles. Sailors made macrame nets for their sails and sheaths for their knives.”

Melissa’s own style is contemporary, “clean-cut and modern” – making use of recycled t-shirt yarn and hand-dyed rope. “I also have a passion for sustainable art practice and lifestyle,” she says.

“In the macrame workshops participants learn the basic knots. There are three, with variations, and people learn them very quickly. Then they can go on to experiment, making use of other elements such as driftwood.”

Melissa recently completed a large installation commissioned by swimwear company Seafolly. “The installation featured window displays in five stores around Australia,” the artist says. “I used hand-dyed cotton yarn to present a coral-themed piece.”

The art residency in Berlin will mean opportunity to share skills and gain new knowledge and experience. Melissa aims to create an installation within an art space. “It’s a quirky space with indoor caravans and a beautiful garden,” she says. The one-week residency will be short but focused, and involve volunteers in the community. “I’ll source local materials,” Melissa says, “and give consideration to scale and colour. It will be something site-specific.”

A crowd-funding campaign to cover costs of accommodation, materials, tools and time has so far generated $1,500. Melissa’s target is $3,000 by July 31. Supporters are invited to make a pledge and, if they wish, to select a “reward” from a list of personalised items including hand-dyed rope, small macrame wall hangings, hand-drawn illustrations and lace dream-catchers (https://pozible.com/project/art-residency-opportunity-berlin).

www.melissacarey.com.au

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