Monday, 5 August 2013

profile cat willow - artist.

artist cat willow

I first discovered Cat Willow after I saw one of her artworks through the windows of homewares store Whitebeach Home & Living which is just down the road from where I live. The black cockatoo painting, with his larger than life elvis style crest, was hard to ignore and so I was inspired to do a little leg work to find who the local artist was who created such a great piece. Instagram is a wonderful thing, before long I'd found Cat and more of her lovely pieces. It is easy to see Cat draws inspiration from her natural surrounds and has a distinct soft spot for birds, as do I. You can find Cat and take a peak at more of her artwork here. Enjoy!

How would you describe yourself?
Quirky, genuine, curious, creative and caring.  

What was your childhood dream?
I hadn't visualised 'being' anything specific when I grew up, however, all I did do and wanted to do was design and create in every possible moment, in whichever way that was! 

What led you down your current path? 
I'm still designing my own life; now I realise that my desire to surround myself with natural beauty and to create beautiful things are integral to my happiness. It's been small choices along the way that have led to my life changing incrementally, for example choosing not to be distracted by television, instead immersing myself in the resources that inspire me; using my time wisely and making the time and space to create. Creating an aesthetically nurturing and inspiring environment and spending time with other like-minded creative people, motivating each other with our ideas and aspirations. 

What do you love most about what you do?
I absolutely love being totally present in the creative process. It's a whole different world and space I go into; no concept of time (that gets a little tricky when things need to be done - an alarm clock comes in handy there!) or judgement; just a pleasure! I feel like I'm most myself when I'm 'in the zone'.    
I'm aware that I have a natural 'gift'. I love layering on that and improving each time I work on a piece. To share this with others who may not have the ability to do so and who truly appreciate it brings me such satisfaction. I love the idea of inspiring others! 

Where do you feel most inspired?
Presently, I'm loving being at home; it's a stone cottage by the forest and during the cooler season I've been having the log fire on...a lot!  The smell of the wood, the fresh air of the forest, the juxtaposition of lovely objects with the earthiness of the stone house, the birdsong and the solitude are so nurturing and inspiring for me.

cat willow's hinterland log cabin
Being right in nature is invigorating and refreshing; walking in the forest, observing intricate moss, vines, trees, finding feathers, everything - I love it!  Also, a sea-change every now and then is essential to my creative soul.

Who do you admire?
Creatively and artistically I admire Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe, strong women who lived their life with intensity for their creativity, producing such stunning works. I love the simplicity and beauty in the work of John Olsen. I also admire  brilliant female Australian artists including Del Kathryn Barton and Miranda Skoczek. And I love Leila Jeffreys for her photography, the way in which she presents birds is so endearing and beautiful. 

I also find Heidi Middleton of Sass & Bide so inspiring; a strong and talented woman. I love her confidence, grace and style. When I first saw her personal creativity and designs it made me feel like I was home (creatively speaking).

I also admire anyone who realises their capabilities, shares them and lives their dream! 

What challenges have you had to overcome?  
I've always had quite high expectations of myself and wouldn't even start a piece or try any creative project for fear of my work not being 'perfect'. However, the yearning to create became so strong that I found the confidence to experiment and explore, realising the only way to find out what one's style is, is to play. 

I also used to really beat myself up for procrastinating, now I understand it's the way I work. During those hours, days or even weeks of delaying creating a piece, I'm actually still being inspired and brewing until the moment I feel I'm about to burst! Then there's no stopping me! 

What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
Recently, every morning that I wake, I pinch myself. It's either the sound of birdsong here, or the rain falling on the roof. Knowing that I'm in the place that inspires me more than I ever have been and knowing that I'm carving my path with what I love to do and still going.

What are your top inspiring resources? 
* Nature, in particular birds, feathers and mossy green forests.
* Traditional textiles and adornments from other cultures.  
* Pictorial books on culture, nature, birds, art, design and beautiful places.
* Presently I'm absolutely hooked on instagram, following my favourite artists, designers and people (instant inspiration).

Do you have a dream creative project?
I have many! Whilst sharing my inspiration and challenges, the one idea that initially stands out is my desire to create a business that would allow me to employ talented young people and provide the opportunity for them to be nurtured and inspired creatively. 

In terms of jewellery and fashion design (did I mention I love that too?) I'd also love to create opportunities for creative Indigenous women within Australia or overseas...'show a man how to fish', etc. I'm not quite sure how this can happen just yet; it's something I've always wanted to'll come to me along the way! 

What are you currently coveting in the world of design? 
A Leila Jeffreys cockatoo photograph and a Miranda Skoczek artwork.  A quadrant soft (a divine leather single seater) by Koskela and there's an antique French chandelier in French & Gorgeous which I have my eye on.

What's next?
I'm presently working towards creating a series of large scale Australian inspired artworks. I'm also working on a range of cushions, tablecloths and banners which I am excited about presenting! 

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Read - Design magazines, books on art, culture and creativity.  
Watch - Instagram photos!
Cook - French style cooking and scrummy savouries.
Create - Pockets of inspiration around my home, art and jewellery.
Listen to - Music of Mali; flamenco; classical guitar.
Dream about - Creating and travels to France!
Look forward to - Quality time with good friends and family.