Gloucester resident Adele Compton describes herself as a creative and tactile person, and this is evident in her art, which spans felt work, photography and drawing. The Gloucester Gallery will host an exhibition of Adele’s drawings from the beautiful children’s book, Bruce the Bush Rat, in April and May …
Hi Adele. What’s your association with the Gloucester area… How long have you lived there?
I have lived in the Gloucester district all my life and have had the honour to live on the family farm, which has been home for six generations, including for my three children.
Gloucester is an important part of my identity. The familiar picturesque landscape and our wonderful community are my driving forces. I have been so incredibly supported by many people in the district, who are a constant source of inspiration and encouragement for my art.
Where did your passion for art and creativity begin?
Living on the flats of the Barrington River, I am surrounded by wonderful shapes and textures, and lots of little creatures that are a part of my own magical wonderland. They spark off my daily thoughts of, “What will I make today?”
I have always been creative, I am blessed with a strong imagination, and a sketchpad is never too far away. My joy for creativity has intensified with the years, and my art has become freer and has broadened across many more mediums than ever before.
You’re a woman of many talents. Photographer, artist, craftswoman. You make beautiful beanies and items from felt. What are some other items you most like to create?
I am very tactile. I have fallen into the spell of felt making, and I am constantly discovering new and exciting ways to play with this colourful medium.
I enjoy the creative process of enabling mediums to play off one another. For example, with my wearable art beanies, I have discovered a fun practice called “up-wolfing”, which creates a unique bubble-like effect, which I feel emulates the joy that I have in creating them.
I look at each art project, be it a beanie, or otherwise, as something to reflect my philosophy of fun and playfulness. Each piece is unique and individually designed, taking on a personality of its own. However as a collection, they all join into one continuous stream of outlandish fun.
One of your recent projects was illustrating Chris Dean’s book, Bruce the Bush Rat. How did you create the illustrations for this … What medium did you use?
Bruce has certainly been around for a long, long time. My wonderful friend Chris Dean has cleverly put pen to paper a story and character that is dear to us both, and I just added some ink.
A kaleidoscope of colours was used in illustrating Bruce, dabbed with a splash of humour, and a sprinkle of Bruce the Bush Rat country attitude.
Describe the experience of working on this book. What was the most rewarding aspect?
I have always dreamed of illustrating a children’s book, and to have carried out this dream with my dear friend Chris on a story of home truths, is more of a life achievement.
The process of getting the book to the final product has been a tremendous learning journey – from my artistic comfort zone of illustrations, to the throes of technology and marketing. I have honestly been so excited by the whole journey and equally very proud of how it has grown.
An exhibition of your illustrations from Bruce the Bush Rat will be on display at the Gloucester Art Gallery from 26th April to 22nd May. Tell us more about the exhibition … How many illustrations will you have on display?
I am thrilled to be having another exhibition in the Gloucester Art Gallery. All 21 original illustrations from the book will be exhibited, along with a gathering of wearable art beanies. There will also be limited edition archival prints available for sale, and of course, Bruce the Bush Rat book in hard and soft copy, with an audio CD.
The opening will be another night to remember, with local musicians, The Grasscutters, sure to turn us all into Rock ‘n’ Roll dance rats!
You must have developed a very good understanding of Bruce’s character while you were working on the book. What’s he like?
Well, there is a bit of a story to this. Chris, my best friend, knows me so well. I think that larrikin has written the book about me … Or perhaps I have turned into Bruce.
I know Bruce very well, as you can imagine. He likes to please, he is adventurous, colourful, and kind. He loves to explore, to travel, and yet he loves the place called home. He loves other rats, he cares and admires other rats’ activities, but best of all, he loves himself with a genuine happiness and warmth.
What other artistic projects do you have in the pipeline?
Puppet making is bubbling. But I really do just live in the moment and let the art do the talking. I have a great deal of inspirational friends and activities in my life. These influences are constantly spurring me on in different directions.
Where can readers purchase a copy of Bruce the Bush Rat or view more of your work?
From the 26th April to 22nd May, Bruce will be available at the Gloucester Art Gallery. Alternatively, Bruce will also live at the Gloucester Book Shop, the Fox Den in Gloucester, and online at www.adelesart.com.au
Visit the Gloucester Gallery, located in the School of Arts building, Denison Street, Gloucester.
Gallery opening hours: Thurs, Fri, Sat, 10am – 4pm and Sundays 10am – 1pm.