Vine, Vista & Vibes

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A joint exhibition that celebrates our natural surroundings by Joy Cooksey and Lyn Bemét.

Tell us how your passion for art began?

I think art comes in so many forms. It often develops in childhood with a doodle, or perhaps even a simple figure made of playdough, or in creative play. On retirement I first became interested in traditional watercolour painting, then found mixed media and abstract art more exciting. Four years ago I decided a change was needed. Contemporary basketry was my choice. Unable to obtain lessons, I decided to teach myself. That was the start of this adventure.

You and Joy Cooksey have an exhibition at the end of this month; what can one expect?

Vines, Vista & Vibes is a joint exhibition featuring paintings by Joy Cooksey and my baskets, wall hangings and sculptural pieces. This collaboration displays our connection with the natural environment and with our use of different mediums. 

Joy’s paintings depict some of the various times and places she has journeyed through. Paintings, like music and writing, help us convey to others our memories, observations and imaginings, and our connection to the world around us. My woven pieces, which involve the use of natural fibres, vines and other materials provided by nature, depict my connection. 

Where did you get your inspiration for this exhibition?

We are all connected to our environment in one way or another. For me, my natural surroundings provide not only a visual stimulus, but also the organic materials needed for me to create my art. For example, a simple twisted vine can evoke an idea that leads to a new artworks.

What artistic process do you undertake when starting a new work of art?

As my work involves mainly non-traditional basketry/weaving, there are no patterns and no rules to follow … total freedom. Each piece is woven intuitively, using different plant materials. It evolves as the mood takes me and often tends to acquire a personality of its own!

What types of material go into your artwork? Where do you source them?

Each piece is woven using natural fibres. These are varied, with silk, flax, cotton or hemp often combined with vines, leaves, branches and at times unwanted weeds to produce a unique piece of art. It is the foraging for the materials, be it in the bush, by the river or by the sea, that not only gives a greater appreciation of the surrounding area, but also becomes an adventure, often resulting in the finding of an unknown plant to experiment with. 

Friends also supply prunings, pods and plants from their gardens, for which I am always thankful. The collecting is only the beginning of the process. Next, there is stripping, drying, and soaking, before weaving can occur. At times this can be quite arduous, but always exciting.

And what about Joy; can you explain to us what her paintings represent?

The paintings represent memories of places in time. Some are an impression, or a response to a place or to some small detail almost overlooked. Some reflect reality, but often the reflection is distorted by personal biases and interpretation. Sometimes a painting will evolve from a flow of paint and balance of colour, shapes and lines that create their own reality.

Are the artworks for sale?

All artwork at this exhibition is for sale.

 When and where is the exhibition?

Vines, Vista & Vibes will be exhibited at Gloucester Gallery, 25 Denison St., Gloucester, from April 25 to May 19. Opening hours: Wed – Sat, 10am – 4pm; Sun, 10am – 1pm.

Any upcoming projects you’re currently working on?

In our future exhibitions and projects we will continue to create works that may entice the viewer to increase their awareness and appreciation of the vistas and vines in their own natural environment, wherever they are living.

You’re also holding a couple of workshops on Lomandra Vessel/Basket and Sculptural Form. Where can we find out more information?

I shall be holding two workshops at the Gloucester Gallery, Lomandra Vessels on May 13 and Sculptural Forms on May 14. For bookings and enquiries, please contact the Gallery Director, Rachael Saunders 0425 203 877 or

Thanks Lyn.

Interview: Bronwyn Davis.

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