It’s guaranteed to be a g’day when you lay eyes on the bright and very beautiful work of embroidery artist Liz Payne. We couldn’t wait to talk to the award-winning Sydney-based stitcher to find out more.
1. What’s the first piece of art you can remember making?
Oh heaps of different things! I was lucky to be surrounded by a lot of various creative practises growing up – I remember making a huge mess painting (some things haven’t changed!) I also remember swimming around in piles of my Mum’s fabric and beads, and making jewellery and clothes for my dolls.
2. How would you describe your work to someone who hasn’t seen it before?
Very colourful hand embroidered textiles, hopefully unlike anything you’ve seen before!
3. Describe your working routine – studio, kitchen table, caffeinated beverage of choice, music, silence?
I work from home in my studio (which is really just our spare bedroom!) but I spread out all over the house, kitchen table, dining table – there are piles of wool and sequins everywhere, and my dog is always covered in bright coloured thread! I like to work with music in the background and I’ll generally have the radio on JJJ or a mix of music which might include TOOL, Florence and the Machine, Arctic Monkeys, Sia…
4. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people.
I can sew right and left handed, but I can’t click!
5. What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an artist?
I think embroidery can have a stigma to it that it’s ‘grandmotherly’ or ‘old fashioned’. It’s my hope when people see my work that this old connotation is blown out of the water, and I hope to achieve this by drawing the viewer’s eye in and across the details of a work. I’m inspired by celebrating embroidery, but approaching it in a different way – it’s not perfect – and I like it that way.
6. Describe your perfect day.
Wake up, a nice walk around where we live with my husband and dog, followed by a nice lazy lunch, maybe stop off for a quick beer or two then back home to work on some embroidery while watching a movie.
7. What areas of your work or personal development are you hoping to explore further?
I would like to expand my work into homewares or clothing and I’m really excited about the prospects of this. Personally, I’d like to be more organised, and have more time to be able to do that expanding!
8. Are there any textile artists/designers that are exciting you at the moment?
Janelle Pietrzak, Maryanne Moodie, Natalie Miller, Sheila Hicks, Elena Stonaker, Yann Gerstberger, Leutton Postle…. I could go on! There’s such wonderful things happening with textiles right now.
9. Do you have time for personal craft projects, if so, what are you making right now?
Not as much as I would like! But my latest project is to upholster an antique chair I just acquired from my Mum’s place that was her Aunties when she was growing up. I can’t wait to find the right fabric – and I’ll probably end up buying so much more than I need!
10. What’s the last thing that made you say ‘wow’?
Getting that chair into my house!
Chloë Owens and Catherine Wells