Louise Meuwissen is a Melbourne based artist working in textiles, embroidery, sculpture and installation. Her practice utilises discarded objects linked to material and consumer culture to create intricate, ugly works. Imagine the anthromophic sculptural love child of Bob Mackie and Yayoi Kusama and you're getting close to the kind of magic she creates. Meuwissen is very busy this year at Craft Cubed, presenting works under multiple guises in multiple venues including Parasite at Docklands Library, Craft Hatch Open Studios, Slash Panache with Milo Gluth (Slash Panache - Stitch Glitch, online, and Slash Panache - Gallaop Wallop at Lord Coconut), In Common with Bianca Mavrick, at Guild of Objects, and Complete Me at Junior Space with Annie Gobel. We managed to hold her still long enough to find out a little more about her practice, dream collaborations and what the handmade means to her.
What’s the significance of the handmade to you?
To me the handmade signifies intrinsic elements of being human. It signifies innovation, adaption, skill, creativity, imagination, thoughtfulness, labour, beauty, love and connection across time and space. It is an integral part of my practice as an artist, and important to me in my day to day.
How would you describe your craft community?
Warm, welcoming and wonderful. An incredible group of talented and thoughtful, innovative, dedicated practitioners.
What is your earliest craft memory?
All sort of smooshed into one are:
Making cubbies from tree fern fronds.
Making magic wands from cardboard and skewers.
Learning that certain cushions weren’t for sitting on because they were very special and had taken my Mum’S Oma hundreds and hundreds of hours to make.
That there is a difference between plastic, glass and crystal drinking cups.
Being in trouble for not sticking to the designated ‘making cupboard’ and raiding my mum’s special sewing materials.
I suppose that pretty early on I learnt respect for the inherent preciousness of objects made with thought and love. I can remember having a lot of admiration for adults around me that could make something out of what seemed like nothing.
What is your philosophy or motto when it comes to creativity?
Don’t be derivative.
Where do you go in Melbourne for inspiration?
I find that those ‘ah-ha’ moments are often conjured by conversations or events that may seem unrelated to creativity or making, where ideas that have been incubating suddenly come together in a new way. Having said that, op-shopping never fails.
What are you reading OR listening to at the moment?
I’m listening to whale-sounds and The Bedtime Show for relaxing studio time, and Wowee Podcast for a creative boost and a sense of company. I’m sporadically re-reading Glenn Adamson’s ‘Thinking through Craft’.
How would you describe your studio or making environment?
My studio is at home, looking out onto the garden. It is quiet and calm with green 70’s carpet and eclectic green furnishing, complimented by many, many indoor plants. I have a huge work bench, shelves of fishing tackle boxes housing collected materials awaiting future projects, works in various stages of completion, bowls of beads, stacks of fabrics, books and artworks.
How does good craft make you feel?
In awe that someone actually made it. Impressed. Moved. Excited.
What is your dream craft collaboration - if history and geography and money was no barrier?
I actually just had a few dreams come true as part of Craft Cubed! I collaborated on a piece with Bianca Mavrick, for ‘In Common’ an exhibition at Guild of Objects, and with Annie Gobel for her ‘Complete Me’ project at Junior Space. Milo Gluth and I have also worked together again on a couple of new works as Slash Panache.
What other Craft Cubed events are you excited about?
There are so many amazing events this year, I am excited about them all! I can’t wait for the upcoming Craft Hatch Market.
FULL EVENT LISTINGS: HERE