Today's guest is artist and designer, Judith Abell. I find her ability to explore recycled materials entirely mesmerizing She takes ordinary materials and exploits their qualities of light and transparency, producing stunning works of art. Having an architectural background, her responses often involve a careful interrogation of structure, as well as material.
Judith also works part time for Futago, a multidisciplinary design practice covering everything from graphic design to public artwork. She's also a writer, writing for publications like Architecture Australia, Monument, Artichoke and HOUSES. As if that wasn't enough to keep her busy, she's got a few other side projects on the go which I'll leave her to share. I hope you find her work and process as fascinating as I do!
|Judith's sketch of a building in Queenstown.|
Where is your creative energy going right now?
I’m in the midst of a pretty unique artist/designer residency on the semi-remote West Coast of Tasmania. I’m carving into conveyor belt rubber, unravelling kilometres of telecoms wire, exploring, sketching, taking hundreds of photos and generally indulging in artful behaviour. When I finish here (after a brief trip to New York – yay!) I’ll go straight into a really interesting public art project that I’m helping to develop at Futago for the City of Yarra. I’m also blogging for a new branch of the CWA, where each member develops public art projects, but that’s a whole other story.
|Explorations with a rubber conveyor belt while on residency.|
My residency has shown me that more than anything I’m inspired by ordinary, daily moments of beauty; extraordinary combinations of stuff; the materiality and particularity of my context at any one time.
Who/what is inspiring you right now?
I’m currently inspired by the make-do-and-get-by style of building and architecture in Queenstown, my temporary home, where I’m developing a new found appreciation for corrugated iron. I’m also getting a kick out of the continual collision between the built and the wild.
Describe your workspace.
At the moment I’m occupying an old bank on the main street of Queenstown, but I normally split my time between a lovely studio in an old school in my job with Futago and a scruffy little space in a shared designers workshop at 42 Negara, which is a few minutes drive from MONA and GASP.
|Judith's workspace at 42 Negara Studio.|
Your go to websites/blogs?
I’ve followed Its Nice That for years, it’s my browser homepage and a great springing point for finding new things. Occasionally I like to mine sites like This is Colossal for a dose of mind blowing art/design. For a while I became obsessed with The Burning House Archive (what would you grab if you were leaving your burning house) and whenever I want to find something fabulous to cook I reach for Melbourne’s Trotski and Ash. I’m also becoming a bit of an instagram fiend, love looking through the eyes of others.
|A selection of Jude's Instagram shots taken while on her residency. She's one of my favourite people to follow on Instagram, particularly given her current remote location. Follow her: judeaa|
Most treasured on the bookshelf?
I’m torn between a totally fabulous catalogue from the Vitra exhibition of the Campana Brothers (OS trip 2009) and a beautiful book of the works of the late Eva Hesse, an art hero of mine. Also love my Roni Horn monograph.
|Works by Jude's art hero, Eva Hesse. Left clockwise: Right After 1969 via , Contingent, polymer, 1968 via, Repetition 1968 via.|
Share something from your creative bag of tricks.
In my sculpture studio I just make work and if I don’t know what to make, I process material, unravel wire, reorganise my mad little space, clean my workbench. Inevitably, something emerges. A studio mantra is a little saying I first heard from New York artist Jane South “…when my hands are busy, my mind is free.’
Thank you Judith for sharing a page of your moleskine! If you wish to follow Judith's residency journey, find her blog here.
Unless otherwise noted, all images courtesy of Judith Abell.