Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 28 Autumn 2011 Contents 104 INSITE AUTUMN 2011
presents as beautiful, so I started looking at
other cultural references to beauty,” she says.
Rather than the often frivolous, always
trend-based facets of fashion, Elizabeth
aligns more with the Japanese wabi-sabi
aesthetic (exploring imperfection and
impermanence), and the Hebrew definition of
beauty that translates as ‘glow’ or ‘bloom’.
Ironically, her work is founded in pattern
cutting, another aspect of fashion she dislikes.
She enjoys garments, but her work is more
‘built’ than stitched. “While some of the
structures are quite geometric and have hard
and sharp lines, they’re also quite soft and
diffused,” she says.
Less than five years out of university, she
is blazing a trail with an outside-the-box
practice. “At uni, I realised what I was making
could fit into an exhibition format, or a design
or a craft format. I wasn’t stuck on one thing.”
Not only are her influences broad, but also
her reach. One of her first exhibitions was in
2005 in Munich, part of a Talente survey of
emerging art and craft practitioners. She has
done internships with two artists in New York,
exhibited in a cultural program of the L’Oreal
Melbourne Fashion Festival and completed
residencies and exhibitions in Perth. In May,
she will begin a six-month residency in Berlin
thanks to Artsource’s Go Anywhere initiative,
which is funded by local philanthropists.
Before she leaves, she will be one of 40
international guests delivering a talk on
her practice at the agIdeas conference at
International Design Week in Melbourne.
More than 10,500 attendees are expected over
the three days, many highly informed about
design. She’s collaborating with Melbourne
curator Kate Rhodes to ensure she gives the
best 20-minute presentation possible.
That may involve transporting her
audience, via their imaginations, to her studio
at the Old Customs House in Fremantle, where
small, colourful maquettes adorn the walls,
and ceilings awaiting future lives as bigger
things. Incongruous materials collect in
bundles, and the smell of spray paint lingers
around hand-cut stencils.
“Most of the materials I use are somewhat
ephemeral,” says Elizabeth. “I’m attracted to
materials that have sculptural properties, but
are also quite malleable – somewhere between
a hard material and a really soft fabric.”
And fashion hasn’t fallen entirely out of
favour. “I like the idea of making a cameo
guest artist appearance with a fashion
designer for a season,” she says. Collaborating
with Bjork is on the aspirational ‘to do’ list.
Her current project is for architectural firm
Coda. In mid 2011, she and three other artists
will construct installations for a new Housing
Foundation building in Newcastle Street,
Northbridge. She’s made mock-ups of her
design from fly wire, but the finished product
will be perforated aluminium, folded and
suspended from the ceiling in a void space.
“It’s the biggest project I’ve done and the
first time I’ve translated my work into such a
scale and into that kind of material,” says
Elizabeth. It’s a far cry from calico, but when
it comes to her cross-disciplinary approach
borne of textile design beginnings, it’s on-
trend. Elizabeth Delfs elizabethdelfs.com.
“While some of the structures are quite
geometric and have hard and sharp lines,
they’re also quite soft and diffused”
LEFT Elizabeth stencilling onto tulle in her Fremantle studio. ABOVE
Work s for he r 2010 Revolutions e xhibition at Fre e ra nge Galle ry (top) and
Beyond Garment show during the 2010 Perth Fashion Festival (below).
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