Our guest today is Lisa Pate: Australian fibre artist known for her brilliant use of bright colors and wild textures! We love Lisa’s versatility in the art world. When following her Instagram feed, you’ll see weavings, handspun yarns, paintings + sketches, embroidery, hand-sewn home goods… she is truly the Renaissance Woman of fibre! And she’s got a beautiful home studio to boot. Read on for an in-depth interview, highlighting her fibre space, creative process, and charming home life. She’s a gem!
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you ended up in Fibre-Arts.
For as long as I can remember I have always played and created with fibre and textiles. My first real crafting memory I have was waking my mum up and asking her to teach me how to sew. I was about three years old, and my beautiful mum a self-confessed “not a creative person” grabbed a darning needle, a length of wool and an old handkerchief and taught me how to do a simple running stitch. Over the years I have dabbled in just about every craft and art form. My love of textiles never waned. Almost two years ago I went along to a beginners weaving class, and knew I have found a textile medium that I would never tire of.
Give us a brief history of your workspace/studio and how it has evolved over time.
My creative space has evolved and morphed in many ways. When my children were babes it was important for me to have a space that allowed them to safely play alongside with their own little supply of crafty materials. Each house we have lived in has had different challenges, our previous home was space limited so we converted a walk-in pantry! I am a firm believer in using what is available. A chair and a basket of supplies can work if you want it to.
My current space is lovely and large. Who needs a formal lounge/dining area anyway right?? Wooden floors and primarily white furniture makes it a really lovely space to work. I use LOTS of colour in my work and find the neutral space helps keep a calm environment. The area has been designed with a number of desks and workspaces so I can work fibres on one table, paint on another and my girls can still have room to create as well. There is enough room to host small workshops or have friends over for a crafternoon.
Can you give us a glimpse into a typical day in your studio?
My day always starts with a coffee and a wander downstairs to my studio. I open the blinds and look over the work from the day previous. It’s not uncommon for me to crack open my paints and add a layer to an art piece or run a few lines of weaving through the loom at 6.30am. I use this time to sweep my floor, pick up any wool the cats have decided to take, and generally clear my mind and my desk. Scribbling and scrawling in my art journal usually happens in this time, I love how my painted and drawn artwork spills over into my fibre work and vice versa.
With three teens it’s also peak hour for school/tafe preparations, finding uniforms, making sure everyone has had breaky and all those other mum duties. Once the kids are off I usually have an hour or two to work before heading off to Yoga or the gym. Back home and lunch, emails, chores and back to the studio to pack up any orders ready for the afternoon post. I usually pick up something to work on after dinner at night. Fibre arts are so portable, so it is easy to work away while relaxing with my family.
Name a tool you cannot live without and why.
You just can’t go past a good pair of scissors and a comfortable weaving needle. I am a little renowned for being very accident prone particularly with anything sharp, my friends may be cringing with regards to my love of scissors. I have probably about 10 different pairs in my studio, which is handy because I am always losing them, everything from round ended kids scissors, dressmaking shears, and itty bitty snippers. All work for me, as long as I can find them!
I love my bamboo weaving needle from The Unusual Pear (which may or may not have teeth marks in it, as I am a shocker putting things it into my mouth to hold while working with my hands) you can find one here: theunusualpear.com
Is there a piece of equipment or fibre you own that is special to you?
My family bought me a Saori Loom for Mothers Day this year. I still get a crazy big smile everytime I use it, such a beautiful loom and it has provided hours of effortless weaving. Tears may have fallen when it turned up. It was purchased here.
Can you give us a glimpse into your storage situation?
I have a couple of white melamine cupboards that hold most of my yarns and supplies, as pretty as yarn is to have on display it was just too crazy to keep neat and tidy. So I gave in and most of my fibres are stored in colour sorted plastic tubs and behind closed doors.
When I am working a project I fill a basket with the fibres I will be using and carry it around with me. The only exception is my collection of fibres on cones, which I have out on display (because it is just so pretty!) and also some beautiful handspun which are in little wicker baskets on my desk.
Visit Lisa Pate here: