CEA Fashion Accelerator and Me - Part 1

CEA Fashion Accelerator and Me - Part 1

Well, that has been the most intense 6 months of my life thus far.

I experienced a bit of an existential crisis at the end of 2016, questioning my direction in life with particular emphasis on my career path.  Working for a custom picture framer and art retail business for the last 9 years was no longer fulfilling and long service leave was looming (hurrah!), I began to question my Arts practice - the direction it was heading, what mediums to focus on, profitability of continued practice and what made me happiest.  No wonder I was so tired all the time and my mental health was starting to suffer.

After much consideration and soul searching, I came to the realisation that my true passion was textiles and sewing.  One of the first skills I was taught at my grandmother's knee (at the tender age of 5) was knitting and embroidery.  I was always in awe of how so would make the knitting needles click rhythmically and more impressively, not looking at her work but rather her gaze focussed on the Australian cricket (each to their own, I prefer historical drama).  Her instruction was obviously thorough as a few years later in a Cunnamulla primary school, our teacher endeavoured to teach us knitting; however I ended up instructing most of my classmates.

Lace knitting became my passion

Fast forward a few years and a move to another country town, a lack of fashionable clothing options in the community (and a well equipped local haberdashery store) encouraged my mother to take up sewing and eventually teach her two daughters.  A strong community interest and history in textiles, encouraged my passion for textile arts and has influenced my drive to be self sufficient, particularly the ability to complete the entire process of a garment's production - from shearing the sheep through to sewing the garment.  The Blackall community is responsible for my ability to muster and shear a sheep, card and spin the yarn and sew the garment, skills that I never thought I would draw upon in a professional context.

The Blackall community is very proud of their shearing heritage

Upon moving to Toowoomba, I picked up weaving, dyeing and printmaking skills and was introduced to the world of corsetry through university study.  A strong emphasis on the importance of social history (through my father's influence and my major in geography) led my studies towards the industrial revolution with a particular interest in weaving and clothing production.  Intrigued by women's structured undergarments, my investigation of corsetry began.

Working slowly on my skills for a number of years (including international study trips), it wasn't until a family member began to perform in the Brisbane community, that I was introduced to the marvellous world of burlesque.  Finally the heavens had aligned and I had discovered a community which would appreciate beautifully constructed garments with elaborate detailing, that would utilise my broad skills base.  Now, how to break into the fashion world...

Corsetry workshop with Jill Salen 2105 at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama


CEA fashion accelerator to the rescue!  Fortunately I discovered this program in time to prepare an application (usually I'm too late) and a nervous interview later, I was accepted to this amazing program.

NEXT TIME - the program starts...