To Inspire And Get Inspired - Annette Wiguna
One of the highlight of the past year has been how our creative community has grown stronger and tighter over the past year. While many have struggled with the social aspect of covid restrictions, a lot of creatives have found the solace to be more focused and productive in their practice showing a renewed enthusiasm for experimenting.
While I had known Annette for a few years even collaborating on our first eco dye event at the Fremantle Fibonacci Centre a couple of years ago, I really discovered the wonderful fibre artist, the gifted photographer, the generous human that Annette is, as well the committed sustainability community advocate and gentle friend over the many cups of chai from Mandap Café we have shared on our breaks from working in our adjacent studios in the community hub that our beloved Fib is.
I hope this interview will help you discover the world of Annette Wiguna.
Who is Annette Wiguna? What inspires you and what are you passionate about?
I am an Indonesian-Australian artist who uses multiple art practices to explore my personal interactions with the built and natural environment. As a painter and photographer, I describe my work as abstract landscape and abstract expressionism. I draw inspiration from the environment I visited and imagined and to describe a state of flux where I am continuously moving between spaces. I am also a textile artist who focuses on contemporary felting and eco-printing as a way to celebrate the natural world in which I continue to learn from and express my utmost reverence.
What does being creative mean to you?
Writing and expressing my thoughts verbally isn’t my forte so I’m grateful that I have been gifted with other means of expression. Creativity is a process, whether it’s happening internally or externally, it’s an ongoing journey that evolves as you traverse through life. During my studio hours, creativity manifests as a form of curiosity in trying new things. For example, I hardly ever repeat the same process because I’m always thinking about other possibilities of mixing other media when I’m painting or eco-printing. That’s why I view each of my work as an experimental piece. I think being open-minded to new ideas is part of living a creative life.
You are a woman of many skills . How do you find time and balance to do it all between work and creativity?
To tell you the truth, it is really hard to strike a balance between work and creativity. I work long hours from Monday to Wednesday and sometimes I work in the evenings and weekends. Over time you just have to accept that some days (and weeks) you are not going to do any creative project. It takes me a long time to not be too hard on myself and to put too much expectation on catching up on lost studio hours. One of the ways I learn to manage this is by jotting down the studio tasks and allocating particular days for fabric preparation, preliminary sketches, gesso-ing the canvasses, etc. That way my studio time becomes more efficient.
Through your art and craft practice, you are very committed to sustainable practices through recycling, upcycling and minimal wastage. Tell us a bit more about these.
My interest in environmental sustainability really starts from my own home. Living in a small villa, working part time and long hours to sustain my art practice whilst trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle leads me to the desire for living a simple life. It means making a conscious decision of how I can improve my life with the limited amount of income, space, and time. My ultimate dream is to live off-grid in Southwest WA and grow my own food using the permaculture principles. So to prepare myself for this, I begin to experiment with planting food and native trees that I can use for dyeing. The garden waste that my plants produce goes back in the compost bin that I can later use to improve the soil. Growing my own food is a very rewarding process that gives you a feeling of self-resilience. I am also eating a healthier diet because most of what I’ve grown is organic.
My dye materials mostly come from my garden and the Westminster community food garden which creates fresh admiration for my immediate surrounding. This process really helps me to become more in tune with the season and to respect nature by only taking what you need. I adopt this principle in my art practice by re-using my canvasses and artwork on paper in my mixed media work. The same goes for my upcycled and eco-printed garments from my wardrobe. There’s a rich layer of stories in upcycled garments and artworks to be found if you take a moment to let them speak quietly to you.
You are launching a new set of workshops at the Fremantle Fibonacci Centre where you and The ANJELMS Project have a studio and Store @ Fib carries your collections. What do you enjoy the most being part of this creative community hub?
I am excited to be offering a series of workshops in Eco-printing, Felted Scarves with Silk Paper, and Photo Transfer with Encaustics soon! It is the creative vibe that the Fremantle Fibonacci Centre fosters that I am so blessed to be part of. Sustaining an artistic life can be a rather lonely, isolated, and arduous journey particularly when you don’t have an outlet to share ideas with someone. This community not only connects different artists from all walks of life but also an opportunity to showcase our creation to the public. I cannot believe how lucky I am to have come to the right place, at the right time, with the right people.
You use a lot of the craft supplies that The ANJELMS Project carries in store and online. Which one is your favourite and why?
My favourite is the beautifully handwoven blank cotton that takes dyes so beautifully. It has a wonderful drape that can be used as a transeasonal garment, curtains, and bedsheets. It offers so many possibilities and you are really only limited by your imagination! The best thing about it is knowing that I’m supporting an ethical organisation that supports talented artisans in Pushkar, India.
Finally, what would you like your legacy to be?
Gosh, such a big question! I guess if I can inspire others to observe their natural surroundings with a new lens and to develop a healthy relationship with it based on respect then I think I’d be very happy. Nature has been here for a very long time, we are only here as transient visitors.
Learn from Annette with her new workshop at the Fremantle Fibonacci Centre while you will also have the opportunity to visit both our studios, shop at our Store @ Fib store and enjoy the delicious food from Cafe Freeariello.
A range from Annette eco dye creations is now also available at our Collab store in the Fremantle Markets.