Michelle Hamer is an incredibly talented award-winning visual artist with a background in architecture. She is known for her hand-stitched and drawn works, which show us the language within urban environments.
Michelle exhibits throughout Australia and internationally. Her works are in private and public collections including at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), City of Melbourne and Artbank.
Where are you working from today?
My couch in my studio, surrounded by wool. And artworks (my own and others’), Art and Architecture books & journals, pens and random Bunnings ‘stuff’ that I’m experimenting with.
What are you working on?
I’m preparing for works I’ll be making during an artist residency in the US later this year. I usually begin and complete one work at a time but I’m trying to work in a series simultaneously with these works so I’m needing to be more considered than usual before stitching. These works will need to travel to the US and back with me so cannot be completed/ fully assembled (as they will be too large for my suitcase) until I return to Melbourne with them.
How’s it going?
Slowly! I’m also completing admin tasks for several exhibitions in between stitching. I like the variation in my day but really appreciate it when I get full days to just create. I’ve selected most of the wool required for the works and have resolved the concept fully for one piece but a couple of the others still need finalising. I keep lists of text, images and ideas and I let myself sit with them until I see the connections working that match the direction I’ve set for the series.
When you get stuck, what doing you do?
If I’ve procrastinated through the stuck-ness with admin work, chores, walks and distractions I choose an area of the work to stitch on that doesn’t require as many decisions (eg. a block of one colour in an area of the piece) and just make myself keep working that way until the rhythm returns.
Who sees your earliest version / draft & at what stage?
A couple of close friends, who work in art and architecture, know my work well and we sometimes discuss early concepts. They will proof read proposals and grant applications for me. I rely on their honesty to tell me what is or isn’t working and why so that I can continue to push my practice. Sometimes family and friends incidentally see work as its emerging but I don’t tend to show the actual works during the making stage, that’s my time within the work, and its often months.