Conversation with Peta Lloyd, Australia

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Peta Lloyd is a visual artist incorporating printmaking and collage into assemblages, artist books, box works and wall narratives. Peta completed a Diploma of Visual Art in 2007 majoring in printmaking.
Peta describes herself as a Bricoleur, a ‘Jill of all trades’, recycling, remaking and reusing a diverse range of items, she restores and re-stories them as part of her process.
Peta teaches classes in printmaking and book arts at her studio in Central Queensland and various centres around Australia. Peta has coordinated several international and national collaborations featuring books and postcards.
Peta’s works are held in both private and public collections.
Born in Mildura Victoria, Peta lives with her husband, Bruce, in their owner built mud brick home on the Capricorn Coast.

Conversation With The Makers(CWTM) Did you always envision a life as an artist?
Peta Lloyd (PL) Yes, I did! I certainly didn’t think that I wasn’t an artist! I was always drawing, making collages and designing logos for other people.

CWTM What was your first experience with making art?
PL The earliest I can remember would be around age 5 or 6, my mum kept a box of interesting bits and bobs in the linen cupboard, when it was a rainy day, (we had plently of these as we lived in Melbourne), mum would bring down the box and give me a large sheet of paper or a piece of cardboard, this was usually something recycled like the cardboard that a new shirt was wrapt in. I would use materials from the ‘bits and bobs’ box to create collages, I also loved using crayons and coloured pencils to add further to the collages.
My, how I loved to create a collage, the look and feel of the different materials mum had in the box were very exciting to me. The smell of the ‘Clag’ is another happy memory.

CWTM Do you have a dedicated studio?
PL Yes, I feel very lucky to have my own dedicated creative space. However this wasn’t always the case. In the beginning, before my husband Bruce, and I built my beautiful studio I worked from my kitchen bench, then I graduated to a small shed, (about the size of a king size bed), then into a space as big as a 3 car garage, (this was a great space, complete with bathroom and kitchen, however it was also quite an awkward space as it was divided into 4 rooms, two of which were bedrooms complete with double beds).
I now work from a large, light filled, airy studio. The steel frame is for a machinery shed. We have filled in the internal and external walls all around, adding windows and doors. The studio is completely insulated with ceiling fans – both of these are a must as the weather in Central Queensland is very hot and humid for half of the year.

CWTM Can you describe a typical day?
PL Friday is my dedicated studio day! I very much look forward to my Fridays! The day begins like any other day, I’m up early, before 6am, showered and eaten breakfast by 7.15am – I wave Bruce off to work, then my art day begins……I like to get into a creative groove by following a routine of sorts; opening all of my studio windows, turning on ceiling fans, choosing music on my ipod, (I usually choose a mixture of classical and modern), once my studio is filled with music I move around the studio checking out the projects I’m currently working on. I like to touch my materials and tools, thinking all the while about where I’d like to start.
As I’m a Bower-bird, a collector of ‘found objects, I usually have a number of items to add to my collections of natural and manufactured objects, stuff I’ve found or had gifted to me during the week. I like to stow away any collected items, everything has a designated place, some are displayed in glass preserving jars and some items are placed in my collection of vintage suitcases.
I find the process of handling my tools and materials provides me with a direction in which to concentrate my creative efforts for the first part of the day.
I like to work on a couple of projects, I just about always work on multiples within those projects, eg if I’m printing I’ll print a number of prints experimenting with a variety of papers and variations of the print. if I’m binding books I’ll be binding 3 or 4 or even more, if I’m doing assemblage art I’ll be working on several shrines at once. I feel it keeps me fresh and on my toes to work in this way.

CWTM Would you consider your art making to be more about the process than the outcome?
PL For me it’s a bit of both, the process is often all absorbing, as well as exciting, at times my ‘loose’ plan will change direction, this may be because I’m choosing different materials or techniques. When I realise that the artwork/s are coming to completion I feel a wonderful buzz of excitement, almost an inpatience to see the completed piece.

CWTM Do you agree that a small element of uncertainty about the finished look is what makes the process of creating so enticing?
PL It is this element that excites me! ….. the unrealised potential of a piece is often more exciting than the complete piece.

CWTM Any indispensable tools or equipment?
PL It’s always great to have specialist tools and equipment, like an etching press, sewing machine or a typewriter. A few tools that I would miss if I didn’t have them would be my super large cutting matt, 900cm long ruler, and my trusty and sturdy cutting knives, one large replaceable blade knife and the other small finger knife which uses a surgical blade. I use all types of paper from high quality printmakers paper to found papers which are not archival, I also use a variety of threads, from cottons, (expecially red thread), to waxed linen threads. Other favourite materials are found objects, wire, eyelets and screws. Also shellac, glue and printing inks.

CWTM Do your pieces start with a planned course of action or are they more spontaneous?
PL I usually start with a plan, this might be something I’ve been thinking about in my head while I drive to and from my other paid job. Most often it will be something I’ve sketched out in one of my numerous journals. Once I have a basic plan I like to allow the spontenaety to happen, including happy accidents!

CWTM How do you know when to “stop” – when do you consider a piece actually finished?
PL A piece is finished when it ‘feels right’, sometimes a piece will be waiting a while for something to be added or subtracted before it will announce that it’s complete.

CWTM Your greatest source of inspiration is….
PL My found objects, natural and manufactured, usually things that are time worn and imperfect.

CWTM Favourite quote?
PL “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” – Carl Jung

CWTM When do you do your best creative thinking?
PL When I’m sitting quietly with a journal, often when I’m travelling somewhere as long as I’m a passenger or later in the evenings when all the home chores are completed.

CWTM What do you enjoy most about your work?
PL The excitement of an idea hatching, along with the actual hands on of creating an art piece.
I also enjoy working with other artists and relish in teaching others and being a part of their creative journey.

CWTM Best advice you’ve ever received?
PL Make the art you enjoy, art must come from your heart & soul, this art will be authentically you.

CWTM Worst advice you’ve ever received?
PL None as yet!

CWTM Best part of your day?
PL Early mornings – they hold the potential of the whole day ahead.

CWTM Who would be 6 people that you would invite to dinner?
PL Frida Kahlo, Joseph Cornell, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Olley, Glen Skien and Cas Holmes.

CWTM What inspires your creativity?
PL My environment, people, nature and my materials.

CWTM What are you excited about right now in the world of textile art?
PL Combining diverse materials such as found papers, natural materials, to vintage fabrics, layering, deconstructing and reconstructing, producing free form artworks that are not contained in a frame.

CWTM You’d be lost without…
PL My husband, who is my best supporter and admirer as well as my family and friends who come a close second to my husband both as admirers and inspirers of my work.

CWTM What would you do with a few extra hours each day?
PL Exercise and mediatate in nature and walk my dog more often

CWTM Your favourite luxury in life?
PL Time to create and time to read.

CWTM Has the advancement of computers and technology impacted your work?
PL Yes, especially in the area of digital photography, this has made it so much easier to document my work. Also the internet is a fantastic tool for artists to be a part of a wider arts community, to connect with other artists and art lovers to view other artists work.

CWTM What do you enjoy most about your work?
PL The satisfaction of creating art pieces from objects and materials that have been considered as being no longer useful. I am facsinated with the new naratives that emerge in my art pieces.

CWTM Is it important for us to be recognized by the art world and if so, how can we help affect that change?
PL It is important to be recognised by our peers, it’s also very important for me to enjoy my process of making, to listen to the stories that viewers see in my artwork and to receive feedback via peers and viewers.

CWTM What is next for you?
PL I have some ideas simmering for some wall pieces that will be part of my crocodile series, I want to combine textile, paper, crushed cans and organic materials to create these pieces. To date my crocodile series consists of a variety of Artists’ Books, I want to extend the theme to include wall pieces.

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