My partner Richard Glatz (an Entomologist) and I live and work from our property near D’Estrees Bay, which is 35km from the nearest town on a dirt road. A narrow track through bushland leads up to our home, which was once a farm manager’s residence. My studio sits under an arc of Monterey pines, a 1960’s legacy. Richard’s Kangaroo Island insect collection (of 40,000+ specimens!) is a stone’s throw away – we both commute across the yard to work. We overlook bushland and pasture and can see for miles and miles but at night we can’t see a single light in the landscape. To us, it’s heaven.
The weather and season often dictate our days. We venture out when the weather is glorious – I look for inspiration or materials, while Richard searches for rare insects; some are only around at a certain time of year, so we need to take advantage of seasonal offerings. If it’s windy, we’ll probably be inside.
My studio is home to my herbarium collection of pressed dried plants, which I began in 2000 – it’s my reference collection, housed in an old South Australian Museum cabinet, it shows the scientific methodology from which my technique evolved. Few people were going to see the marvels that I’d carefully catalogued into a cabinet. Art was a way to share.
My tools of trade are low tech – secateurs, calico bags, corrugated cardboard, stretched canvases, my custom-made giant compass, metal rulers & blades, glue, bamboo skewers, needles & thread, scissors, and platters & plates for sorting the materials into colours and sizes. My stock of leaves, twigs, seeds, flowercaps, bones etc are stored in white cardboard cake and noodle boxes. Reference books are invaluable.
The creative process is time-consuming but completely engrossing; time flies as I play with beautiful natural materials. I generally work on one piece at a time. By the time I’ve finished a huge piece I’m keen to work on something tiny. And if I’ve been working with golden leaves for weeks, then I can’t wait to work with black seeds or pink shells… There are always more ideas than time to make them. And always the question “How can I best show off the unique characteristics of this?”
There’s generally a ‘work-in-progress’ piece for studio visitors to see, as well as a few finished framed pieces. If you would like to visit, please telephone or email to make an appointment (otherwise I may be out collecting!) and I can give you directions or send you a mud-map.
“We have arrived back in Sydney after a magical week on Kangaroo Island, the highlight of which was our visit to meet you in your beautiful studio. Thank you for your generous hospitality – we are so inspired by your passion for the uniqueness of the natural beauty of KI – and your devotion to showcasing this to the world is a rare and precious gift. We are looking forward to being able to be a ‘custodian’ of one of your masterpieces soon.”
KC & TM, Sydney, March 2015
“Thanks for the tour. We found the work you are both involved in fascinating. The diversity of life right before us is truly wonderful. The way you both display this is a great combination of art and science.”
PH & MH, Adelaide, February 2015
“My guests have gone home now but said the highlight of their visit was meeting you and Richard. They bubbled all the way back yesterday – loved your art, your stories and the associations that give your work a much deeper meaning that just collections. Thanks you so much for your warm welcome and always generous hospitality.”
KD, Kangaroo Island, November 2015
“We still think a lot about the island, the insights we gained and our visit at your place. Your artworks really impressed us, and Richard’s collection too, of course. Every time we see leaves or a tiny insect we now look at their forms and colours with different eyes.”
BP, Germany, November 2015
“…By the way, the book arrived, many thanks for that, it brought back very, very happy memories of our brief time on the island!”
DS, London, UK, October 2015
“Thank you so much for sharing your time and knowledge, we all felt privileged… hearing how vast your knowledge is and seeing your work at close hand was an inspiration to all of us…. kids talked about you all the way home and my parents were blown away, not just by your work but by how much research and love goes into it… Your book went to school today too.”
PW, South Australia, February 2016
© Janine Mackintosh, All Rights Reserved 2019