Monday, April 24, 2017

Tricia Smout

Today we interview long time artist Tricia Smout.

Were you creative as a child & do you come from a creative family?

My mother knitted and sewed in any spare time she had. Since I was a little girl, I have enjoyed playing with paper, yarns and fabric, and I made my own clothes in high school and university. 

After a career of science research and teaching, and then raising a family, I finally got back to creating artwork thirty years ago.

How would you describe your work?

I love working with all types of textiles … fibres, paper, yarns and fabrics. The tactile qualities of the materials give me tremendous pleasure, and I also delight in playing with different colour combinations.

My ‘grande passion’ is calligraphy and lettering, and in addition to legible calligraphy commissions, I use letters, words and symbols as the inspiration to create innovative hangings, artist books, sculptures and wearable art using a wide range of techniques.

I had a fabulous year as the 2012 Artist-in-Residence at Brisbane Botanic Gardens creating many collaborative works …

How has your work evolved since you started?

My original calligraphy work was only on paper or card. In 1993 I did a weekend workshop with famous English calligrapher Pat Russell, and this inspired me to put lettering on to fabric. 

I now try to include lettering in as many different forms as possible …bookmaking, embroidery, appliqué, patchwork, papermaking, felting, crochet, knitting and collage.

How did you start selling online?

I haven’t managed to set up an Etsy shop yet, but I have details of items for sale on my

Who or what inspires you?

When I decide to enter an exhibition or a competition, I find the theme or title often gives me the impetus I need to start jotting down ideas. 

Pat Russell’s tapestries and embroideries were my initial inspiration. 

I enjoy seeing how other artists incorporate lettering in their work. Denise Lach’s “Calligraphy: A Book of Contemporary Inspiration” is my current favourite.


Do you reduce, reuse, recycle as part of your creative process?  

As much as possible I do try to reuse things in my stash leftover from other projects, or things that others have discarded. 

Can you describe your workspace?

Now that my children have left home, I have bits and pieces in each of their bedrooms. Sadly I am not good at putting things away, so any vacant table spaces quickly fill up, and I have to resort to working on the kitchen table!

What is your favourite thing to make?

I need variety, so I enter as many competitions and exhibitions as I can to give me a creative challenge. 

I also really enjoy making multiples of my small books, which is very relaxing to do at night while watching TV documentaries. 

Where do you see your creative journey taking you in the next 12 months?

For the past two years, three friends and I have staged our “Shifting Seasons” exhibition in August at Richard Randall Studio, and we are doing it again this year.

I will continue entering competitions and exhibitions.

What’s your top tip to others wanting to break into the creative market?

Persistence and self-belief … and luck!

Describe your typical creative day?

It varies al lot. Some days I attend a craft group meeting, other days I work quietly by myself at home.

 Do you have a favourite quote?

“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” Willa Hoey

“All glory comes from daring to begin.” Eugene F. Ware

Do you like to listen to Music or watch TV while creating?

I prefer to work quietly when creating one-off artworks, but I watch TV documentaries when I’m mass-producing multiples of my merchandise items.

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?

A commissioned embroidered letter “S” on handmade paper by Pat Russell. 

And two calligraphy artworks from Donald Jackson (official calligrapher to the Queen)

Where can we find you online?
My merchandise items are on my website -

I also have my work for sale at -
Scattered Arts in Camp Hill
The Hut in Samford
Aspire at Paddington
Redcliffe Art Gallery Shop and various craft fairs. 

How long have you been a member of BrisStyle?

I joined in 2012.

How did you find out about BrisStyle?

I first saw the BrisStyle girls at a “Finders Keepers“ market, but in those days you had to have an Etsy shop to be a member of BrisStyle. 

When I attended a talk at a local library in 2012 I found out I could now join.

Why did you become a member?

I hoped to be able to reach a wider audience who would buy my merchandise.

Why do you craft?

I need craft to keep me sane. I find it relaxing, and I get a real buzz when someone says they like my work.

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