Monday, July 14, 2014

Meet the Maker - Michelle Auer - The Attic

Hello there and welcome to another edition of our Meet the Maker series.  This morning we're getting up close with Michelle from The Attic.

How would you describe your work?
I have a passion (obsession?!) with vintage ephemera papers that I love to incorporate into my works.

Who or what inspires you?
I have always created – for over 20 odd years I was an exhibiting artist with my mixed media and print making works. When we moved to Brisbane three years ago I just never got around to unpacking my art implements! Instead I sought out local markets and decided to incorporate my love of book binding and my vintage ephemera collection and focus on a niche that I hadn’t seen at any market or store anywhere.

Do you reduce, reuse, recycle as part of your creative process?  If yes, how is your art/craft eco-friendly?
I love to reuse and recycle all that I find along the way. A lot of my ephemera papers are things most people throw out like old invoices, movie tickets, stamps etc. Every little piece is ‘valuable’ to my collection and most have some story that I can weave into a new beginning. What I am unable to use I save and hand them on to others to use in their unique works.

Describe your studio/workspace?
My studio is ever changing. I am constantly evolving and creating and most times my mind is working faster than my hands! I have a small studio with lots of light that overlooks the local park. Nearly all of its walls are graffitied on! I use my walls to document my ideas, favourite inspirational quotes & other designers work hang in these surroundings. Then there are shelves upon shelves of musty old books & pages from books that have seen the passing of time!

What is your favourite thing to make?
My favourite thing to make would be my journals & my palimpsest wood blocks. I find binding my journals very therapeutic. As I work on each one, I create little stories in my head of who the journal will find to be its keeper.

When I find a gorgeous original photograph of someone long ago and incorporate it into its new home on the wood block, I build a story up of that person and hopefully when one looks at it, they too can see the connection of intimacy between the image and that of the ephemera papers I have used.

How did your business/shop name come about?
I have always been inspired by my Scottish grandmother, who loved to weave a tale about her travels as a young girl from Scotland to Australia. I always believed as a child that she had a secret attic filled with wonderful treasures from her trip over the seas and that I would find hidden in her tea chests, a collection of old photographs, books and love letters from a past long ago. When she passed away I discovered she didn’t have an attic! And the only letters she had were the ones that I had written to her as a young girl. At that moment I decided that one day I would gift myself her ‘attic’. Hence, this is where my name came from, The Attic.

Where do you see your creative journey taking you in the next 12 months?
I can see already that I am definitely heading full circle back into my art. In the back of my mind I can see these little palimpsest wood blocks manifesting into major art works and I am excited at the prospect.

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?
My favourite handmade item would have to be ‘ Jess’, my hoop art by designer Tracy Chaplin who’s label is GretelGirl. I love Tracy’s work so much!
A VERY close 2nd is the Sybella label by our own Belinda Chisholm. I have a lovely ever-growing collection of her divine bags!

Where can we find you online/stockists?

You can find my work at
The State Library Gift Shop

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