Mary-Ellen Belleville refashions ‘found’ materials in whimsical and funs ways creating playful combinations of colour, texture, and form.
A few minutes with Mary-Ellen…
Mary-Ellen is Geelong born, but now calls the beautiful, coastal area of Breamlea home. Each day begins with a beach walk. The broad horizons of sea, sky, wetlands, are a constant inspiration – and a bountiful source of natural materials. A frequent bush-camper, she scours the forest floor for weathered wood, bark, leaves; when by the ocean – shells, seaweed, flotsam; and as an avid op shopper, there’s always treasures to refashion! She loves to break the rules of embellishment and ‘terrorise’ the materials, whilst retaining hints of the former purpose of the garment or found object.
Currently, Mary-Ellen is creating ocean-themed brooches and pendants – ‘joolery’ is the term she’s coined for these wearable art pieces. Creating 2-D collages that combine textiles, natural ‘finds’ – anything that catches her eye for its textural interest or beauty – are works in progress. In 2021 she will submit an entry, and hopes to be shortlisted for the Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award, and will again submit to CrossXpollination.
In 2020, Mary-Ellen was extremely lucky to continue to ‘play and experiment’ with textiles in her mobile-home for several months, with her on-board trove of found treasures, pencils, paints and yarns.
Visiting galleries and exhibitions usually sparks ideas – and these can be from decorative 18th century porcelain to elaborate historical costumes. But more often it’s the ‘found’ materials themselves that inspire Mary-Ellen to refashion them in often whimsical, fun or strange ways – making playful combinations of colour, texture, and form.
Whilst not a ‘piece’ of advice per se, the four years spent studying in the studios of Melbourne State College as a mature age student are hugely treasured by Mary-Ellen. Being fully immersed and surrounded by creative people, and tutors who encouraged ‘out of the box’ thinking in all media, be it printmaking, sculpture, woodwork etc. Her favourite quotes are two. “Be optimistic, go for broke, always try to do too much – dispense with safety nets – aim for the stars” (unknown author) and “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”. (William Morris).
View Mary-Ellen’s whimsical creations here.