Brabion by Mary-Ellen Belleville


‘Brabion’ meaning victory wreath

Medium: Silk neck tie, upcycled knitwear, twigs with lichen, costume jewellery

Dimensions: 36 x 16 x 10cm

Here is my ‘victory wreath’ woman – roughly the meaning of the word Brabion.  I can invest in her all the stature and strength a woman needs in a challenging world.  She is forthright, reliable, and proud.  On any day that is overwhelming me I look to Brabion for inspiration and confidence.

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Mary-Ellen Belleville has ‘dabbled’ with textiles since completing her Bachelor of Education (Art & Craft) in 1979, majoring in ceramics and textiles. Around that time she exhibited in graduation student shows at the Meat Market, Melbourne and also exhibited at the Gryphon Gallery at Melbourne State College and at Distelfink Gallery, Melbourne.

A career in the food and hospitality industry took over the creative juices and energies for more than 20 years. Always keen to explore the myriad aspects of textile arts, Mary-Ellen continued attending artist workshops, exploring various textile arts techniques.

In more recent years Mary-Ellen’s three dimensional textile pieces have been selected for exhibition at CrossXpollinatioN - a festival of textile and fibre art held annually in Colac. In 2014, the theme was “love, loss and what I wore” and Mary-Ellen was delighted that her textile-collar was acquired for the Deakin University collection.

Basically I love to ‘play’ with textiles and found objects, often collected whilst camping in the bush, or by the ocean. Hence the idea for creating multiple sculptures grew from making the first ‘voodoo doll’. The process involves a lot of pins!

I really enjoyed creating the first doll, a sort of ‘ocean nymph’ and then the others came into existence simply by constantly keeping a bowerbird eye out for various leaves, seaweed, bark, weather-beaten plastics, gorgeous fabrics, broken jewellery. With a treasure trove of bits and pieces I ornament the paper mache mannequins that are in turn whimsical, elegant, organic, militaristic or simply fun”.