Let’s be very honest about it, there are some people in this world who sadly don’t have a creative bone in their body and there are others who have the ability to turn an item that is old and really past it’s used by date into beautiful to behold. One of those super creative people is Bribie Island Community Arts Centre “Artist of the Month,” Debra Mieth. Interestingly, it is normally Debra who introduces the Artist of the Month when they present their talk but for her talk, Debra was introduced to her audience by Venue Manager, Julie Thompson.
Featured Image(above): A great variety of Debra’s creations on display
Debra began her talk with an explanation of her earlier life and her (as she puts it) “several circumnavigations of the globe” and pointed out that as her maiden name was Hausmann, she has a connection to Baron Hausmann who directed Napoleon III to build Hausmann Boulevard in Paris and she told about having been on it during her time in Paris. Debra mentioned that while travelling with her partner Bruce, they carved their nicknames for each other on the top of the Notre Dame. ‘After returning to Australia, I completed a year of photography with Doug Spowart at his Imagery Gallery and with encouragement from Doug, I attended the Queensland College of Art in 1990 to study Introductory Art and Design,’ said Debra. ‘At that time, I had a toddler and was working as an ICU nurse,’ she added.
She told her audience about one instance when her tutor brought in a lot of smashed up model cars and said that they had to use them as subjects for a painting after lunch. ‘I chose a couple that looked as if they would be easy to paint but, when I returned from lunch, they had already been taken,’ Debra explained. ‘I got really angry and just started to let loose with the brush. The tutor took a look at what I had done and announced to the others that this was what he wanted them to do so I suppose that this is an example of when letting your anger out through art is a good thing,’ she said.
Those who attended Debra’s talk heard about when she was travelling around Australia, Debra found a little dress priced at thirty dollars in a Broome boutique and how she had made one just like it for fifty cents. This became her motivation to start making cheap clothes and sell them at the markets under her “Mona Dearlove Upcycled” label. ‘My clothing label is named for my seamstress mother and my grandmother whose fifty-eight- year-old Singer Sewing Machine I still use,’ Debra pointed out.
A love affair with colour
To see the products of both Debra’s clothing label and her “Colour Me Joy Upcycled” label leaves one with no doubt that this wonderfully creative artist loves colours and she describes her creations as an eclectic mix of Bohemian, vintage, retro and modern upcycled fashion, furniture and homewares that are the result of sewing, painting, drawing, glueing, and hammering as well as drilling, sanding and writing along with oodles of thinking. She said that she is inspired by numerous markets, galleries and the architectural marvels which she visited during her travels and paid tribute to the help she has received through the genius of others in various workshops and internet courses as well as those at the Bribie Island Community Arts Centre.
As another example of Debra’s love affair with bright colours, many of the seats and tables have been a target for her brush and visitors to the centre often remark on just how good they look. Debra is constantly creating new items of clothing and furniture which she sells at the Maleny Markets and as well as that, she is a valued volunteer at the Arts Centre.
NEXT MONTH The “Artist of the Month” is required to give a presentation at the centre on the second Friday of the month and with this in mind, I would recommend taking the time to hear the September Artist of the Month, Cheryl Mortimer talk about her passion for art. For more information, those who wish can pay a visit to the Art Centre on Sunderland Drive at Banksia Beach or call 3408 9288.