A DISPLAY WITH A DIFFERENCE
Whilst visitors to the Bribie Island Community Arts Centre often expect to be treated to displays of art in various styles and dimensions, I think that not many would be expecting to see the beautiful array of hats arranged as examples of the work by current “Artist of the Month,” Elizabeth Coghill.
Featured Image(above): A selection of the beautiful hats that Elizabeth has designed
Each month, the centre features the works of one particular artist and along with this comes the opportunity to attend an informative talk by the artist and I must say that I was pleased to be there while this talented and rather witty lady told her audience about her journey from a young girl to a talented milliner. Elizabeth described how, when only fourteen, she refused to stay at school. ‘My mother told me that if I wasn’t going back to school, I would have to get a job so I got one at a chemist shop,’ said Elizabeth.
‘I wasn’t very good at it, however, I didn’t know where the cough mixture was and I wouldn’t answer the phone so they didn’t take long to realise how wrong I was for that job,’ she explained. Apparently, an interest in hats led Elizabeth to attend a course on hat making at night and from this, she found employment at the well know firm of Brisbane hat manufacturers, Leuteneggers where her task in the production was to insert the headband.
Striking colours in this Mini Masterpiece
To indicate how hard she was expected to work, Elizabeth pointed out that, if she did thirty-six one day, she was expected to do thirty-seven the next. From Leuteneggers, Elizabeth went to work in a city workshop where she was appointed to the job of picking up pins until she worked her way up to assisting one of the milliners. As time went by and she became more talented, Elizabeth made hats which were sold in various Brisbane outlets until, as she put it, hats were out, due mainly to the rather high hairstyles of that era.
Milliner Extraordinaire – Elizabeth Coghill(left) and A beautiful example of what can be created in a small space(right)
This resulted in her putting her talents aside while she raised a family and it wasn’t until the public began wanting to wear similar fashions to those of Lady Di that hats again became popular. This, of course, was the catalyst for Elizabeth’s return to the industry and from then on her designs were sought after by many. For a time, Elizabeth worked at a TAFE college, passing on her very obvious skills to others and from what she talked about during the morning, it is obvious that her talent as a milliner has most certainly been responsible for current influences in hat design as well as the success of those who have learned from her.
A simple message on this Mini Masterpiece
As I mentioned earlier in this article, the Art Centre features a different artist each month and for July, the “Artist of the Month will be the very talented photographer and artist, Kathrin Dierich. Although the exhibition is finished now and the 2018 Eclectica display is on show in the Mathew Flinders Gallery, I must make mention of the outstanding art that was created for the Mini Masterpieces exhibition.
What can be achieved in such a small area never ceases to amaze me. To find out more about what the Bribie Island Community Art Centre has to offer, you can either call them on 3408 9288 or call into the centre which is on Sunderland Drive in Banksia Beach. Opening times are Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am.