Hi everyone, the opening to my show, Mysteries of the Burning Bush, will be held at 6pm on Friday March 3 2017. It is at Gatakers Artspace 311 Kent St Maryborough. It is a triple opening, so you can also see works by two of my friends, Joolie Gibbs and Lynda Black, highly talented and accomplished artists. Hope you can make it.
Susan Zela Bissett clearly recalls her days as an art student at Maryborough Girls High in the late 1960s. “Our art teacher was Mr Alex Rotteveel, and he was the only male teacher in the whole school,” she recalls. The school became co-oeducational just a few years later, but by that time Susan Zela was in Brisbane studying art, firstly at the Gardens Point QUT and then at the Seven Hills Art College at Morningside, where she majored in high-fired ceramics. After seventeen years as a studio potter, Susan Zela began work with Education Queensland when her youngest child started school, and has worked as an educator ever since.
Once busy with full -time teaching, Susan Zela found herself needing an artistic medium that was not as demanding as pottery, and she discovered hand-made paper. Always interested in science, she began to experiment with Australian plants and environmental weeds to see which ones made successful papers. She also experimented with colouring the paper using plant dyes and earth pigments. Some of the results of this journey can be seen in her upcoming exhibition at Gatakers Artspace, 311 Kent Street, Maryborough which opens at 6pm on Friday March 3. The exhibition is entitled Mysteries of the Burning Bush, and it contains papers made from a range of plants including Cumbungi (bulrush), banana fibre and cunjevoi lily. The exhibition also includes works in which the papers are combined with textiles, especially wool felt.
“I never thought I would work with sewing or wool,” laughs Susan Zela. “The irony is that when I was a child growing up in Maryborough, my mother and aunt were both very keen dressmakers and knitters, and I didn’t want anything to do with it. Now I realise I should have tried to learn more from them!”
Susan Zela will also be showing works in some more traditional media, including painting and drawing. “I hope some of the skills Mr Rotteveel taught me have borne fruit,” she muses with a smile.
Susan Zela visits Maryborough several times each year when she takes part in Toastmasters training as part of her role on the executive of Gympie’s Toastmasters Club, Gympie Goal Diggers. She recalls, “After the last training day our club executive had a meeting over coffee at a café down on the Mary River. I really love what is happening with the historical wharf precinct and the preservation of the old heritage buildings. I am thrilled to be showing work at Gatakers Artspace because I think it is a wonderful venue and a very exciting building architecturally.” The theme of the exhibition deals with ways of using fire either destructively or creatively in managing land.
The opening is open to the public, and Susan Zela hopes to catch up with both new and old friends after the opening by Audrey Plate of the Gympie Toastmasters Club at 6.30pm on the evening of Friday March 3.