Pressed flowers are the best flowers, and our resident crafty expert must agree because she’s designed a whole kit! We caught up with Lisa Mallet-Zimmerman on what it means to be a crafter extraordinaire who also somehow manages to don about 20 other hats!
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hello, my name is Lisa Mallett-Zimmerman. I am an artist, crafter, photographer, writer, secondary teacher, university student (again!) and a mother of two boys.
2. How did your art journey begin? Did you always feel a pull to be creative?
I have been artistic from a very young age and believe that if you are a creative person then it is always a part of who you are. Knowing this simple truth about yourself is the easy part, navigating a career in the arts, however, can be a very exciting and complex journey.
As a child I spent much of my time drawing, painting, crafting, and sculpting. My grandfather on my father’s side was a painter, and he put a brush in my hand as soon as I could hold one. My nana on my mother’s side is also a painter and crafter, so I had a lot of family influence in the Arts. I also have a keen interest in the Sciences and have studied both Science and Art. I first completed a Bachelor of Science at The University of Melbourne, majoring in Genetics and Biochemistry. I then completed a Diploma of Education and started a career in secondary teaching as a fresh 21-year-old. I taught Chemistry, Biology and Maths for the first 7 years, but always felt a pull towards the Arts. I returned to study part time at the Victorian College of the Arts and completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Visual Arts, which also allowed me to teach Art.
This was a most enjoyable balance for me, and I was content in my teaching career. I had a pause in my career for a while when I had children, my two sons Thomas and Max. While juggling the baby, toddler, and pre-school years, I had the wonderful opportunity to start some freelance writing, photography, art, and craft making.
You have moments in your life where everything feels like it’s falling into place, and this was one of them. Creating the artwork for Hinkler led me to writing manuscripts and illustration briefs, and eventually doing the photography for the projects I work on. I feel lucky all the time to have the opportunity to work in the creative arts. It has by no means been a direct path, but if you keep practising your art, and say yes to any opportunity that arises, then you can find yourself in a profession that you love!
3. What’s your favourite thing about being an artist?
My two most favourite things about being an artist are firstly, the process itself. I find it very calming to sit for hours lost in creativity. Secondly, the satisfaction of completing a piece of artwork to share and enjoy.
4. A day in the life of an artist, walk us through your creative process!
I always start by finding inspiration from other sources, a research process that involves accumulating lots of design ideas. I might visit art, craft or jewelry shops, art galleries, a garden, flick through books or search the internet, depending on the art I am creating. I then start with some draft or mockup designs, playing with colour, line, form, texture, and style. The creative process involves gaining feedback and suggestions for changes, which happens in a structured process between myself and the editors at Hinkler. Once final designs are approved, I get to work on creating and photographing the final art or craft pieces.
5. What do you love to do in your spare time? (Apart from creating magnificent crafts, of course!)
I am slightly obsessed with trees and plants, which has led me into studying a Master of Urban Horticulture at The University of Melbourne’s Burnley Campus. I also volunteer in the gardens at Heidi Museum of Modern Art. My sons are both very active in their own interests in sport and music, and I am very involved at their primary school and sporting clubs.
6. Any advice you have for a budding artist who’s just starting out?
My advice is to always create your own work, put your work out into the world and always say yes to any opportunities that comes your way. I have always created my own artwork, just for myself or my friends and family. I have the great opportunity to be creative in my professional work at this point in time, but whether I am gaining an income from it or not, I always create. This keeps your practical and fine motor skills up to scratch and keeps your mind thinking about pleasing designs, compositions and colour palettes. It also strengthens and defines your unique personal style.
You can follow Lisa's journey here: @lisa.mallett_zimmerman