Conversations with the Makers

An array of questions to fibre/textile artists and their answers.

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Conversation with Patsy Bush Australia

I find the prospect of creating art fascinating. I can hardly wait to start and I rarely run out of ideas. I really love the process of making art and would like this enjoyment to come through my work. Printmaking allows me to make multiple images.  These can then be incorporated into a variety of different art forms such as artists’ books, 3D works, textiles, collages, scanned into the computer and manipulated. I don’t like creating perfect pieces; rather I like a random, accidental look. I feel very fortunate to be able to devote as much time as I want to art and hope to do so for a very long time! 

CONVERSATION WITH THE MAKER(CWTM) Did you always envision a life as an artist?

PATSY BUSH(PB)As far back as I can remember I have loved to draw. It was the one thing I could do well but I had no idea this could lead to a career. So I became a teacher. However I  ended up teaching graphics, illustration, computer graphics and printmaking all of which have inspired and delighted me.


CWTM What was your first experience with making art?

PB I can remember teaching myself how to draw everything to do with the coronation in 1953. I was 5 years old.

 CWTM Do you have a dedicated studio?

PB In a central Geelong studio/gallery called artIs… I am one of six artists each with a separate studio plus a commercial gallery space. It is so good to have like-minded people around to bounce ideas and share our love of art. I also have a studio (converted garage) at home which I share with two dogs. Both studios are jam packed with art equipment and art works. Honestly, what do you do with all the art work you accumulate?


CWTM Can you describe a typical day?

PB Up early, walk the dogs and/or go to the gym. Breakfast with Rod (husband) at our favourite café. Very indulgent I know. Then off to Geelong to spend a productive day at my studio. Get caught up seeing different people who come into the gallery so don’t get as much done as I intended. But the social interaction is stimulating.

 CWTM Would you consider your art making to be more about the process than the outcome?

PB I love the process. Coming up with ideas and how to realise them. The whole thing is like a 3D  puzzle. Every time you solve one part another is revealed.


CWTM Do you agree that a small element of uncertainty about the finished look is what makes the process of creating so enticing?

PB Certainly. The journey always leads to new areas which I had never envisioned but which makes the whole process so exciting.

CWTM Any indispensable tools or equipment?

PB All my books, my computer (MacBook Air) and my etching presses. Yes, I have two! A big one and, inspired by Annie Day and Robin Ezra, a beautiful baby press.


CWTM Do your pieces start with a planned course of action or are they more spontaneous?

PB A bit of both. I like to design my prints, mostly because the process is quite involved and the overall design needs to work. But I also tend to change direction as I go.

 CWTM How do you know when to “stop” – when do you consider a piece actually finished?

PB Sometimes I get a feeling that a piece is completely right. So I stop. Usually I keep fiddling and often end up making it worse.

 CWTM Your greatest source of inspiration is….

PB Without a doubt Fibe Forums. I am always inspired and energised by the wonderful people I meet there as well as being overawed and inspired by brilliant tutors.


CWTM Favourite quote?

PB I had to look up quotes by artists and I like this one by Iris Murdoch:

“All art deals with the absurd and aims at the simple”.


CWTM When do you do your best creative thinking?

PB Walking, sleeping and swimming.

 CWTM What do you enjoy most about your work?

PB It is never ending. There are always new techniques to learn as well as improving the ones I know.


CWTM Best advice you’ve ever received?

PB In 1990 – “Computers can really help you in your art”

 CWTM Worst advice you’ve ever received?

PB “Of course you can teach year 7 & 8 maths” – I tried for a year and I was REALLY bad

 CWTM Best part of your day?

PB Definitely a morning person!


CWTM Who would be 6 people that you would invite to dinner?

PB Our son-in-law to cook the meal, my husband to serve drinks, Stephen Fry who seems to be interested in a lot of things and would be a good conversationalist, Marianne Little who taught me so much about paper and artists’ books. A couple from beyond the grave, both of whom produced their best work after the age of 60. Rosalie Gascoigne whose use of found objects is inspiring, and Hokusai who said on his death bed, “If only Heaven would give me another ten years …. Just another five more years then I could become a real painter.”


CWTM What inspires your creativity?

PB Everything really. In particular a day in Melbourne and going on holidays .


CWTM What are you excited about right now in the world of textile art?

PB The exciting thing about all art is the blurring of the boundaries between all the disciplines.

 CWTM You’d be lost without…

PB my iPhone. It has all my contacts and reminders. It takes great photos and helps me find my way.


CWTM What would you do with a few extra hours each day? 

PB I keep meaning to sort out my cupboards. Maybe extra hours would mean I would do this. But I doubt it!

 CWTM Your favourite luxury in life?

PB Having retired I love the freedom this gives to my days. It feels like such a luxury to wake up and know I don’t have to go to work. 


CWTM Has the advancement of computers and technology impacted your work?

PB I completed a graduate diploma of computer education way back in 1994 and have taught computer graphics for over 20 years. I love using photoshop and illustrator both as aids and as art forms in their own right.


CWTM Is it important for us to be recognized by the art world and if so, how can we help affect that change?

PB An online presence is important so is exposure in galleries and media outlets.


CWTM What is next for you?

PB I am involved in a print exchange in October and our artIs… group is working towards a group exhibition next year.