Basket maker and sculptor Lissa-Jane de Sailles left Nowra on the weekend, bound for the rolling hills of Ireland.
The local artist was the recent recipient of the Veolia Mulwaree Travelling Scholarship and will spend the next month honing her craft under the guidance of teachers in Ireland and England, before sharing her own talents in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Lissa-Jane first began her basketry journey in 2011 and was the winner of the 2012 Shoalhaven Women’s Conference Personal Development Grant.
The community grant played a major role in giving Lissa-Jane the opportunity to train under well-known local master basket maker Jim Wallace, who sadly passed away earlier this year.
“He was great and he really developed my technique,” Lissa-Jane said.
Lissa-Jane first became interested in basketry during her university studies.
“I studied history at Wollongong University and I was interested to know why we didn’t keep making baskets,” she said.
“Basketry used to be taught in schools but after in the 1960’s, everything was made from plastic.”
While she’s only been doing basketry for the last few years, Lissa-Jane said art and craft has always played a major part in her life.
“I’ve always done craft, my mum taught me to knit and I was crocheting when I was eight,” she said.
“I was a professional dancer for a while so I made all my own costumes and I still make my own clothes now.”
“I just started fiddling on my own with very little knowledge but I’ve always have very good fine motor skills which helped.”
Finding inspiration in her surroundings has never been difficult.
“I use all materials, all locally and rubbish is just like a treasure for me,” Lissa-Jane said.
“I don’t really have a favourite material and I’ve made so many baskets i’m able to incorporate them all.”
Lissa-Jane hosted her first solo exhibition at the Shoalhaven City Arts Centre last year and received positive reviews from well-known artist Max Dingell. Lissa-Jane now sells her work through the centre as well as online.
She was also a finalist in the Craft NSW emerging artist award.
The constantly developing artist is looking forward to her overseas adventure, particularly her time in Ireland.
“I’ll be doing a course with master basket maker Joe Hogan who has been making baskets since the 1970s,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to developing my technique and learning new ones that I can bring home.”