WAFTA Interview with Tania Spencer

September 12, 2021

Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up on a farm, 17km west of Wave Rock, mycareer path was agriculture, tourism hospitality, food retail, agriculture, fashion manufacturing, fashion retail,then full time artist. I live a busy life in Lake Grace with my husband. We run shearing teams, a wool buying business, bulk and general freight company and have a small farm, we have a daughter who is a beauty therapist at Bodhi J’s.

Is there a particular artist(s)that has influenced you? If so, who would that be and what is it that appealed to you most about their art?

I would’ve loved to meet Bronwyn Oliver. My family gave me a trip to Tarrawarra to see her post humous retrospective – mind blowing exquisite work. Every time I‘m in Sydney I go to the Botanic Gardens to see the cones and the seed pods she has there or to the Hilton to see Vine - its magnificent.

How would you describe your art? Textile, fibre,installation, structural etc. (photo of your work)

Maybe archival textiles? I love things that are line and have negative space, it allows the immediate environment into the work

How much time would you spend on your art?

It varies I’m usually messing around with some form of creativity almost every day to madly intense round the clock sessions sometimes, though I’ve been pretty consistent this year because I’m so incredibly busy. This is being written at 10.45 at night. I work late quite often.


Describe your 'studio' space. Is it large, small,tidy, chaotic?  Do you know where everything is?

I live in an old bakery so I have two parts to my studiothe shop where they sold the bread is my “clean area”and the back where the bread was baked is myworkshop area, oh and I work in the carport because welding and my luscious Axminster carpet don’t mix! It's all pretty chaotic really

Do you keep a sketchbook?  If so, how do you use it?

I have a combination of loose leaf sketch books I draw on anything and everything

meeting notes, shopping lists, accounts,

cartridge ,copy paper etc. I gave up on bound books they don’t work for me, I’m left handed so have to use them back to front anyway.

What influences your art and your choice of materials?  Colour, shape, texture, physicality,tactility?

I decide on art materials for their malleability and potential to be used as a linear element.

Which is interesting as I choose fabric for clothing according to its sensuous tactile nature.

Do you work in a series, with a theme? Is there something in particular to which you respond?

I like to work with related themes and I keep returning to some subject repeatedly.

Do you teach art classes? Have you held any exhibitions, entered and won any art prizes?  And if so, do you hold any one of these honours closer to your heart that the others?

Been teaching for 10 years exhibiting for 20, enter theodd competition, usually for the exhibition opportunity more than anything.  Probably my first prize for making a poster for the CWA Gardening Day when I was in grade 2, I think I won $2.00! I remember thinking I had it made, lollies were 3 for 1 cent then!

If you were marooned on a deserted island, whatt hree art items would you like to have with you?

Oh that’s easy! Pliers, Flush cutters and a roll of wire!

Finally:  Why art? What does art mean to you?

I love making stuff. Everything!

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