Inspiring artist friends

At Chamonix from the mountain observation point.

At Chamonix from the mountain observation point.

This week was all about the importance of friendship. In 2017 I travelled to Taiwan as an invited artist to give a talk about my artwork and met a group of artists all of whom have been influential in my life since that time.

A woman of vision, Jan Fairbairn Edwards devised the Eco-Sublime Paper Biennale at the National Taiwan Craft Research Institute and there I spent time with some international artists, many of whom I visited last year in Europe and the UK. Among these artists was Viviane Colautti Ivanova who lives in Chamonix in the French Alps. This week we were able to enjoy her hospitality in her mountain home and see at first hand the effects of climate change on the melting glaciers - a prelude to my Iceland sojourn.

On Viviane’s terrace in Chamonix with the mountains in the background.

On Viviane’s terrace in Chamonix with the mountains in the background.

Ascending the mountain with Viviane as we wait for the small cabin to take us up to 3,000 feet.

Ascending the mountain with Viviane as we wait for the small cabin to take us up to 3,000 feet.

Yesterday we arrived at Geneva only to find that my Airbnb accomodation was inaccessible. The door would not open, the owner was away, the street was in a dingy neighbourhood and it was only through the good friendship of Viviane that she rang another artist friend who was also in the same exhibition with us in Taiwan, who came to my rescue and has put me up for the two nights before my flight to Reykjavik.

Marilou Pilou Glinz lives in Geneva near the Australian embassy so I felt right at home! Her garden is like a miniature world of paper making ingredients and we shared our stories of paper projects and how our art was all about the messages we interpreted through the medium of handmade paper. It was right in keeping with my week of working on my #5 day postcard challenge where participants were encouraged to “make art with a message”. Such surprising results from people who found a way to express their passions on a small postcard.

As the challenge came to an end I talked about my experience of getting support from encouraging artist friends and mentors. This week really brought it home to me how important this network of artist friends is and how much I learn from them. I am inspired by the studios of these two artist friends and their art making methods and am myself encouraged to try out new techniques with paper making in Iceland to create “art with my message”.

Marilou paper making in her garden in Geneva.

Marilou paper making in her garden in Geneva.

Heather Matthew