Sunday, May 10, 2009

Doilies and Pearls, Oysters and Shells

Esme Timbery (Russell) is a celebrated indigenous shell artist whose works are exhibited throughout Australia. She is a Bidjigal woman and lives and works in La Perouse near Botany Bay, Sydney. She began collecting and sorting shells according to size and colour in 1936 at the age of five. She learnt the names of shells and the times of the year she was most likely to find them from her near family. By the age of seven she began creating shellworked brooches, shellworking cane baskets, picture frames, baby's booties and harbour bridges made of fabric covered cardboard. In the early 1950s she and her sister Rose started selling her work and until the mid-1990s her shellworks were sold only to weekend tourists to The Loop at La Perouse or through Laddie Timbery's shop in Huskisson, Jervis Bay. In 2007 Esme featured in an ABC TV documentary titled, 'She Sells Sea Shells.' More recently two Australian designers,
Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales from Romance was born were introduced to Esme’s work and became so knocked out by it they invited her to decorate their shoes for the Australian Fashion Week collection titled ‘Doilies and Pearls, Oysters and Shells.’

1 comment:

Pam Walter said...

Her work is fascinating and it's sad to read that she is one of the last shell artists. I hope she is passing the heritage along to someone.