Bobbi Oliver

You're currently exhibiting with fellow textile artist and friend Wilma Simmons at Timeless Textiles, tell us how you met?

I met Wilma Simmons through Ann's Glory Box a fine textile shop in Newcastle, NSW AU where the shop sponsored a fabric doll club called Hello Dollies. We got to know each other at the monthly meetings and found we loved similar styles in Art dolls, and mixed media. Over the 14 years we have known each other we have explored through, workshops and play days many different mediums such as various polymer and air dry clays, silver clay, and natural dyes, cold and hot dyes, paints, wax, angelina to colour and texture, plus various sewing and combining of textiles with paper to create our mixed media sculpture. We still meet monthly after all these years with the now combined club called Gumnut Dollies where we get together with others interested in textiles and many other mediums. We have never failed to inspire each other in our separate endeavours.

Have you always been interested in textiles and clay?

I actually started my Arts exploration as a two dimensional artist/oil painter as a pre-teen. I was introduced to ceramic clay in my late teens. I immediatelyfell in love with clay and I went on to be a production potter for 30 years. I found a love of textiles when I discovered polymer clay and the world of Art Dolls after immigrating to Australia in 1999 and discovered all the beautiful fabrics available to create with.

Did you attend art school?

  I was fortunate to have 9 years of private Art instruction in addition to Art classes in grades school and high school in the USA. In those days it was an important part of the courses offered in the public schools in the USA. After high school, I attended Junior College and received an Associated Arts Degree in Ceramics. I went on to Humboldt State University in California and received a  Bachelors of Arts degree in studio art with an emphasis in sculpture.

"Snow Queen", "Medicine Woman" and "Pathfinder" all appear to have strong stories about who they are and what they represent. Tell us more about these sculptures.

I have an interest in ancient religions and spiritual practices for many years, "Snow Queen", is rendition of Dark Beira, she was the mother of all the gods and goddesses in Scotland.  She would freeze the ground with her staff to chase away the spring. I find the stories interesting and colourful. So much of our world today is based in these ancient beliefs and we don't even realise it.

The sculpture, "Medicine Woman", is a universal deity/ goddess in most cultures portrayed as a healer or shaman. In most ancient cultures women provided life's and could take and or protect life. She was held in high esteem and held in high esteem for her powers. 

"Pathfinder" has many meanings to me, she is the part in each of us as we ook for and discovers our individual paths in life. She can also symbolise the women in each family that holds the family unit together and keeps that family on their path.

I enjoy finding the story in each of my sculptures, the story isn't something I find in advance of creating each piece, it is found after the piece is finished.

Where else can we see your work?

I share my new works on my Facebook page "Bobbi Oliver Lambo Art" and also announce where my next show will be on this page. I show at Psychic Faires around the state and other art faires and markets regularly.

~ Interview by Ahn Wells May 2016

Bobbi Oliver is exhibiting with Wilma Simmons at Timeless Textiles until Sunday 12 June 2016