It’s going to be difficult to write this article without revealing a little artist crush. Okay… a big artist crush. I’ve made no secret of this fact: I’d really like to be blessed with creative genes in my next life. Please! If I come back next time around with even half as much talent as the lovely Rebecca Kissling, I’ll be truly happy.
RebeccA Kissling: Talking Up Tasmania
Rebecca is not just an accomplished artist; she also displays qualities I really admire. She’s passionate about Tasmania; cares about others in the community and speaks proudly of her artistic colleagues. Rather than view other artists as competitors in a tenuous market, Rebecca talks of the collective quality of local work as a healthy asset. “With the right marketing, Tasmanian art could be so beneficial for tourism in the state,” she declares.
Also noteworthy is a passion for the plight of endangered Tasmanian wildlife. Rebecca’s own photographs from Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary have been made into postcards. The wildlife postcards are sold in store, and every cent goes directly to the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal. The yellow, external walls of the studio gallery are adorned with Tassie Tails; and brilliant frosted-glass stencils decorate the windows.
Inside the gallery, artwork promotes awareness of extinct or endangered Tasmanian species. A framed replica Tasmanian Tiger pelt handmade by Rebecca takes pride of place on the gallery wall. There are plans to showcase similar versions of other wildlife (including a very handsome imitation spotted quoll pelt) on a new easel in store soon.
Recycling, Sustainability and Natural Fibres
Frames utilising recycled materials are made in the store’s workshop. As resident artist of the studio gallery, Rebecca also works in-house on the time-consuming and labour intensive process of making her own felt, using a variety of natural fibres. Materials used in Rebecca’s artwork include the softest micro Australian pure merino wool, alpaca fibres, silk, leathers and feathers. Rebecca is always incorporating new and unique fibres: imported possum fur, for example. The New Zealand possum is an introduced species and currently culled as an environmental pest.
Using her own handmade felt, Rebecca designs and creates her signature range of wearable art. High-end and distinctive, Rebecca was honoured to represent Tasmania on the catwalk at Art on Legs. “I was very proud and quite emotional, seeing my creations on those beautiful, young models, thinking… I made that!” she revealed.
Art on Legs and Walls and…
The destiny of Rebecca’s artwork varies. One local customer gifted her daughter a “quoll jacket” that she now wears proudly in New York. That same customer also displays her own gallery piece on the back of her favourite chair, rather than wearing as a garment. The clothes and collars do look seriously stunning on display in the gallery, and would make for impressive, conversational wall art if they were to remain forever on their coat-hangers.
Customers who appreciate her work as static art rather than clothing will soon be in for a treat. Rebecca has plans to diversify with a similar, yet new and exciting realm. We’re privy to the secret details for now, but we’ll definitely return to the studio gallery when the exciting range is launched.
Diversification is not foreign to Rebecca. Like many others in Hobart and all regions of Tasmania, Rebecca has had to reinvent her small business to reposition her product in the marketplace. She closed her shop briefly, and after a classy refurbishment, reopened the Battery Point establishment as a studio gallery.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Rebecca continually explores innovative ways to showcase her art to the world. She sees potential in the ties between Denmark and Tasmania, capitalising on the popularity of Taroona sweetheart, Princess Mary. She can also envisage great opportunities for the local artisan community at the new cruise ship terminal in Hobart.
Enthusiasm and positive energy spill from this Hobart native; and while she acknowledges times may be tough right now, Rebecca predicts a bright and prosperous future for Tasmanian people. We can consider ourselves very lucky that Rebecca Kissling brought her skills and unique talent back to her home town from Melbourne four years ago. And that she plans to stay for the duration.
Besides the upmarket felt and fibre artworks at RebeccA’s Studio Gallery, you’ll also find Huon Pine and Blackwood brooches; a fine range of colourful scarves; gorgeous Australian opal jewellery (made by Rebecca’s two brothers) as well as clever, intricate animal sculptures (made by a friend).
For more information phone (03) 6223 6013; follow RebeccA’s Studio Gallery on Facebook or visit Rebecca in person at 35-37 Sandy Bay Road in Battery Point. The gallery is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm, Wednesday to Saturday (combine with a visit to Salamanca Market) or other times by appointment.
Think Tasmania readers could win their own wearable classic. Rebecca has offered a hand-dyed pure merino woolen winter scarf as a giveaway prize for one lucky subscriber. The unisex scarf is soft and gorgeous. Valued at $95-00, it will be coming your way soon!
17 June 2013 ~ The time has come. The draw to win a winter scarf from RebeccA’s Studio Gallery is now open. Good luck everyone.
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