Diana Brandt

In the late 1980’s when I discovered Folk Art I was immediately drawn to the rustic nature of Spanschachteln (bentwood boxes) and the traditional folk art painting of Europe known as Bauernmalerei or peasant painting.

The procedure of achieving an aged patina on wood enticed me to try and emulate the aged appearance of pieces found in Museums of Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Scandinavia.

This research led me to understand the development of Naive folk art throughout the world and the way these pieces told stories of farmers’ lives that had been recorded on their boxes.

This story telling has become my theme over the years.  I now make journals to record my thoughts, insights, travel and daily meanderings; written by hand and then illustrated in watercolour.  I also make boxes to hold precious exhibition books which tell stories or record a day, and others to hold memorabilia to record a trip or special time in my life.

Artists Books have become a major part of my practice over the past 10 years.  I was originally taught at Primrose Paper Arts and at Textile Fibre Forum where I made my first books and boxes.  They are often based on a theme such as ‘Passeggiata’, or as exhibition pieces such as ‘Waratah’ and ‘Seed’ (image below right).

Passeggiata (images below) is the first artists’ exhibition piece I made using paper in 2007.  This was during a particularly sad time of my life and I used to walk around looking at the footpath in Leichhardt where I began to notice the patterns on the footpath.  This piece is a combination of handmade papers, monoprints and rusted paper.

Books and handmade boxes have become a place to hold memories that give my life meaning and a reason to explore my creativity and insightful experiences so that they are not lost. 

I believe that as I open my eyes and spirit fully, I see more deeply so that I can reveal those insights in the books.

 As I still like to play with acrylic paint I also enjoy mark making and monoprints on paper, some of which are then used to cover the books and boxes and also as pages in my sketchbooks.