Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Sandra Stewart

Artist’s statement

Sandra may have enjoyed being hands on creative as a child but learned to hate art and creative subjects once she reached school. She could not draw, instead she wrote. Poetry was her preferred genre. By sitting in a space physically or in her mind she could use her 5 senses to create images with words. The value of alone time. Three years living and working in Botswana heightened this. It is her poetry about the events she observed or was part of, along with photos that take her back. On her return she taught a Kindergarten class and was determined to allow free art and craft exploration time for her students. All their work was treasured and displayed. If a leaf or a leg in craft was accidently removed with scissors Miss Stewart’s magic sticky tape would stop the flow of tears as the student placed the piece where they chose. Sometimes a conventional placement was incorporated but parts reconnected in different ways was another work of art to be completed and treasured.

Rediscovering the joys of paint and crayon in those years, they became an integral part of responding to my inner world. I started university study again 10 years ago and discovered photo manipulation as a means of expression and art. I also dabbled in collage and freeform knit and crochet. I found study as an older student fulfilling. I moved from student to sessional lecturer in education and started a PhD in an area I had fallen in love with as an undergraduate, Children’s Literature. The Creative Practice Circle drew me from the beginning as, my creativity is an unfulfilled part of me, although active contributions to practice are yet to be made. To understand the illustrations in children’s stories better for my thesis I commenced more formal learning in art. I am reading the images in my research in combination with text on a deeper level already. On a practical level I am challenged to experiment with ideas and media beyond my comfort zones. Exploring process and reflecting on this in a formal and informal way is part of my creative and professional practice and exploration. I journey towards rediscovering my creativity and new ways to express it in combination with an academic context.