Clunes artist Karolina has a simple premise behind her complex work. She is seeking to reconnect with the child she was.
Born in north Queensland, Karolina came to Victoria because of its reputation as a place where the arts were supported.
“It’s quite a dynamic place,” says Karolina. “It generally has a great support for the arts.”
Karolina – her complete name – says she looked to move back to the country once she had established herself as an artist.
“I missed the country. I bought this place in Clunes and it’s just been magical.”
Her home is filled with characters created out of wool stitch and other materials, and there’s a sense of a complete world created with the imagination of children in mind.
“I just think children are incredible aspects of who we are as human beings. I’m very respectful when I’m around them,” she says.
“I’d like to bring people into the reality that my three-and-a-half year-old self experienced as a child.”
Karolina’s home is a former schoolhouse which has been relocated several times before finding its place along the edge of a channel that leads to the Creswick Creek.
It’s surrounded by a garden filled with mosaic paths, sculptures and a quote from the poet Rabindranath Tagore inlaid into a wall: “God waits to win back his own flowers as gifts from man's hands.”
“I can’t live without this environment. It’s home, it’s very grounding to me. It’s nourishing, it’s inspirational.
A multidisciplinary artist working in painting, craft and textile work, puppetmaking and sculpture, Karolina is also a children’s author. Her first book is Concetta the Pig’s Secret to Happiness.
“Concetta the Pig’s Secret to Happiness embodies caring and sharing, and she explores emotions through her friendships. She was born of experiences and ideas I had as a child growing up in rural north Queensland.”
“A lot of my childhood was based on caring for animals, and in caring for these animals there were conversations and relationships tat you would have if you were a human being.”
Karolina is currently working on a piece that will be entered in the Blake Prize for Religious Art. It’s an exploration of herself as a child.
“When she comes into fruition, I feel the portholes of my childhood will open,” says Karolina.
“At the end of the day we only have our truth beside us.”
This interview is the latest addition to The Courier’s What’s Art Got to do With It? video project.