Tracey Deep: Flora and Fauna
Fibre Arts Take Two spoke with fibre artist Tracy Deep about her latest exhibition. Tracy had some beautiful insights into her stunning work.
Tracey’s Friday Feature Artist Interview can be found at the bottom of this page.
Born from a passion for the rich floral wonders our environment provides, from seed to bloom to the afterlife, Tracy Deep’s floral sculptures capture a moment in time, celebrating the transition between life and death in nature.
A natural collector. Tracy began her journey as an artist at a very young age, collecting rocks for high school projects, often spending her lunchtimes with her art teachers, and being enchanted by the whimsy that nature provides.
In her early work as a florist, Tracy learned how different objects can work together, share space and reflect or absorb the light. In Tracy’s world, traditional use-by dates are ignored. Her studio is a nature lover’s wonderland, filled to the brim with dried and decaying flora, old industrial materials, bits and pieces and found objects destined for a new life.
Tracy’s floral sculptures are sought after to transform a space creating depth and directing the eye to the Wonder beyond. Fibre Arts Take Two caught up with Tracy tonight about her new exhibition and obsession with floral sculptures that has lasted over 20 years.
Tracy’s latest show is Fauna. “A lot of the materials in this show actually are like ‘hunter-gatherer’.” Tracy says of the natural influence strongly evident in her show, “It’s a very fibre-based body of work. I totally went wild with it because the inspiration was fauna.”
As Tracy worked, she discovered a more profound inspiration, ”I’ve been gathering material and not realising till I started the work that it all relates to the devastating bushfires that affected our Australian fauna in 2019 and 2020. There was a lot of looking inwards and outwards and wanting to better the planet after experiencing something like that.
I wanted to focus on the fauna, which is why it’s a very overly textual show.”
One of Tracy’s most arresting pieces is also titled Fauna. “Every piece of willow that’s been charred has been wracked with fibre. And then at the end is this beautiful cascading of the fibre. To me, it’s got the texture of fauna, and it’s got the movement of a beautiful moss tree.”
The stunning, flowing piece creates an obvious temptation for patrons, one that Tracy is all too aware of. “I allow people to have a little touch because it’s another way of connecting to the work. I wanted you to see the movement in it so sometimes there’s a breeze, then you get that subtle bit of motion, which is really beautiful. It’s got that beautiful playfulness.”
“Dragonfly got its name because of this beautiful iridescent finish,” says Tracy of another of her beautiful pieces. “It’s from a metallic fibre that I sourced. I wound around another labour of love, some willow and then wire on the ends. It’s interesting because I’ve never used a fibre like this before. And I love that it almost looks metallic. Some people thought it was made out of copper. It’s exciting to throw yourself in the deep end and the challenge is simply new material.”
Light and shadow
The pandemic has made showing art more difficult, but Tracy is never one to be put off. “Because the art gallery has been closed, I’ve decided to make an interpretation of the work for my show. People can actually see it by driving past the window. I’ve chopped some sticks and they’ve all been twisted and turned and that’s like the spirit of the tree. And then it floats. It just floats quite beautifully. And it just fit perfectly in the window.”
For the best view of the tree head past in the evening. “When it gets darker it just becomes this beautiful floating, magical spirit of the tree. Everything really comes alive in the evening, when the lights outside come down, then they seem to just jump off the wall.”
Light and shadow is something that Tracy treasures, “The shadow ends up being like the spirit of the work. It’s like the sketch of the work as well, because I draw with the material. So that’s an added bonus when we say the beautiful shadows.”
“I start by just playing,” Tracy says when asked about her process, “I’ll play with fibre and I’ll see what it might match with, what material it might go the most beautifully with. Then, once I’m happy with that marriage of the fibre with the material, I start working on that. As it grows, because my studio is so full, I’ll go out into the walkway of my building. I hold it up and I know, pretty quickly. Once it kind of picks that right spot in my heart, then I know that’s gonna be that. Sometimes I’ll photograph a few times as well. and then you just know straight away. It’s cool. It’s pulling at your heartstrings. And that’s definitely going to be a beautiful piece of art that I’m going to birth into the world.”
From your heart
Tracy has some final inspiring words for budding artists. “We should learn to trust our feelings, our hearts, our intuition. I think that’s a beautiful gift that we have. If you tap into that and allow yourself to be guided by that passion and that love, you know, and trust it. Everyone has a special gift. And it’s a matter of if you want to tap into that and explore that. Personally, I think especially at the moment, I think the more you kind of focus on, you know, doing things that give you happiness and joy. It’s important to just do things that are from your heart. Do things that you love.”
About the artist
Born from a passion for the rich floral wonders our environment provides from seed to bloom to the afterlife, Tracy Deep’s floral sculptures capture a moment in time, celebrating the transition between life and death in nature.
A natural collector, Tracy began her journey as an artist at a very young age, collecting rocks for high school projects, often spending her lunchtimes with her art teachers, and being enchanted by the whimsy that nature provides.
In her early work as a florist, Tracy learned how different objects can work together, share space and reflect or absorb the light. Her use of dried botanicals to produce such exquisite sculptures is something to behold and is in high demand.
When you look at Tracy’s work, you can’t help but feel the essence of Mother Nature and all its wonder. There is a playfulness, a feeling that the piece is a window, transporting you to the origins of the material, highlighting and celebrating the unique forms, textures and colours.
Whether it be in a solo exhibition, a commission for a high-end restaurant, interior designer, or international collector, Tracy’s floral sculptures are sought after to transform a space, creating depth and directing the eye to the wonder beyond.