Lesa Hepburn: upcoming artist-in-residence

Lesa Hepburn

Lesa Hepburn is a botanical fibre artist, based in Scarborough, Queensland. Working with handmade paper and plant fibres, she makes installations, prints and architectural commissions. Lesa has a Bachelor of Visual Arts from Queensland College of Art, over the past ten years she has exhibited widely throughout north-eastern Australia. Lesa's work is informed by her life traveling and living in the tropics. She was born in Batu Gajah, Perak, Malaya and grew up in Sarawak immersed in a world of jungles, Dayak handcrafts, tropic shores, Super 8 home movies, markets and frequent travel by ship and plane to and from Australia. 

Lesa Hepburn, Purely Bast, 2016, hibiscus timber and letterpress on hibiscus bast fibre 

Lesa’s interest in local materials, foraging, making do and sustainability is reflected in the way that she embraces naturally available plant fibres, low energy processing and hand working techniques. The plants that inhabit the sub-tropical coast, where Lesa lives, form the core element of her work as a botanical fibre artist. Lesa has developed techniques preparing fibres and carving timber from the Beach Cottonwood (hibiscus tiliaceous) - a widespread littoral species in the western pacific and south east Asia. She twines the fibres with fine wire to create expandable and scalable sculptures. Lesa also works in print with letterpress, blind embossing, hikikakegami (a Japanese fibre printing technique), digital print media, and using hibiscus fibres twined into string to create embossing  impressions on handmade paper. 

Lesa Hepburn, Recoil 1, 2016, hand coloured blind embossing on handmade cotton paper

During my residency at Gunyah I plan to watch the water change with tides and weather, sail in our small boat and begin new works. The phrase “a line in the water” has recently been circling in my thoughts as I prepare for the visit. I hope to explore the natural areas on the water and the land in the North Arm Cove and Port Stephens using my handmade string and found objects.

To see more of Lesa's work please go to her website lesahepburn.com

Lesa Hepburn, Blue line, 2015, hikikakegami print kenaf on watermarked banana fibre paper