Through CQ Shopfront I have had the pleasure of getting to know Whitsundays-based artist Felicity Chapman. Felicity is passionate about the environment and in sharing First Nations culture through her work. Like many of us, it was a life-changing experience that refocused her on creative practice.
How did you get started in your art practice?
I have always loved craft and growing up my favourites were photography, ceramics, copper work, latch hook rugs and cake modelling. After growing up and being busy with work and kids, everything fell by the wayside.
3 years ago, after undergoing life-saving surgery, I recommenced my photography and learnt weaving as tools to help me on my healing journey. Weaving & Photography have been essential in helping me navigate my new normal and they allow me to connect with the joy within and my culture.
What are the key inspirations behind your work?
My key inspiration behind my work all comes back to celebrating the diversity and beauty of Mother Nature in all her forms; and exploring the richness and wisdom of my Aboriginal heritage.
I am passionate about helping our future First Nation leaders connect with their culture and in doing so, encouraging them to dream big and developing the self-confidence to follow their dreams.
I am a curious creative and environmentally aware, so love experimenting with weeds and repurposed materials to create something functional and fun.
Nature photography is my mindfulness and self-care practice as I have to be very quiet and still to observe and record nature in all her uniqueness.
What is the business model and products that you are aiming to develop through participating in the CQ Shopfront project?
I am currently set up as sole trader, and my business model is a mixture of bespoke woven baskets, dillybags and earrings; and running weaving workshops in schools and at First Nations community events.
Through participating in the CQ Shopfront project I would like to:
Develop some ‘print on demand’ or ‘digital download’ photographic products that would be available for sale through online sales channels
Complete my business plan to provide clarity and guidance of ‘where to next’
Develop a project brief to secure funding to run ‘weaving workshops’ as a tool to help people on their journey to gain and maintain mental health well-being
What dreams do you have for the future of your practice?
I have lots of dreams, at present they are:
Create and maintain a financially & environmentally sustainable Traditional Aboriginal cultural weaving and photography business
Utilise social media platforms and online sales channels to earn a regular income that provides financial security and freedom
Secure opportunities to be paid to travel, attend and share my story at mental health well-being and art/cultural conferences and summits
Expand and grow my arts practice - celebrating being a curious creative and life-long learner
Train and mentor the next generation of First Nations weavers and visual storytellers
Financially support community healing projects created and implemented ‘for mob by mob’
Continue on my healing journey through connection to country and culture and practising daily self-care
Passively educate the wider community about the depth and richness of the oldest living culture on earth
Secure Public Space Art installation contracts
Thanks Felicity. We can't wait to see your journey into a successful business.