This botanically printed felt can be used either as a wall hanging, scarf or with a pin a backless vest
This botanically printed felt can be used either as a wall hanging, scarf or with a pin a backless vest

Colours of nature shine for exhibition

Emerging Brisbane textile artist Norton Fredricks will be featured in the upcoming Sunshine Coast Natural Dyers Biennial Exhibition "Botanical Colourings".

Norton's label Retritus is a created word to envelop the ethos of "reduce, reuse, recycle" within the main component of his work - detritus.

As a natural fibre artist specialising in felt and natural dyes, Norton's work imbues the spirit of zero waste and upcycling wherever possible, taking the Australian landscape and natural world as his muse.

Norton's grandmother, a skilled seamstress, was his tutor and inspiration and helped him improve his sewing skills a decade ago as he embarked on a small enterprise manufacturing bucket hats and bow ties.

From this modest success, Norton pursued opportunities to source organic materials for his work, often in their raw state directly from farms.

Hearing Jane Milburn speak about natural fibres and the pollutive effects of microplastics at a World Environment Day event was an additional catalyst for the change Norton had been looking for.

"I wanted to learn skills practiced by our ancestors," Norton said.

"I began natural dyeing of fabrics and participated in felting workshops.

"I taught myself botanical printing from books and online and I allowed myself to do lots of experimenting.

"The journey has been a positive one and I haven't looked back."

In 2019, Norton won a scholarship position to the Fibre Arts Festival and in early 2020 he received a grant from Home of the Arts, Gold Coast, and has now started to share his experience and knowledge through workshops.

"COVID- 19 and turning 30 recently has given me a focus," he said.

"My first career in hospitality and retail was good to me, providing valuable people skills and experience, but my future is in textile arts."

To progress his skill set Norton is dabbling with basket weaving and recently treated himself to a spinning wheel; now learning to knit on his own hand-crafted yarns.

"I just love handicrafts; I love the connection of cultural history attached to fibre.

"Knowing that there is an audience awakening and joining me in this textile journey."

Norton's pieces for the "Botanical Colourings" exhibition can be seen from September 19 until October 2.

The exhibition will feature artist demonstrations in patterning, printing and natural dyeing techniques daily from 10am to 3pm.

It will be held at the Maroochy Bushland Botanic Garden Arts and Ecology Centre on Palm Creek Rd at Tanawha.

Thanks and Cheers for now,

Yvonne Ritson Mob: 0404 709 107

Queensland Spinners, Weavers and Fibre Artists