Jessie Deane has been quietly stitching up the west for the last few years. The Westsider thought it was time to catch up and find out what makes Jessie tick.
What inspired you to choose stitchwork as an artistic medium?
I trained as a textile artist and my degree is in modern textiles. I have always been interested in textiles as a medium.
How do you choose your subjects?
I have always been fascinated in urban decay in the west, it’s my main focus currently.
Where can people see your work?
The next exhibition is at the Hobson’s Bay “Art and Public Places” which the Hobson’s Bay city council run every year.
How long does each piece take?
At the moment I am working on small pieces; A3 size, comprising 26-27,000 stitches – they take about 6o hours to do!
How long have you been stitching?
I studied a long time ago, I then focused more on facilitating other artists. Afterwards, I picked up this kind of idea and started running with it, and about 6 years ago I started working on a major exhibition in Melbourne. I started working on it in 2009/2010, and it took me about 3 years to complete.
Will you be entering any artwork in any competitions in 2015?
I’m entering a few competitions and need to constantly keep getting on top of that stuff. There is potential to work in the ‘Big West Festival’ at the end of the year due to the connection to their work in the west.
What was the hardest piece you have ever worked on ?
The hardest piece I’ve done is called ‘Maersk Containers’ and it is probably one of the biggest pieces too. I did it in sections before I sewed them together. It wasn’t so much ‘hard’ but the scale it was built in, it was hard to maintain perspective throughout but also one of the earlier pieces I made. I had never worked on that scale before and I never worked in panelling before. Part of me was scared it was not going to work but it actually worked very well. In this medium it doesn’t feel hard, it is actually quite easy. The piece was more challenging. I’ve made work that actually had 20,000 stitches with one colour and that is challenging, looking at the same colour all the time when you are working on detail; creating shadow, form and creating the perspective because you’re seeing stuff jump up at you. Seeing something becoming more three dimensional makes it exciting.
What was highest paid stitchwork you have sold?
The highest piece I’ve sold was $12750. The pieces I sell are usually priced between $2000 – $2500. I’ve got one piece I wouldn’t sell below $25000.
What is best stitch work you have ever done?
It is very hard because I have a connection to most of the pieces that I work with. I suppose one of the pieces that I love is the ‘Docks at Night’, and I’m really connected to the bigger piece, the ‘Maersk’ piece I talked about. I don’t really think I’ve made an artwork that I really hated in terms of needlepoint. I’ve done a lot of painting that I really hated though!
Jessie is currently exhibiting a small collection of her work at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins Street.