If anyone can create something magnificent from scraps, offcuts and bits and pieces, it’s Alex Falkiner of Alfalky. Her ability to transform everyday objects through simple actions of folding, twisting, wrapping, stitching or looping is refreshing and is a skill everyone should be introduced to. Find out what inspires Alex and what she’s got planned for her workshops in Sydney on May 4 and Brisbane on May 24 in our chat with her below!
Since forever! I was an only child and I lived above my dad’s shop so I was lucky to have a lot of making and dreaming time. I remember my dad bringing home a huge roll of paper drawing endless flower gardens… I also went to pottery each week and made loads of doll clothes on a sweet little toy sewing machine! I went through various making crazes (as kids do!) like friendship bands and bead looming. My grandma Mimi was a big influence; she made me the most fabulous multi-coloured cardigan with all the scraps from her knitting box, she knitted ribbons into it, lined it with emerald green and it fastened with two pom poms! I LOVED it. I’m definitely inspired by her elegant use of bold colour.
How/where did you get started?
I think as a small child I discovered how much joy beauty and colour could bring to people. I have always loved making cards, wrapping presents and picking flowers to decorate the table. I believe a large part of my making practice stems from this. Making for me is a practice of thoughtfulness, attention, reflection and delight. We all need more joy and delight.
Tell us a little about what you make and your style?
I make abstract, colourful miniature objects from overlooked and at hand ‘stuff’. I am drawn to textiles and paper for their potential for transformation. I also love the challenge in piecing together ‘that which cannot go together’ in intricate and beautiful ways. My current focus is miniatures. I think miniature objects can be really powerful, they ask us to come in close and pay attention. I love that they can be so compact and intense!
Did you study to do what you do or are you self-taught?
I am a perpetual student. Learning and how we learn is my other obsession (after making). When I first left school I studied clothing production at technical college, then Costume Construction followed by Textile Design and Screen Printing. I went to University later on and have only just finished my degree in Fine Arts, majoring in Textiles and Art Education. However, most of the techniques I use in my current work, like crochet and embroidery were self taught or learnt from relatives and friends, as Art school is not very technique focused, but more conceptual.
Why is it important for you to create things?
It is SO important! Making is really rewarding, it helps us express ourselves, make sense of things and even shape our world. Knowing how stuff is made is really empowering, I think the world is a better place when we are less ‘thoughtless consumer’ and more ‘considered maker’. Making with others is also really powerful and can be a window to a different way of being with others. I love the conversation, inspiration sharing and gentle connections that emerge.
What’s your favourite medium to work with?
For whatever reason I keep coming back to textiles! Textiles are great because they are so versatile, accessible and open to experimentation. I also like that textiles are part of life, on our bodies each day… this resonates with my views of art. It’s important to me that art or making is integrated with the rest of life, not a separate thing only for ‘creative people’. Making is for everyone! and all that we do can be creative!
Tell us a little about what you have planned for your Unleash Creative workshop
I’m going to show you some quick playful ways to generate ideas. You’ll pick up a handful of tricks you can try when you’re stuck or don’t know how to start. I’m really interested in curiosity-led making and learning, so we will begin with an object you find curious and work from there. You won’t leave with a finished object as such, but a series of experiments and tools.
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