If you’ve come across Well Made since its launch in late January you may well have already met Tracy Chaplin. One of the faces of the new platform promoting South Australia’s visual arts, craft and design, she is the creative behind local label Gretel Girl.
With illustration forming the foundation of her practice, Chaplin combines her love of vintage fabrics and reclaimed materials in the production of a unique range of prints, jewellery and homewares. Featuring eccentric characters and playful patterns, her work has a nostalgic, whimsical quality that inspires optimism. Gretel Girl is a great example of how a simple commitment to doing what you love can have unexpected results. Despite graduating from the Adelaide College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2003, it wasn’t until 2010 that Chaplin found the desire to be creative too overwhelming to ignore. Without commercial intent, Gretel Girl was conceived as a personal project founded on a commitment to blog one illustration a day. Chaplin is a passionate maker who describes being humbled by the response to her work and the support of the community, which has enabled her to build and maintain a sustainable creative practice. Her first major commission, for example, came as a result of having work stocked in local café and gift shop E for Ethel. Recommended by E for Ethel’s Amanda Matulick, a tireless supporter of the local arts and craft sector, Chaplin was commissioned to create individual cushions for each of the 46 art rooms at the Minima Hotel. She has since produced an additional range of soft furnishings for the foyer and is often contacted by guests of the hotel interested in purchasing her work. A regular at art and design markets across Australia, Chaplin also creates one–off exhibition pieces. She currently has work on display in the group exhibition Kaleidoscope Recycled at Red Poles Gallery in McLaren Vale, and is currently exhibiting in Urban Cow’s special commemorative show Bowie, celebrating the life of David Bowie. Well Made is an initiative of Guildhouse. For further information about Well Made, visit wellmade.com.au The Adelaide Review is a proud media partner of Well Made. Photo: Jonathan VDK