Impractical Decorating Ideas reflect a ‘more is more’ approach to home decorating through the activities of constant collecting and endless craft making, forming what could graciously be described as curated clutter. Colourfully accentuated crochet imagery, accompanied by paper cut-outs of found sea shells, porcelain animals, retro toys, glass and ceramic vessels, swirly blobs of hardened icing, hanging ornaments and embroidered cushions all compete for attention. These domestic arrangements reflect my own impulses toward interior decoration, where restraint is difficult to apply on so many lovingly collected objects each deemed worthy of display. As the home can be the truest reflection of the self, the occasional inclusion of jewellery images in this series link to my similarly generous approach to dressing and my enjoyment of making and collecting wild earrings.
My tendency to collect started at a young age. Rocks, minerals, cicada shells, sea shells, stickers, stamps, cat ornaments and novelty candles (among other things) all found their way into my life, meticulously arranged and re-arranged to accommodate new acquisitions or themes on the shelves in my childhood bedroom. Current collections of mine now predominantly serve as material for making and visual inspiration. Old books and magazines from the 50s, 60s and 70s are my top priority when I visit op-shops and markets. The colours and print qualities in printed matter from those years are unique, and the thrill that comes from seeking and finding new additions is one of the most enjoyable tasks in my creative process.
Each carefully cut image that is yet to be incorporated into my work is stored by subject in clear zip-lock bags in the studio. After 10 years of collage making, I have become more selective about the books I bring home as my studio storage space is limited, and space divided between other material collections, including fabric, beads, stickers, paints and pencils.
Holly Leonardson is a visual artist and studio jeweller currently residing in Newcastle after spending the last few years living, working and enjoying the sunshine in the Noosa Hinterland. Working in mixed media, primarily with vintage books, found objects, traditional art supplies and craft materials, her work is guided by playful material-led process and experimentation. Keenly coveting and collecting items from the 50s, 60s and 70s, Holly naturally gravitates towards imagery from those times. Printed depictions of the natural world, including flowers and plants, rainbows, animals, shells, rocks and gemstones feature prominently in her collages, as well as cut out images of handicrafts, jewellery, toys, decorated cakes and young women. She is currently interested in ideas and themes surrounding craft and acts of making, collecting, adornment and decorative excess.
Holly graduated with a Bachelor of Contemporary Art from the Launceston University of Tasmania campus in 2015, and spent close to four years studying, making, collecting, and exploring many National Parks around the state.