THE Moree Gallery is known for nurturing emerging regional talent and it didn’t need to look far for its latest exhibition.
Bourgeoning Warialda artist Mel Simmonds will join nationally acclaimed artist Vayu and award-winning fine jewellery brand Koolaman Designs in the gallery’s pre-Christmas exhibition.
Ms Simmonds’ creative reputation is firmly cemented in the North West, thanks to her former stationery business, The Lead Pencil.
However, in recent years, it’s her painting that has captivated audiences.
“This year I made the difficult decision to close down The Lead Pencil to focus solely on my art, “ Ms Simmonds said.
“Painting really is where my heart is. I’ve been painting since high school, where I had a wonderful art teacher who was truly inspiring.”
A workshop with a visiting artist through The Moree Gallery three years ago rekindled her passion for painting.
“Gig Moses of The Moree Gallery has supported me from the beginning and really provided me with the confidence to give my art the attention it deserves,” Ms Simmonds said.
“I’m so thrilled at the prospect of exhibiting at The Moree Gallery with the likes of Koolaman Designs and Vayu – it’s such an honour to be regarded alongside such noted Australian talent, albeit a little daunting.”
Sydney artist Michael Commerford, or Vayu, has exhibited at The Moree Gallery previously.
Vayu’s unique, unfussy style successfully captures the curious faces of animals and his work is a favourite of the gallery.
Sisters Lisa O’Keefe and Stacey Clayton are the faces behind the successful jewellery line, Koolaman Designs, and will also be included in the upcoming exhibition.
Based on their vast wheat and sheep property at Balranald, the young mums represent a new breed of entrepreneur – the online “mummypreneur”.
Koolaman Designs, named after their property, celebrates life’s special moments through jewellery, with the names of loved ones or personal messages hand-stamped on sterling silver and Australian 9ct gold jewellery.
“It’s funny how the peak seasons on the farm always coincide with the busy times for Koolaman Designs,” Mrs O’Keefe said.
“Mother’s Day is sowing, Fathers Day is shearing and Christmas is harvest.”
The exhibition opens at10am next Friday and runs through to December 6. Koolaman Designs will be exhibiting on November 8 and 9 only.