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Beci Orpin is a multi-dimensional and multi-modal artist and Mother whose work spans from weaving materials to weaving words for her books. Whether it's sitting on the couch with a sketchbook, gardening or entering the portal of her studio for more large scale creations, she has learnt to move fluidly and methodically through the rituals and play spectrums of a work and family life balance. We spoke to Beci about trusting the process and how inspiration can come in many changing forms and most importantly, we learnt that she’s blood related to one of Salem’s most iconic and revolutionary witches.

You have worked with multiple disciplines in your career so far, how have they all converged over time?
I think I just have a willingness to explore more mediums than stick with just one, so over time my work has become more dimensional / bigger in scale. This also a result of more physical space. I worked from a home studio for a long time and there wasn't space to make larger pieces. Now I have a larger space with access to a warehouse too , so I'm able to make bigger things. 

Do these different disciplines inform one another and if yes how?
The creative process is often the same, just the outcomes and medium are different. They definitely inform each other, but more in process, knowledge and research sense. I think I could have done all the things in a different order, but the fact the various disciplines have occurred in the order they have makes them more me I guess? I'm definitely into the 'trust the process' line of thinking.

Where do you feel most creative? What kind of environment do you need to tap into that creativity?
Thanks to working with the chaos of young kids around I can now work in most situations, but being in my studio when it's really quiet with the sun streaming in, looking out at my garden is pretty great. I also love deadline pressure - that helps creativity for me. 

Do you have a dedicated time and/or space in your home to create?
I generally try to do most of my creative work in my studio but sometimes I need to do homework. We have a sort of study area which is used by our whole family. It's equal parts dumping ground and creative space, but it can be a good place to get things done when needed. Sitting on the couch with my sketchbook is also a good time. 


Birthing books is such a labor of love, what did you learn about your creative process from these projects?
Making books was definitely one of the hardest things I've done in my career. It tested and pushed and improved my creative skills in many ways. The biggest thing which it enhanced was my art direction skills - making sure every part of the books was consistent, represented me and was commercially viable too. It also improved my writing skills (from terrible to just above average).

Where do you get your inspiration from, what is lighting you up at the moment?
Inspiration comes in many and ever-changing forms, so it's hard to pin down for that reason. I have generally found the best inspiration comes from experiences and research, not from looking at stuff on your computer. I recently found out I'm blood relation to the first woman executed in the Salem witch trials (Bridget 'Goodie' Bishop), so I've been doing some investigating into that series of events, which has been pretty fascinating and inspiring (and horrifying). I've also been really into weavers : last year I visited the weavers in Numbuwar, NT. They were kind enough to take me out on country and I got to see their whole process from harvesting pandanas and colour to finished weaves. It was so magic. Also loving the work of Yee I-Lann, who works with weavers in Borneo. 

Is there anyone in your life that you love to collaborate with and bounce ideas off?
I'm lucky to share my studio with some like-minded creative people, they are always great to bounce ideas off. I collaborate with my partner Raph a lot, but more in a general-life-kinda way!

Talk us through a day in your life, what are your rituals?
My days can be quite different, because of this the consistency of rituals is important . My number one ritual is making my bed every morning, it's instinct now!  Second ritual is a cup of tea - I can not start my day without one. Then it's getting my youngest son out the door to school, and riding to my studio. Studio days always start with emails and then lists then ticking off tasks (i'm a pretty methodical worker). Tasks can vary from computer work to hand-made work to meeting with agents or manufacturers. In the evening, if it's early in the week, family dinner is a ritual too. We try to do that before everyone's weeks get crazy. 

How do you like to unwind from work?
It's not groundbreaking but - exercise is key: I play tennis (badly), or do big walks with friends a few times a week and also go to the gym. Otherwise I love cooking, gardening, reading - and a bath (give me all grounding activities!). 

What are you most excited to create next?
I'm on the verge of starting two public art projects which will run for the rest of this year. They are both big and challenging projects, I'm excited and nervous to get into them. 

Photography by Michael Pham


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