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Mirranda Burton© Bird Brain

If you’re a regular Isiiad reader you couldn’t have missed the fact that this weekend marks the beginning of the Nillumbik Artist’s Open Studios. I’ve already introduced you to their youngest participant, Jessie Pittard.  This post introduces you to another new participant, writer and printmaker Mirranda Burton.  

Mirranda recently began a residency at Dunmoochin.  You can see from the lino print below, that she is already making the best use of Clifton Pugh’s old printing press there.  The evolution of her bird theme has a sewing connection…in the 90’s Mirranda created a character called Birdstitch which had sewing-machine feet. More recently Mirranda has been inspired by bird related phrases like, ‘crows feet’, ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’ and ‘bird brain’, to name just a few. Naturally the plethora of birds out at Dunmoochin is providing additional inspiration.  

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Mirranda Burton© Crows Feet

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Mirranda Burton© Bird Stitchers

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Mirranda Burton©

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In addition to print making, Mirrranda recently published a book called “Hidden” published by Black Pepper. In the book she draws on her experiences of working in an art program with people living with intellectual disabilities.  The book, a graphic memoir, is written in a cartoon format. The following comments, from the Age newspaper review by Owen Richardson (1st October 2011) gives a tempting hint of what’s presented to readers of “Hidden”. 

“Burton has a strong, straightforward visual style, with the emphatic though never overstated lines of a woodcut, and it moves easily from realism to occasional flashes of fantasy to suggest both her students’ strange inner worlds and her own sense of disorientation.”

 Then the ABC Radio National reviewer Ronnie Scott had the following to say on the 5th October 2011,

“On the final page of Hidden there’s a scene that shows the artist, Mirranda Burton, emptying a vacuum cleaner bag. As she does, she tells us that it traps more than dust and pencil shavings. In fact, she draws a parallel with the art room she’s just vacuumed, which she says is notoriously thick with the particles of artists’ hopes, dreams, passions and desires.”

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Mirranda has settled in to working on her next book while at Dunmoochin. It’s the perfect environment for creative activity. Clifton Pugh’s legacy is everywhere. Sculptures, murals, buildings, are all inspiration for the many artists who are fortunate enough to be granted residencies there. Mirranda was radiant as she showed me around his original studio, her home for the duration of her residency. She wears the demeanour of an artist content beyond measure.  

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Much of Dunmoochin was built with recycled materials.  This magnificent door sits at the front of Clif’s old studio.

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If you would like to meet Mirranda and see her work for yourself, Dunmoochin will be open to the public for the next two weekends. I was there last night and can vouch for the fact that preparations are in full swing to welcome you there.  I understand that this Sunday afternoon at Dunmoochin between 1pm and 3pm, previous residents will provide some musical entertainment to enrich your visit. To help you plan your itinerary you will find all the information you need on the Nillumbik Open Studios website.