Overseas travel may have opened her eyes to all that the world has to offer, but West Footscray artist Heidi Weber tells Benjamin Millar that little treasures can be found at every local turn.
What’s your connection with West Footscray?
We moved to West Footscray when we were expecting our first child, almost 11 years ago. The kids have been through crèche, kinder and school here so we feel very connected to the community.
What do you like best about living here?
The people! I am forever meeting clever, creative, intelligent and inspiring people. I have lived in many different places and countries but WeFo is home.
I love that you can’t walk down the street without seeing someone you know, that a quick trip to Sims is impossible due to all the social catch ups.
I love that we live a minute’s walk from school and the kids socialise with a melting pot of nationalities.
I love living so close to great and eclectic food and coffee. And I love all the interesting characters that colour our neighbourhood, especially David! I can’t imagine moving far from this part of the world.
What could make it better?
A wine bar!
Has this area shaped who you are?
It certainly has. My three kids have been born in this suburb along with my children’s clothing label Heavenly Creatures.
Subsequently I have made lifelong friends and an incredible support network.
This suburb has shaped who I am as a mother and also as a creative. My surroundings and the clever people that make up this area constantly inspire me.
Tell us about Heavenly Creatures.
After a long stint in the corporate world it seemed the perfect time to make a change when I became pregnant with my first child. My great mate Kelly Duckworth and I had always talked about doing a creative project together and when she became pregnant at the same time we felt like the universe was telling us something.
With Kelly’s skills in textiles and sewing and mine in illustration along with our common love of fashion, Heavenly Creatures was born. The Heavenly Creatures brand had a nostalgic feel with each season brought to life using beautiful imagery creating a whimsical and often mysterious story. The brand has since been taken over by young Melbourne designer Alexandra Meehan.
What can you tell us about your art and this forthcoming exhibition at Post Industrial Design?
The exhibition at PID brings together a few of my loves. Firstly portraiture, I love to draw and paint interesting faces that tell a story.
Second I have drawn from my love of fashion and have incorporated textiles, stitching and beadwork into each piece. And finally my love for collecting is represented.
I’m always on the lookout for treasures, be it on the beach, in antiques shops or on the side of the road. Including these little treasures adds a further dimension to the artwork.
Who or what has been the biggest inspiration in your life?
Travel has been my biggest inspiration. I moved to London when I was 22 and spent a lot of my 20s on various adventures around the globe.
For a small town girl it seriously expanded my world view and provided a great education. There’s nothing like experiencing the world’s cultures to inspire the creative process.
What are your favourite local cafes/eateries?
POD @ PID for great food and atmosphere. Brother Nancy for a beautiful breakfast. Ovest is just around the corner from my house for a good pizza. Can’t go past Sims for a fantastic takeaway coffee. Sapa Hills is my favourite Vietnamese and Nhu Lan for the best banh mi.
Heidi Weber’s first solo exhibition opens at Post Industrial Design (638 Barkly Street, West Footscray) 6-8pm this Sunday and closes on June 26.