Rachel Fieldhouse


“Me representing me”: Denise shares her Making It story

“Me representing me”: Denise shares her Making It story

The latest episode of Making It Australia saw Makers embrace their musical sides, with the creation of musical instruments from surprising materials.

Denise, the latest Maker to leave the show, sat down with OverSixty to chat about her time on the show and what lies ahead.

O60: What was the highlight of being a Maker?

I think the highlight of being a Maker was the whole experience, getting out of your normal comfort zone in your own state and then being thrust from Perth to Sydney, and walking into a space you do not know, navigating around that. 

So that was interesting. But also, before you knew it, you made some really wonderful, lovely friends. And I think that was very valuable as well.

I still speak to Dan and Andrew and Rizaldy every single day since we stopped filming. So we are a very tight unit, we all very much look after each other.

O60: What surprised you most about your Making It experience?

I think my strength and my determination, my physical strength of being able to have long days, and think on my feet and keep working and my mental strength because I'm a sculptor and I make work that takes six months to develop and make and put together but here I am on the set with unknown tools unknown face is having to make something in a very short, quick time. 

And those challenges are very interesting [in] how you respond to them. And I think I learned a lot about myself as far as that goes.

O60: During the self-portrait challenge, you shared a vulnerable moment with Susie, Harvey and the judges about depicting your face. Could you tell us more about that moment and the challenges creatives can face depicting themselves in their work?

I suppose that came to me so unexpectedly but obviously it had been sitting inside of me for a long time. 

And I suppose that we live internally, inside of ourselves. We hear ourselves speaking inside our heads, but when we actually hear it for ourselves it sounds different.

And I don't spend a lot of time grooming myself in the mirror, it’s something that I don’t take seriously. And I suppose, I have thrown myself on a national TV program where it's me representing me and doing the self portrait, I knew I was going to have difficulties with it because I was not going to do myself justice by doing my face because it's not a comfortable area for me. 

And I suppose once that door was open, then I was pretty tired and pretty emotional and pretty homesick. It came out and there was a very long conversation that wasn’t shown on TV, talking about how I felt with the judges. 

And I was very stressed waiting for that episode to come on, because I knew it was coming. And since being on the show, I've had a whole heap of different emotions about the show, because as I've said, I’m from watching me, that was actually me and I don't know myself that well.

But you know what, since that happened and it's been on Facebook, I have had an abundance of people replying, saying, ‘I hear you, I feel the same way. I know what you mean.’ 

So I think I reached out to a demographic of people who feel the same way as me, and I had the opportunity to go there on TV. So maybe there's something really positive about that.

O60: What’s next for you after Making It?

I promised myself that this year I'm not going to do a great deal except for this one exhibition because I think I'm going to reassess what I want to do. 

Strangely enough, I have no plan and I've never had no plan in my life, ever. It’s a new Denise! It’s really interesting. I don’t know who she is but I'm sure she's gonna be okay.

I’m sure I will probably [get] back into exhibitions, and maybe run some lovely workshops from my beautiful home … [just] intimate small workshops with my glass practice, which is something that I have been kind of talking about because I love people and I love to share my ideas and my experiences, so I think that's a good possibility that's what I'll be doing is running, you know, really intimate personal workshops in my own home space.

O60: Making It posed challenges that saw you use a whole range of different skills and techniques, has it changed how you have gone about your creative practice since leaving the show?

Since I left the show, I think I had burnout, and was not able to create until probably the last couple of weeks. I think ... I had no more creativity inside me to create artwork. I focused on my home and I started painting and doing decorative stuff to my home because I think it gave me some sense of comfort because I was back home and I never went into my studio. I don't go into my studio much anymore, but I'm currently making a sculpture at the moment for an exhibition on the beach down here in Perth called Castaways, and I think I'm coming back to my normal self only just. So it's been a major adjustment, reconnecting back to my past existence. I came back a different person and I’m trying to find where I am at the moment.

O60: Last but not least, if you had the chance, would you do it again?

I don't know. There are days I don't know and days I go, ‘Yes.’ 

I would love to be a judge on a show like that, I think, rather than a maker. I feel that physically it’s really hard on your body. And, and I don't know whether my body would allow me anymore. Mentally I'm fine. But my body is really tired from the show. 

So if it was the exact same show again, probably not.

Making It Australia will continue to air on Saturday nights from 6pm.

Image: @denisepepperart / Instagram

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