FOR the talented Basini family, creativity seems to come naturally.
With a musician for a father and a tailoress for a grandmother who taught her the fine skills of knitting and needlework, artist Raffaella Basini was bound to have some creative talent.
The artist has undertaken several courses in fine art and sculpture, worked as a choreographer and costume maker, and run a large theatre company in Perth.
It is easy to see how Raffaella’s creative and theatrical nature have influenced her children, with son Daniel a principal dancer for the Salzburg Dance Company and daughter Tamar a designer, model and partner in her newest venture.
Raffaella and Tamar have banded together to create a set of completely unique wool creations or “artistic accessories,” as Raffaella likes to call them, which the two are delighted to present in their solo exhibition at the York Mill.
The exhibition opened on June 1 and will run for a month at the York Mill gallery, and has already attracted interest from locals and visitors alike.
The one-off scarves, shrugs, gloves, shawls, dresses and hats were handmade by the mother-daughter team from superfine micron merino wool, and all in accordance with the pair’s eco-organic theme.
This high-quality wool is sourced from local farms and is chemical-free.
Raffaella believes this is what makes her items so valuable; not only is each piece completely unique, the items are also extremely long-lasting.
“Our wool is like insulation; it works with your body temperature but doesn’t let you overheat, and wool lasts forever,” she said.
“Some pieces can take three to five hours to make, it is very time consuming but we nurture these creations and reuse and re-spin what we can to produce something entirely new.”
Raffella and Tamar’s vision to reuse and reshape old woollen pieces means there is only two per cent wastage, and the rest cleaned, re-spun and given a new lease on life.
“It is called ‘up-cycling;’ when you take something apart, clean it and make it something else,” she said.
“Some of the coloured scarves in this collection came from a bedspread!”
The pair has spent years collecting vintage materials like buttons and pins to enhance their creations, and give them a human element or “story.”
“I have been collecting antique pins and buttons for over 20 years; I have even used some pins from World War Two in this collection,” she said.
“We see them as sculptures, not frocks or garments.”
York Mill gallery general manager John Langton agrees.
“These are one-off couture items, their place is in a gallery,” he said.
The popularity of Raffaella and Tamar’s creations has encouraged John to start up a potential annual wearable art competition and exhibition at the gallery, with art students sponsored to contribute the works.
John said talks were in progress to see this new competition up and running within the next year.