Artist Profile – Liz Payne

Lilt Artists Profile

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I swear the first time I saw one of Liz Payne’s artworks my heart started beating a little faster.  I mean really… big, bright patterns in the most amazing array of colours and hand embellishment with yarn, beads and sequins. I was in heaven!  It’s the perfect mix of textiles and art.

Looking at her artwork you cannot help but feel an immense sense of joy. All that colour bursting out.  And the incredibly intricate work and attention to detail that goes into the embellishment process of Liz’s art is so impressive.

Having been incredibly inspired by Liz’s artworks I reached out and we had a chat about her inspirations, processes and creative dreams. Check out my interview with her below.


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Tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you into becoming a designer/artist?

My name’s Liz and I’m an artist from Sydney. I’ve always been creative since I can remember. I was always painting, making jewellery, sewing clothes for my dolls – my Mum had a room piled high with different paints, fabrics and wools while I was growing up so I was always influenced by her to be creating or making something with my hands.

After high school I went on to complete my Bachelor of Visual Arts Degree and, like most other creatives, was then pushed into a more dependable, secure ‘career’ choice – which led me to working as graphic designer.

After a few years of working at several magazines here (in Sydney) and in London (where I went to live and work for a few years with my now husband) I came back home wanting to create with my own hands again. I really wanted to make pieces that combined my love of painting, textiles and embellishments so I began experimenting with painting on fabric and then further adding to it with thread, beads and fringing. There was a lot of trial and error at this early stage but a lot of fun experimenting too!

How would you describe your work?

Hand embroidered textile art, that combines painting onto textiles with embellishments like embroidery and beading. My pieces are colourful, textural and completely one of a kind. I see working with the thread as a replacement to the more traditional paintbrush or pencil; with embroidery I can add colour and texture to a piece, with each stitch and bead sewn further reiterating the uniqueness of the work. I also like my work to break any misconceptions about embroidery being ‘old fashioned’ or ‘grandmotherly’ and like to do that through use of bold colour, pattern and design.

Can you give us some insight into your process?

Firstly I paint the fabric (which this itself can be a lengthy process!) Depending on the piece, I approach it completely differently. I find when I have to make an artwork a specific size, I need it planned out more than I would normally. I’ll have sketches around me, either drawn in a notebook, scribbled on post it notes/backs of receipts/important mail, & sometimes even using Photoshop or Illustrator. Other times, it’s a more free approach – letting intuition, pattern and colour take over what shape precedes the next, and it’s important for me to remember the many more layers that are still to come through stitch, and restrain from adding too much detail in the painted fabric. When the fabric dries, gradually I’ll start to build it up by adding colour and texture through a mixture of thread and wools, beads and sequins ( the BEST bit!!)  I like to create a synergy of movement and dimension through these mediums, so each piece creates a harmonious energy and your eye dances around from one intricate detail to the next.

What inspires your artworks?

The other day I read a comment someone left on my Instagram page and it said my work was a cross between Aboriginal art and Matisse – and I was so flattered! These are definitely two big influences on my work. I’m also inspired by textiles, prints and patterns from countries such as Uzbekistan, Guatemala, Morocco and Mexico, to name just a couple.

What are 3 of your favourite resources which you look to for inspiration?

I love going through books for inspiration, especially ones about the history of textiles or patterns. Pinterest – for inspiration for anything you could think of, and I also love Instagram to be able to connect with people from around the world, across so many different creative fields.

Tell us about some of the people who inspire you and why?

Lisa Gorman – I’m a huge fan of the brand Gorman and admire it’s bold and somehow always very uniquely Australian prints. Gucci – especially the latest collection for Spring/Summer 16, there is a strong focus on embellishments, sequins and pattern, it’s right up my alley! Miranda Skoczek – I love her paintings and her use of colour is second to none.

If you could create an artwork for anyone in the world, who would it be?

Any of the above! But really – anyone that loves a piece of mine so much they would hang it in their home is the ideal person.

What would your dream project be?

I would love to collaborate with a clothing or homewares  brand, and branch my art across those fields.  I’d also really like to create a massive piece, like 8 meters wide or something one day (but with no strict deadlines, and having to worry about framing it!) – that would be awesome!

Your favourite place in Sydney?

I currently live and work in Erskineville (in Sydney’s Inner West) and I love it around here. At the moment I love spending time in my studio but being able to walk up to King Street in Newtown is awesome –  lots of restaurants, pubs and a couple of art shops, all in walking distance.