Embroiderer Maree Caplin is a regular at the Axeman's Makers Market

Maree Caplin has been sewing since the age of three.

Back then, she would create artwork on paper using a sewing machine.

“At a very young age I was introduced to sewing after being given a hand-crank machine to play with,” she said.

“My mother told me sewing machines are important tools for making clothes and not to draw pictures with.”

Originally from the mainland, Caplin moved to Tasmania in 2005, and now calls Wilmot home.

“I owned a large grazing property in New South Wales and we were very drought-stricken,” she said.

“We had to slaughter a large herd of deer and when I sold the property, the people who bought it came from Tasmania.

“I asked them why they were leaving and they said they were sick of the rain.

“So a light bulb switched and I thought, I’m going to go to Tasmania. Now I’m sick of the rain.”

My mother told me sewing machines are important tools for making clothes and not to draw pictures with.

Maree Caplin

Caplin uses her surroundings at Wilmot, on the road to Cradle Mountain, as inspiration for her embroidery work.

“Having a background in garment design and construction has enabled me to be a very versatile artist,” she said.

“I have specialised in portraying nature scenes with an emphasis on foliage, fur, feathers and fins. This is a reflection of my love for all things wild and natural.”

Caplin still works on her different creations about eight hours a day.

“Sometimes I want to thread paint, sometimes I want to bead, and I love 3D options. I love challenging my creativity.”

Caplin uses free motion techniques – hand guiding the machine, including thread painting, collage applique and photographic fabric.

“Instead of just forward and backwards, you can go diagonal and you can build texture and depth.

“I use lots of different techniques. None of my work is done using a digitized embroidery machine.”

She now teaches free motion embroidery at the Axeman’s Hall of Fame at Bells Parade in Latrobe, where she is also a regular stallholder at the Sunday makers market.

“I’ve taught for the last 10 years and it’s taken me around the world – to New Zealand and on cruise liners.

“I don’t teach often anymore. It’s become more of a gathering to have a talk and a chuckle.

“That’s the beauty of this sort of teaching – you get a group of women and you solve problems and walk away feeling uplifted.”

  • The Axeman’s Makers Market is indoors and runs from 9am to 3pm every Sunday.