A Greens Beach resident took a chance and gave up her nursing career for the opportunity to pursue her first love, art.
Tory Woollcott was working as a nurse on Flinders Island for the past few years and was passionate about providing care to her residents and patients. However, she never forgot about art.
"The island gave me the freedom to learn and to express myself in a beautiful way. I could not be more grateful to live on Flinders Island, I was very lucky," she said.
The artist hosted an annual exhibition for children on the island to enjoy which would include interactive light installations, glow in the dark areas, and a small puppet theatre. It was always held at odd hours due to her nursing shifts.
However, Woollcott was so inspired by her time on the island that when she moved to Greens Beach she developed a new method of teaching art which she called The Mermaids Way.
"I have given up nursing just like that! I am taking a gamble, but it's my bucket list time of life and I'm not waiting any longer. I make toys, paint, teach, do puppetry, do animations and make films, and lots of fun things," she said.
"I am taking such a gamble giving up my regular income, but I believe in this so much."
The Mermaids Way name was taken from the last exhibit Woollcott had on Flinders Island before she left where she made mermaids out of old ball gowns and recycled dresses.
The artist learnt during her time producing art that fabric looked like big colours of paint, but without the mess.
"What I discovered is that everybody is comfortable with fabric. There is a familiarity in this medium which is quite unique," she said.
That is when the concept of the method was born, where the artist would teach her students to explore with fabric first in big, sweeping motions.
"I have been teaching people to make these beautiful artworks with fabric, it's very physical and it's a big process," she said.
"What I have discovered is it gives them a memory that they can translate to another form of art."
Woollcott often collaborates with her students, taking their work and transforming it digitally. Then, if the work sells the profits are split.
"This is really something for children too, and it's done in a completely unique way. There's no pins, nothing sharp or dangerous," she said.
Woollcott was born with a love of art, and as a third-generation artist it was already in her blood. Her earliest memory of creating was when she was about four-years-old.
"I've always made things, I like using my hands," she said.
Workshops by Woollcott are $75, with all materials included for the three-hour session. Holiday sessions are also available. To contact the artist call 0439 799 427.
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