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Many Thanks, Jane and Tony
Born: Melbourne, Victoria.
Resides: Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
Elli Schlunke is best known for her sculptures but is also a painter and a graphic artist. Her work has been described as “mad and joyous,” a tag of which she is very proud. Her delightful sense of fun shows in many of her pieces.
Most recently, Elli has won both a special award for “innovative use of materials” and the People’s Choice Award at the 2015 Sculpture on the Edge exhibition held annually at Spicers Tamarind Retreat, Maleny. The winning piece, called “Mammuthus” is a very large (but only 60% life-sized) woolly mammoth, made from recycled chicken wire and other mesh, with fur made from the stripped-out multi-coloured copper wires from old power cords.
"I love the processes of art, the doing. I used to love working with bronze, which is difficult, laborious, rewarding and above all terribly exciting. I used to cast my bronzes in the gloriously low-tech backyard foundry at my studio where I live, near Kenilworth. But since I’ve discovered the satisfaction of using old waste materials and industrial materials never designed for sculpture, I’ve never looked back. There is no limit now to what I can make.”
Elli has also worked in clay, ciment fondu, scrunched-up newspaper and sticky-tape, and woven wire. Listing about 10 solo exhibitions and many group exhibitions during her career this far, Elli has also been sought after as a workshop teacher and as a creative sign-maker for major events such as Woodford Folk Festival.
After completing school, Elli attained a Diploma of Art (Graphic Art) at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. After concentrating on graphics and painting for many years, she started seriously sculpting in the early 1990s. She learned most of her sculpting skills through many sculpture workshops, which she also helped to organize.
She represented the former Maroochy Shire (now Sunshine Coast Regional Council) by going to China to help co-design and produce “Sisters By Choice,” a huge bronze swan and egret for the Shire’s sister city Xiamen (a second version of which is sited at Nelson Park, Alexandra Headlands.)
The majority of her commissioned works have been of larger proportions including such notable works as a life-size bronze bust of Mary Mackillop for the Catholic Church in Kenilworth and a life-size ciment fondu fisherman sculpture for the Wondai Shire Council in Queensland. She has completed over twenty public and private commissions and her works can be found in private collections across Australia, New Zealand and the UK.