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Natalie Codling

On graduating from high school, I gained a place at the Queensland College of Art. However, my mother suggested that I do a ‘proper’ degree first, and then pursue art at a later date. So, of course I listened to my mother and I went ahead and completed a Degree in Architecture at the University of Queensland. I was trained to design and construct creative concepts to suit the 3D world. I practiced in London, but by the time I reached Hong Kong to live, I had moved into project management. I
dabbled in interior design and millinery, but never had the time to dedicate myself to creating art,which was my absolute passion.

After a 20 year hiatus from art, it was during Lockdown in Melbourne when I was home-schooling my children, I unwittingly returned to art. The art teacher at my children's primary school would set an art project every week to the children to complete. I took it upon myself to interpret the ‘brief’, complete the task and submit it to their teacher. Creating weekly art projects kept me mentally sane in the incredibly challenging time of COVID-19 Lockdowns. Since Lockdown, I have intentionally carved out time in my week to devote to my creative pursuit and have been fortunate to be able to set up a successful art practice.

In this body of work, I have repurposed vintage Cuisenaire rods (old mathematics tools used in primary school) gathered from around the world. I use the Cuisenaire rods as my paint and create artworks from them. Each of the rods is a particular length and colour which denotes a specific value. I don't change the colours. I keep the rods as their original colours. Most are 2D but some are 3D pieces. The oak frames are 55mm deep, which allows the pieces to be both hung on the wall or sat on a mantle.

This series of work is titled ‘The Teachers’. Each of the artworks are named after either a primary or secondary school teacher who had some impact on my education and development as a person.
When I create a piece, I think of a particular teacher and what they meant to me, and then I create a piece inspired by them. Teachers are incredibly important in all of our lives as they help shape the people that we all become. Since home-schooling my own children, I have an even deeper respect for these hardworking and dedicated people.

Natalie Codling


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