After pouring over Mali's work for the last couple of years I feel honoured she allowed us to publish her breathtaking illustrations in our humble newspaper. As my appetite for all things scented & botanical escalates & my curiosity knows no bounds, I delve into the past histories of the likes of Marianne North, Joseph Banks, John Bartram, John Muir and many more, to uncover a contemporary botanical explorer.
Every seafaring voyage of scientific significance (the first being the Endeavour) boasted a resident botanical & natural artist and Mali is a modern day one! Her work can be admired in the form of a Blue-banded Bee on our front cover of The Society inc Newspaper #3 & the illustration of a butterfly mid-identification on page 4. Her attentive capture is mesmerising, you can view more of her luminous work @mali_moir.
Describe your studio.
A lounge room mess, my fave place.
Ooh I love my secret paint formulas I use for creating paintings of fish, I get a lustre no commercial paint can match. I spend many treasured hours playing the alchemist in my kitchen cooking up paint concoctions from ancient recipes oh but with a bit of jigging and tweaking from me, I love love love research! Not everything is on the internet so luckily I have some pretty special books and a very special brother who knew just how to wrangle those antique formulas and ingredients into shape. I’ve often wanted to write a book called ‘Eggs, Garlic Juice and Vodka’ not for cooking food but for cooking up paint formulas.
Most treasured object?
This is a changing feast but at the moment it must be my authentic Hawaiian Seed Lei made with the rare Wiliwili red seed and grey Kakalaioa seeds, circa 1920s. This lei was made by the family from the Forbidden Island of Niihau. Some things you just fall instantly in love with, entwining you into their magic spell where you can cherish them as custodian for a time. But a long-term love is my mother’s silver Deco candelabras designed by James Steeth who is famous for designing the Melbourne Cup trophy. As I miss my wonderful mother so much, they play centre stage over the Christmas season.
Durian and jasmine, divine.
Invention you admire?
Oh so many!... what comes to mind is the Polygraph famously used by American president Thomas Jefferson... the camerae obscurae of Vermeer’s times... Linnaeus’ binominal system of nomenclature... with so many more... oh and of course guilloche enamel with the mesmerising vivid lustrous light reflections I am so envious of, I dreeeam of capturing this level of light and colour vibrancy in my watercolours.
Definitely Autumn, those gorgeous blue sky still days, the beginnings of the coming chill teasing at the back door on dusk. The colder it gets the more vibrant the colours of Melbourne’s street trees become, clear evidence of a changing season.