ArtView May 2015 - Page 69

Perched on a rural hilltop outside Hobart with echidnas and wallabies for company, words flow easily from poet Crystal Davis. Her hands often can’t keep up, but she refuses surrender her visceral pen-to-paper method for faster technological options. She’s proudly old school-contemporary, a niche cemented by her recent acquisition of the century-old typewriter she’s using to create handmade wall inspiration pieces. But this idyllic artist lifestyle was hard won. The production of Crystal’s debut publication Azure Assurances, A Book of Pictured Poetry represents the culmination of a difficult period in her life. “I’d been a carer for a loved one under traumatic circumstances. I’d spent a decade working 12 hour days in a job that didn’t fulfil me. Eventually, I had a breakdown, which was the catalyst to return to my greatest childhood love – poetry.” After months of cathartic writing, Crystal had a clear vision: to produce a book promoting artistic self-expression for positive mental health. “I discovered that writing down my pain allowed it to leave my body, I no longer needed to carry it around. It saved my mental health.” Her vision included a very specific style of line drawing, which she found in lifelong Canberra artist Kylie Fogarty. “I tried to do it myself, but that’s not where my talent lies.” Davis said. “I literally found Kylie on Google, and knew it was meant to be. She’s very talented. I was honoured when she loved my work and agreed to collaborate. It was an incredibly vulnerable time for us both.” For 9 months, Crystal and Kylie communicated only via email, finally meeting for coffee when the book went to print. “We didn’t follow the rules. Being a rookie, I didn’t know there were any. The whole experience was an exercise in creative trust and intuition.” Following a successful launch and exhibition tour in 2014, Azure Assurances has a growing and dedicated fan base, with copies heading to Denmark, the United States, Germany and the UK. Broadsides from the book are held in private collections Australia-wide. Crystal also donates a percentage of profits to Lifeline. And there’s no time to rest on her laurels. A photographic exhibition studying women with endometriosis, an Italian arts residency and a top secret engineering project are all on the 2015 agenda, along with workshops helping women to connect to heart and story. Crystal writes regularly for online publication Elephant Journal, with her most recent article “I Drank Warm Honey Lemon Water Every Day for a Year” receiving more than 1 million views in its first week. Connect with Crystal through her website www.crystaldavis.com.au For more of Kylie’s work, visit www.kyliefogarty.com A poem from Azure Assurances follows -