Creative Industries


01 July 2013

Globetrotting collector and stylist, Australian Sibella Court's inaugural curation for the Queensland Museum's Curators of Cool series has been paired with an apt setting designed and hand-drawn by QUT Interior Design students with beautiful results.

Ms Court, author of such exquisitely illustrated books as Bowerbird and Nomad, arranges everything from a bunch of luggage tags, to bundles of fabrics and feathers, into stunningly covetable collections.

She recently spent a day in the museum's natural history archives with fourth-year QUT Interior Design students Simone Lockley and Rebecca Shaw, fossicking through trays and boxes of items collected over more than 150 years ago.

The Curators of Cool micro-exhibition invites six influential people to choose objects from the Museum's collection that define 'cool' for them.

"Sibella was very focused, she had a clear vision," Simone said.

"It was interesting meeting her. I follow her on Instagram and I have seen her books so it was nice to be able to put a face to the name."

Rebecca said Sibella had chosen a range of objects associated with natural history for the display.

"There are some really interesting artifacts in the museum archives," she said.

"Sibella's selection reflects her fascination with the 'cabinets of curiosities' of the 1800s: eclectic, haphazard collections of objects from the far reaches of the known world."

Once the objects were chosen, the team of six, including Hayley Fitzgerald, Rachael Gwaro, Louise Willey, and Tamara Eade followed Ms Court's brief for a chalkboard backdrop.

"Our brief was to create an illustrated cabinet of curiosity looking at different combinations of shape, line, texture, and scale," Hayley said.

The students drew an array of objects in white chalk. Some real, some imagined, but all very curious. A taipan skeleton sits next to cross sections of the human heart, while a pineapple is juxtaposed with an odd fairy creature in a bell jar.

"I think it is lovely - there is something lovely about chalk. It is being phased out in schools and it is nice to have a hand drawn element," Louise said.

Rachael found it an interesting process "because we had to collaborate with the museum, Sibella and as a team".

QUT Interior Design lecturer Natalie Wright facilitated the partnership with Queensland Museum.

"Such real-world opportunities for students to work with local, internationally renowned visionaries on projects in the public realm, will leave an enduring impression as they transition into their creative futures," Ms Wright said.

The Curators of Cool display can be found on level one of the museum close to the museum shop. Its glass cabinets contain a fascinating array of birds, wings, shells, whale bone, a penguin, starfish and birds' eggs and nests including one which intrigued Sibella because the bird had woven manmade wire in with the twigs.

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Media contact: Niki Widdowson, QUT media officer, 07 3138 2999 or

Creative team: (from left) Hayley Fitzgerald, Louise Willey, Simone Lockley, Rachael Gwaro and Rebecca Shaw.


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