A Creative Type with Patience

Does one’s art bring out traits otherwise hidden or unattainable in other areas of our lives?

Each day as I work in the Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitor’s Centre I hear the word patience in regards to my work. 

Never would I ever describe myself as a patient person. But those who stop to see me work, see the meticulous effort I put into my craft. I enjoy the work so much I never feel a need for patience on my part. 

Today’s Cairns Eye in the Weekend Post has a nice well written article about my work on the Butterfly Rainforest: Preparing for Flight. 


I decide to stretch my creativity and join in the workshop offered by the Saltwater Creek Basketry Club. My aunt used to have a basket weaving business so all of us cousins learned but the materials used by this group are completely different than what I’ve ever done before. 

Using the Palm tree inflorescence native to the Far North Queensland area I attempted a basket. Instead I have a lovely not very basket-like wall hanging. 


Interested in learning wire crochet? I’ll be offering a wire crochet workshop on Saturday, April 11. Book your space through Tanks Arts Centre; 4032 6600


Uninterrupted Work

It has been such a luxury to have days and days in a row of uninterrupted time to just work on my Butterfly Rainforest! Each day brings such a huge amount of progress it leaves me so much to look forward the next day. While the photos don’t look like I’ve made much progress, actual measurements do! The tree is a total of 140cm tall and has been branching out. More leaves, more flowers, a trip to the hardware store and introducing a class to working with metals have been the highlights. Oh, and a few interviews, too!

A much needed trip to the hardware store led me to find what looks just like a Yoyoi Kusama art installation:


 I have now seen, in the wild, 3 of the 4 species of butterflies I’m including in my Butterfly Rainforest; the Ulysses, the Cairns Birdwing, and the Lurcher.  


Many have asked how big will the piece be? It will be as big a my supply of colored copper wire. Of which I now only have 10 spools of the 20 gauge. I started with about 70!


Up to 45 cm and growing…while I still have wire. 


Wire crocheting buttress roots and stabilizing the tree trunk at the same time. 


Adding yarn for color and texture,


A lovely sky at dusk:


Only two weeks left until the Launch and my Artist Talk at Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitor’s Centre, 2PM. 

For more day to day progress on my wire crocheted Butterfly Rainforest art installation, follow me on Instagram: Studio Deanna. 

Wire Crochet Workshop – Fibre Workshops, too!

April 11 – 16, I’ll be available to teach various fibre and wire crochet workshops through Tanks Arts Centre at Cairns Botanic Gardens.


Learn from my efforts to build the Rainforest Butterflies art installation.

I look forward to meeting other stitch artists, both new and experienced from the Cairns, FNQ area!

BOOKINGS: Ph 4032 6600


Try and See Workshop– Ages 10 to adult

DATE: SATURDAY, April 11 – 10AM-2PM COST: $40


Learn to crochet at your own pace with fibre and wire. Learn which are my favorite tools to use, wire sources, and my go-to books for patterns and tips. Supplies of wire, fibre and tools will be provided for students to play at their own pace and experiment with various coloured wires, gauges, and material combinations.

Learn to Crochet Workshop– Ages 10+

DATE: TUESDAY, April 14 – 9:30AM-12PM COST: $20

Beginner course teaching chain, double crochet, half treble, treble stitches to complete flower motifs in yarn.

DATE: WEDNESDAY, April 15 – 9:30AM-12PM COST: $20

Learn to Crochet Workshop – Ages 10+

Beginner Course teaching chain, double crochet, half treble, treble stitches to complete flower motifs in yarn.

DATE: THURSDAY, April 16 – 9:30AM-12PM COST: $20

Intermediate Crochet Workshop – Ages 10+

Crocheting beyond the basics. Create more complicated flower designs or a butterfly. (Students should have some experience with Chain, Double Crochet, Half Treble, Treble Stitches).

BOOKINGS: Ph 4032 6600


Butterfly Rainforest Research is Solid

The area in the Cairns Botanic Gardens where I am working is a multi-use space and I found myself attending the latest “Walk & Talk” event hosted by Friends of the Botanic Gardens: Watching Out for Wicked Weeds. 

Many native butterflies here in Far North Queensland enjoy plants and flowers from non-native species. Some are also killed by them.  It took me a long time to wade through information to ensure each plant and   flower I created was, in fact, a native species. Common names and Latin names were often haphazardly applied leaving this non-botanist a bit perplexed. 

Today’s informative session by members of Australia’s Dept of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry solidified for me that the initial research I did was worth the effort! 

Having access to Botanists has helped also. I did stump them with my question about the fruit on the Walking Stick Palm tree:

Each Walking Stick Palm I have seen in photos or here in real life has either orange fruit or red fruit. Do the orange ones become red or does each plant have its own specific colored fruit and they don’t change color?

The Botonists didn’t have an answer for me as it takes 10 years for the Palm to come to fruit and an experiment started by one could not completed with a reliable answer. But he did tell me they are edible and the red ones taste better :)

As a painter will paint what they see, I will stitch what I see!

For more of my day to day Artist-in-Residence adventures, follow me on Instagram: Studio Deanna

Early Build Days

Thank You to everyone who patiently reads through my progress reports as I am creating all posts with my smartphone. I suspect there are formatting issues I’d be twitching to fix if I had my laptop!

This has been a busy build week with many parts and pieces looking like other objects on their way to a rainforest. I set the wire crocheted beginning of my Pink Flowered Evodia tree at the front door of the visitor’s centre and walked away to speak with someone. Picking it up upon my return someone commented they thought it was a unique rubbish bin! Thankfully they had not used it as such!!

Each day the tree grows taller and yesterday I was asked if it was a traditional fishing net/basket. This is the risk and the fun when creating fully in the public eye. The conversations with visitor’s liven my day, their curiosity make their funny guesses as to what I’m doing worth the pubic scrutiny. It’s a lovely international audience that wanders through the Cairns Botanic Garden so I have met many from around the world. 

The Botanic Gardens are absolutely amazing!! I did a lot of internet research before I arrived but there is nothing like seeing what I’m recreating in real life. Seeing the details that I couldn’t find in photographs, feeling the humidity, smelling the rainforest and hearing the cacophony of sounds. All so very new to me it takes me forever to walk anywhere as I’m constantly distracted by yet another new item in the Gardens. 

You are welcome to stop by the Cairns Botanical Garden Visitor’s Centre from 10:30 – 3:00 each day to see my progress on the Butterfly Rainforest. 
Don’t be a stranger, come say, ‘Hi!’
Starting April 11 I will be offering wire crochet and fibre workshops for those who wish for more in depth information about fibre and wire crochet. 

Enjoy a few photos I captured on my walks: 

^Those scare me. They remind me of the Shadows from B5!

A Bit of Sunday Everything

Brought out the rainforest floor rug hooking aspect of the project and am happy with the fiber choices I made. 

It didn’t take long for me to discover  the most essential tool for me to complete this Butterfly Rainforest:

A great To-Do List has been provided:

The flora and fauna are just wonderful. It took me about half an hour to walk 300 meters, taking photos of Bush Turkeys, Guinea Fowl, flowers, and research examples!

Sharing space: On the last Saturday in March, a local basketry group will be meeting here at the visitor’s centre also. I’m looking forward to working with the new materials available here. 

Looks like a shooting star that fell from the sky:

Spent time working on a small crochet piece while I sat to simply observe the space, see the flow of visitors, feel the light and get a good idea of how My piece would fit best. 

Had a great time meeting everyone in the drawing class taught by Fiona on Sunday. Learned a lot, laughed a lot. Thanks, Ladies!!

Wandered home through the bamboo forest walk and loved the colors and patterning of this species from India. 

This little gecko that has chosen to move in is soooo little he’s clear. One can see through his toes! Not even 2 inches from nose to tail we keep stumbling over each other in the house. Not sure how well he’ll survive in the wild if he can’t even avoid a danger as large as I. This is Australia, most bugs are bigger than he! Good luck little buddy. 

For more day to day adventures from my artist residency in Cairns follow me on Instagram: Studio Deanna

Day 2 – Settling into the Residency House

A rainy day here in tropical Cairns, perfect for unpacking and settling into the Residency House:

That huge 20Kg box of supplies I’ve carried all over the Pacific Ocean is finally unpacked, permanently. The strong dishpack box held up surprisingly well through multiple flights on multiple airlines until it got wet in the rain being loaded on a flight from Auckland to Sydney. Luckily it hung on through the final leg up to Cairns. 

All the parts, pieces, and supplies handled the travel well.  The Evodia tree base got a bit dented but it’s here and ready to grow into a rainforest. 

I think back and wish I had brought more items but I do need to think realistically. My time here is limited, therefore the size of the project is limited no matter how many great ideas I may have. 

One wish from the box was socks. And my sweatpants. I have no idea what happened to any of them since I left Japan. How have I become the owner of only a single pair of socks? Alas, the box contained only art supplies. 

The afternoon and evening was spent quietly adding the embroidery accents to the felted chrysalis pieces and then adding a watery layer of matte medium to give them the harder shell effect I wanted. 

It rained and stopped and rained again as the hours ticked by. 5 min of rain from the clouds, another 10 min of ‘rain’ as it filtered it’s way through the trees to the ground followed by about 20 min of reprieve before the cycle started again. 

Ventured out for food during a gap in the rain. Upon my return there was a Lurcher butterfly flittering about the dappled sunlit yard of the Residency House :)


The Botanic Gardens Cafe opens at 7AM tomorrow. A lovely place for a cup of tea and to wake with the rainforest. 

For more of my day to day adventures follow me on Instagram: Studio Deanna