Ann-Maree Ager is a skilled and very talented Australian artist from Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, Australia. She has always been an art lover and as a child she would enter coloring competitions in school. Her teachers supported her strongly all throughout her schooling fostering her love and talent for art and crafts. After her school years it was simply a must for Ann-Maree to study art in university and become a visual arts teacher. A visit to a medieval fair where crafted leather items were shown reminded her of a key ring she had stamped years before, which brought back an interest for this craft within her. She sought out lessons at the Birdsall Tannery in Mascot and got hooked from the moment she made her first leather coaster in a class with Silvia Guerrera, her first teacher and good friend.
Ann-Maree considers herself very lucky to have been further instructed and supported by the great leather artist Peter Main who is her mentor to this day. She told us that Peter has believed in her skills and talent from the start and that he has instilled in her the belief that she is able to do anything. For his ongoing support she is very grateful. Peter still takes a close look to every piece she creates, which always pushes her to enhance the quality of her work.
As an art teacher, educator and art lover Ann-Maree’s aim is to share this love with as many people as possible. She wants leather work to be exhibited in mainstream craft shows and in contemporary art exhibitions. She hopes that this exposure will encourage artists to consider the possibilities of leather as an art medium and beyond its use for great functional items.
Seeking constantly to reach new horizons Ann-Maree has also started to move into leather sculpting. She says that, even though she has not done much leather sculpting in the past, she is enjoying a lot experimenting with it now. Working exotic skins into intricate filigree objects is also a relatively new feature in her repertoire and she has big plans for new art pieces involving multiple skins and plenty of color.
Ann-Maree likes using some non-traditional techniques and she can often be found wandering the scrapbooking supplies aisles looking for embossing plates or punches. When creating a new piece of art she will use any tool or technique that allows her to reach the effect she is after. She feels quite fortunate to be able to use some very old and beautiful tools given to her by her mentor.
A worn-down pencil of Al Stohlman, the pioneer of leathercraft, is one of her most treasured possessions and which she never uses. When things aren’t going well this pencil reminds her to go back to the basics and practice by the books. Over the past few years she has showed her artwork in many exhibitions. She told us she is very thankful for her incredibly supportive husband and children who give her the space and time to pursue her art and everything related to it.
Ann-Maree’s art is colorful and inspired by the beautiful nature of Australia. Her workshop at home looks out over a bush reserve and the sounds of kookaburras and sulphur-crested cockatoos wake her up each morning inspiring many of her works. The native Australian flora and fauna with its smells, sounds and colors make up a large part of her subject matter and that is what she wants to celebrate with her art.