Heather O'FlahertyMy mum was exposed to polio as a baby and was diagnosed with Infantile Paralysis by the time she was 18 months old. It affected her right leg.

For many years, it never really occurred to me that Mum even had a disability, for such was her optimism and strong character that her physical restrictions didn’t even register.

She willingly participated in family bushwalking treks, strolls along sandy beaches and rocky shorelines, country barn dances, mad scrambles for trains or buses and those all-important shopping mall hikes that only those with three teenage daughters could even contemplate!

I’ve come to realise that Mum was, and still is, so much more than her physical attributes. Her love, her determination and her independence have always supported her encouragement to help me to look for the beauty in all forms, regardless of social expectations.

“Use what you’ve been given”, “take the opportunity”, and “appreciate the difference” are all lessons I’ve learnt from my Mum that I try and use when it comes to creating a good art piece. It can only be hoped that I use these lessons in the rest of my life with the same sense of purpose and dignity that my Mum always has.

Please click on a picture below to see more photographs and a video of each of Heather’s “Touched by Polio” art works

Materials: water-based acrylic medium; craft foam; sequins; cardboard; clay; wood; acetate; metal; wool; latex; confetti; rock; poly styrene foam; sealers

The fantasy genre itself is as old as the hills themselves for it’s in our nature to dream and imagine. It’s part folklore, part history and a touch of whimsy, it’s the unexplained realms and it’s in the adventure of the future! As an artist, fantasy is my place of reference, a place to nurture my gifts and to feed my spirit.

“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape? … If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, than it’s our plain duty to escape, and take as many people with us as we can!”

J R R Tolkien

Materials: water-based acrylic medium; craft foam; acetate; leather (laces only); natural twine; sequins; rubber matting; sealers

As a huge fan of J R R Tolkien, this boot is a nod to all things Elven. The elves of Mirkwood, as mentioned in Tolkien’s works, are fringe forest dwellers and the thought crossed my mind … could you imagine the lost property of Elves?!

“He heard there oft the flying sound of feet as light as linden-leaves,
Or music welling underground in hidden hollows quavering.”

J R R Tolkien ~ The Lord of the Rings

Materials: water-based acrylic medium; rubber; craft foam; perspex; artificial turf; sealers

Inspired by a child’s sheer joy of splashing around in puddles after the rain, this piece represents that hidden child’s willfulness and power in all of us.

“When you see someone putting on his Big Boots,
You can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.”

A A Milne ~ Winnie the Pooh