Susan Fell Mclean

Masters of Visual Arts             Monash University 2006

Contemporary textile artist

 Sculptor, painter, writer,  researcher, educator
 Byron Bay  Australia
Susan Fell Mclean
Susan Fell Mclean MVA

“Informing all my work is a strong sense of materiality.  My studio specialisations are natural dyes and shibori.  

My aim, to employ textiles to articulate a sense of place and history, connects threads of different places and different times. Resultant works explore natural and man made palimpsests.

… for a time, my work was inspired by the concept of palimpsests created by geomorphology and variables in seasonal weathering.   Many of my artworks comment on resilience, the vulnerability of nature.”  Gooram Falls for web IMG_5637

“More recently, my work is concerned with translating ideas about language into textile sculptures and installations, with a particular focus on  Italo Calvino. “

 quickness for web 5445

 seedpods1845Gondwana Colour Towards an Eco Culture’ consolidating scientific research and artistic expertise towards ecological and economic sustainability.

“I am passionate about using sustainable natural plant dyes,  with extensive research in the use of eucalyptus”.

2012/13 I undertook some work in collaboration with research scientists from Southern Cross University – Plant Science. This consolidated my research of eucalypts that goes back many years.   I have developed a globally unique plant dye from eucalyptus leaves – ‘Gondwana Colour’.

While other artists, globally, use eucalyptus as a dye in various ways,  with some beautiful results, ‘Gondwana Colour’ is the only packaged dye product.


“My studio work runs parallel to this research and showcases ‘Gondwana Colour’, with eucalyptus dyed artcloth, textile sculpture and wearable art”.

Nantou exhibitionInternational Recognition

I am frequently invited as presenter/speaker/exhibitor to prestigious international textile conferences, most recently, the World Craft Council and UNESCO, International Forum of Natural Dyes, World Eco Fibres, Taiwan Oct 2014.

Invited to show 6 natural dyed outfits in an international designer gala event in Taipei, I was one of only 11 other designers who presented.  I conducted a workshop on eucalyptus dyed shibori for the conference at the National Craft Research and Development Institute in Nantou Taiwan.

My art textiles shown regularly in touring exhibitions.

China exhibitionMy eucalyptus dyed shibori art cloth in the 2014 World Eco Fibres, Textiles Exhibition, Nantong, China. Previously, in 2013 this exhibition, curated by Edric Ong, was shown in Brunei Gallery School of Oriental/African Studies University of London

Research – Traditional and Contemporary Textiles


In 2005, I was invited as a researcher at Ernabella Arts Centre, and traveled to a remote community of Indigenous people, in Pitjatjanjara Lands in the far north west of South Australia. After stringent editing,  I was granted approval to speak, in international forums, about the practice of batik by the women of Ernabella.

Renita Stanley

My research of the wonderful world of textiles is ongoing.

2012 research the Nga Ceremony of the indigenous Iban women of Rumah Garie in remote Sarawak.

My research has seen me travel to Africa, Japan, America, Europe and many places in Asia, to build up extensive knowledge and great resources.

2016 10 day Indigo and other natural dye intensive with Ababoukar Fofana in Mullumbimby.

Indigo vat  for web Indigo hands for web_4901

My Indigo for web 4911                             Indigo samples  for web4822

2010 Rozome, indigo and shibori in Kyoto and Arimatsu Japanjapan indigo dyeing

 2014 Natural dyes of Taiwan, particularly indigo  – research at Zouh Ye Cottage and at the International Forum of Natural Dyes and World Eco Fibres and Textiles Nantou Taiwan – at the National Craft Research and Design Institute.

Z:ye me dyeing _4121    me at colours exhibition

2008 shibori and natural dyes in Provence and Paris France (self funded)

2012 Certificate  4  Small Bus. Man. (self funded)

2010 rozome and shibori in Kyoto and Arimatsu Japan (self funded)

2008 rozome. batik – Wax Eloquent – Mass Art Boston Massachutis USA (self funded)

2014 natural dyes and eco fibres Taiwan – Funded by host Conference

2005 Batik Practice of Indigenous Australians. Ernabella Central Australia. (invitated research)

Selected Solo Exhibitions

• 2012 Timeless Textiles Newcastle

• 2010 ‘Multiplicity ‘ Wangaratta Regional Art Gallery

• 2009 ’Six Memos’ Shepparton Regional Art Museum

Recent Group Exhibitions

  • 2014 international artists exhibition at Taiwan international Craft Research and Dev. Inst. For ISEND WEFT (UNESCO/World Craft Council)
  • 2014 World Eco Fibres, Textiles Exhibition, Nantong, China
  • 2013 Brunei Gallery School of Oriental/African Studies University of London
  • Regularly exhibits, World Shibori Network Aust/NZ in Australia and internationally including Hong Kong and Paris
  •  2011 “Out of the Box” World Shibori Network Aust & NZ” exhibition Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre.
  •  ‘Australia Naturally’ touring nationally ‘Scarf – World Shibori Network Aust & NZ” exhibition touring nationally and internationally throughout 2010/11
  • 2009 /10 Art Cloth Engaging New Visions’ (international, invitational) Fairfiled Gallery Sydney, Orange Regional Gallery, Wangaratta Art Gallery
  • 2008  Paris France – International Shibori Symposium, Musee du Quai Branly – cinema screening ‘Gooram Gooram Gong Waterfall Palimpsests’, Sculpted Packages’ L’Eclaireur, Paris sponsored by Woolmark, ‘Australia Naturally’ Paris American Academy


Tutor –  Byron Bay Community College

Currently working with Creative Mullumbimby, CALDERA Contemporary Textile Collective, cultural mapping and the Mullumbimby Sculpture Walk.

Awards & international engagements

  • 2015 Quick Response Grant for professional Development
  • 2014 workshop at Taiwan international Craft Research and Dev. Inst. For ISEND WEFT (UNESCO/World Craft Council)
  • 2012 conference presenter WEFT Kuching Sarawak, Kuala Lumpur International Batik
  • 2006 : awarded the Monash Post Graduate Studio Position in Italy, Palazzo Vaj, Prato, Tuscany
  • 2003 – Arts Victoria Grant for Professional Development, to exhibit and present workshops at the Museum of Industrial Archaeology and Textiles Ghent  Belgium
  • 2008 Wax Eloquent Boston Massachusetts USA World Batik Conference USA,
  • KILB Kuala Lumpur Malaysia (2008/9/11), ISEND WEFT Kuching Sarawak 2012.
  • Invited artist & tutor for Universities and schools overseas, including Artist in Residence at Cumnor House School Sussex UK, UNIMAS University in Kuching and the International School in Kuala Lumpur.
  • The Australian representative on the World Batik Council.
  • Presenter for National Conferences, Forums and Galleries, in Australia, and tutor local and regional workshops.