YEARS of hard work are finally showing results for creative hinterland textile artist Belinda Arnold.
Belle, as she is generally known, has just won a number of awards, including best felted exhibit and a first in the wearable garments section at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
This follows her success at last year's Ekka, with similar champion awards.
"It has been a huge 12 months for me, not only producing these exquisite items, but also setting up a studio to enable me to work and hold small workshops," she said.
Belle studied visual arts at Wollongong University in the 1980s and began exhibiting and selling her paintings and ceramics.
She then completed post-graduate studies gaining a Masters in Art Administration at NSW University.
After years of working in galleries, Belle moved to the Noosa hinterland in 2000 and began painting again.
"It was only by chance that I came across handmade felt," Belle said.
"A friend popped in early one Saturday morning and dragged me along to a short felting workshop at Noosa Regional Gallery.
"I was so taken by the possibilities that I put my brushes down and haven't touched them since.
"That was six or so years ago."
Since then, Belle has taught herself various techniques including nunofelting and fabric dyeing.
"So now I combine these techniques to make very unique textiles," she said.
Not content with hiding away in her studio creating beautiful, wearable textiles, Belle has also learnt the art of bellydancing.
"I hate the gym," she admitted. "But bellydancing is a fantastic way to stay fit and you get to wear beautiful, feminine clothes.
"I started dancing about 12 years ago and have been dancing with a troupe, Desert Shimmer, in Coolum for five years. I am about to start teaching a class for Desert Shimmer in Yandina, starting April."
Belle now combines her love of textiles and dance.
She has created a range of funky dance/streetwear using her textile dyeing skills.
These unique pieces can be ordered online at beljaysfelt.com.
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