Poppy Kural works on instinct. The weaver and longtime RUSSH muse is the first to admit even her best laid plans tend to fall by the wayside as she starts to create a new piece. "I usually start off with a rough idea, but as soon as I start working it more often than not changes direction," she tells us from her sunlit apartment in Sydney's Bondi Beach. "I find that the exciting part." It's the reason we've come together today, Kural has been commissioned by luxury jeweller Cartier to create a custom work. "I’ve made an every day object, in this case a beach hat, precious ... I’ve used entirely gold metal wire, which was a slight challenge as i’m only use to making woven wall pieces. So there was a bit of trial and error in making the wire object wearable ... The hat has ended up being exactly what I had envisioned, and maybe a new direction to explore one day." Crafting with feeling and energy is something the maker has become synonymous for since she first started creating art as a child in Avalon, on Sydney's Northern Beaches. "Art-making was just something I grew up doing. My parents are both creative people so it comes from them and the way they brought us up," she says. "I went to a Steiner School for a few years, where a lot of the learning you do is with your hands, whether it be art, cooking, gardening."
"[My family] lived in the Angophora Reserve which was beautiful. Most of our days were spent by the beach; I think that's why I’m always drawn to living close to the water now, it makes me feel at home."
Kural's woven pieces require a second look, at times a third, to fully comprehend the detail and intricacy in her practice. Adept at subverting the genre, Kural combines the meditative repetition of the art of weaving with contemporary textiles - strings entwined with glass and gold wire, natural fibres shot through with veins of metallic. What looks ordinary on first sight soon reveals itself as extraordinary. Inspired by the works of artist Eva Hesse ("A constant for me, I often refer to her works"), she cut her teeth studying Textile Design at Melbourne's RMIT, before moving back to Sydney to pursue sculpture at COFA. Kural's mantra is stillness, "I often have a very busy mind and get overwhelmed easily. So I try and remind myself to be still, even for a few moments." A Pisces, she describes herself as emotional and sensitive. And, much like the peaceful ingenuity of her practice, Kural possesses a wisdom shaped by life experience. "I had Hodgkin’s lymphoma when I was a teenager," she tells. "I think having dealt with something so serious and life threatening at a young age has put things into perspective. Even though it was such a horrible thing to go through, it has made me who I am today and I do feel like it has been a significant lesson."
"Laying in bed each night with partner Livio, and both of us feeling our baby moving in my tummy - nothing makes me smile more than that."
2018 has been a significant year for Kural, with the advent of her first solo exhibition, showcased at Paddington's Ellery Gallery. "Having a solo show at the beginning of the year is something I'm proud of. I have only ever worked by commission, so having created a whole body of work to exhibit was pretty cool to stand back and look at."
Along with her weaving practice, Kural's avocations are intrinsically down to earth - “I love to cook! Although I guess if you know me well enough, you already know that” - and her approach to beauty is grounded in the desire for low maintenance: "I wash my hair every day with natural shampoo and conditioner and let it dry, I just wash my face with water and apply rose water and MV Organics Rose Oil." Kural's immediate future is shaped by the arrival of her first child, and the dream of building a house in Tasmania with her partner. "We also want to collaborate on making woven furniture, and have an exhibition with some of the pieces soon." Needless to say, you'll want to watch this space.
"[I find beauty] in the small things, which change day to day."
PHOTOGRAPHY Sarah Adamson @ Union Management
FASHION Ellen Presbury
TALENT Poppy Kural
HAIR & MAKEUP Corinna Wilmshurst