Hi I’m Chantel and I am addicted to wool.
Growing up in the suburbs of Brisbane, a life surrounded by sheep and wool was the last path I ever expected to take in life. I’ve always been an animal lover , one of THOSE obsessive ones that help moths out of bath tubs or go out of their way to not stand on an ant trail. I have always had itchy feet and would get claustrophobic staying in the one place for too long. That itch drove me to move from Brisbane to Outback Queensland and halfway back all before I was 23.
On the last move, I met two of the biggest loves of my life – my partner Jas (shearer, of course) and the wool industry.
Stepping into my first working woolshed was like one of those a-ha moments in life. Firstly, there were animals, big tick right there. There were sweaty shearers, the hum of handpieces, working dogs barking and throwing themselves at me for attention and that buzz in the air. The atmosphere was alive. I knew I’d stepped right into my future – the Australian wool industry.
From then on, I eat, sleep, walk, dream, talk, breath, live and love Aussie wool.
The last decade of my life has been dedicated to a career in wool, starting out as a green city slicking woolhandler to now a respected masterclasser. I walk the walk and talk the talk of wool. This is what makes my photography of the wool industry so much more than just a happy snap.
I tell the story of modern day wool, the people growing and harvesting our fibre, the sheep producing it and the lifestyle of the woolsheds. An industry spread right across Australia that has been logistically inaccessible to the rest of the world, is now being showcased and celebrated in all of its glory.
Photography is a great joy in my life, but I don’t just stop there when it comes to my wool industry advocacy. I love to talk all things wool and I’ll pop up at Agricultural events, encouraging others to share their love affairs with wool too. I hit the road part time with my Truth About Wool Campaign (www.thetruthaboutwool.com) story telling across the country and promoting wool wherever I can (started in 2017 and finishing in 2019).
The wool industry and my obsession with documenting it plays a starring role in my lifestyle, so much so that all of my personal and professional goals are always made around it. My first pregnancy was acted out while I was woolclassing and cooking for a shearing team. Now that my bouncing baby boy has joined us, he travels with his shearing family and already living that Aussie woolshed lifestyle.
I am addicted to wool, you might just be too once you immerse yourself in the industry through my perspective.
(Photo Credit for ‘About’ images: www.therealdealphotography.com.au
- April : Texas Regional Art Gallery
- 4th August – late September : Myall Park Botanical Gardens, Glenmorgan
- 10 August – 25 October: Quilpie Art Gallery, Quilpie Qld
- 15th April – 27th May: Mitchell on Maranoa Gallery, Mitchell Qld
- Permanent exhibition at ‘Shear Outback’, Hay NSW
- 13th June – 19th July: Surat on Ballone Gallery, Surat Qld