Shirley Decker

My love of art and craft developed from a very early age, and this was nurtured by my mother as she taught me to sew, knit and embroider. I knitted and sewed clothes for my dolls and soon started designing and making clothes for myself, recycling the fabric from Mums old dresses (‘vintage’ before it became trendy!!)
I also loved to paint and draw, and the decoration I painted on my shed doors of my childhood home in Red cliffs is still there today. The Santa that I painted when I was 11 still makes an appearance every Christmas. Since completing my teacher training I have had the opportunity to share my skills with students and colleagues, enabling children to experience a wide variety of materials and techniques as a part of an integrated curriculum.
I loved adapting traditional stories and creating masks and costumes for school plays. My involvement in the community has included individual and group projects. I painted murals and also co-ordinated students to paint murals at each of our schools. Halls in Hopetoun and Beulah have been decorated for many school productions and debutante balls. On completing the Mallee Mural in the centre of town, Trish Hogan and I produced educational material which has been used along with The Meeting Place murals to enhance local history learning.
One challenge has been to create giant ice cream trollies at the aged care facilities in Hopetoun and Warracknabeal. I used paper Mache for this project and not only was it a great way to recycle old newspapers- the results continue to provide enjoyment for the residents, families and staff. Since retiring from full time teaching, I am still involved in school programs and find plenty of stimulation and fulfilment in this busy little community.

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