My name is Carol Taylor, and I won the 2018 Access Arts Achievement Award. To win an award for my artwork was humbling… and truly inspiring.
You see, in 2001 I was in a car accident that left me as a quadriplegic with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Before my injury, I had no interest in art. I had never even lifted a paintbrush, but my husband encouraged me to try painting as a tool for therapy and recovery. I had no idea that I would have this creativity in me!
Believe me, it took a lot of persistence and hard work, especially because I don’t have the ability to hold a paint brush or use it in a typical way. Initially I required a contraption fitted to my hand to hold a paintbrush, and I still need assistance but I no longer need the contraption and am able to hold light-weight, modified brushes. I worked my way through these challenges and now that I’ve discovered this about myself, I couldn’t imagine life without creating art.
When I was told about Access Arts, this exciting organisation that gives artists a platform to grow from, I got involved and decided to apply for the Achievement Award. I never expected to actually win!
Winning the Access Arts award changed my life. Access Arts has opened doors for me that would otherwise have been closed, and for that I am forever grateful.
I had been making adapted clothing for myself over the past 17 years, and wanted to shine a spotlight on the fact that people with disability have been left out of the fashion conversation. Access Arts gave me the confidence to follow my artistic path. I was given support and industry connections that were instrumental to my success so far, and I used the Award funding to assist with placing my art onto fabric and creating wearable art for people with physical disability.
I have since designed waistcoats, which were worn by the speakers at the Perry Cross Research Foundation Gala Ball in April. I was invited to showcase my designs at artisan’s Brisbane Art Design exhibition in May. Now, I have been invited to create a collection of wearable art for the upcoming Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival in August! This was all made possible by Access Arts.