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My name is Luisa Manea

I am passionate about various art forms such as pottery, fashion design, live painting, and art classes. Creativity is contagious, and one idea often leads to another. I am an award-winning artist and designer with expertise in multiple areas of art. Recently, I was honoured to be a finalist and published artist in the Per Tuckers Ceramic Competition 2022.

Luisa Manea gold illustration

Fashion designer and Milliner mainly wedding gowns.

 witch doctor Luisa Manea

Ceramic artist, selling sculptures as soon as I make them.

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The black Swan By Luisa Manea

Professional artist, winning many awards locally and nationally.

art classes kids Luisa Manea

Have some fun at an art party or have me paint live at a major event

Fashion and art have always been intertwined for me. It all started when I was six years old. I taught myself to draw by using sandwich paper to sketch the models in the Vogue dressmaking pattern books my mum bought. I then moved on to sewing on my grandmother's press pedal sewing machine, which I still keep as furniture in my hallway.


When I was 16, I left home to study design and work at Ahern's department store. Ahern's supported my clothing designs by sponsoring competition entries on tours throughout Australia and displaying my graduating designs in the fabric department. I won many awards as a fashion design student and was awarded Dux of the Year.


After design school, I became a successful high-end couture bridal designer with a label called Allure Couture. I won many awards, particularly in contemporary bridal design. However, one groom-to-be once told his partner at a bridal show 20 years ago that my wedding gowns looked like nighties. Now, just about every second wedding gown is cut with a bias-cut satin, mimicking a nightgown. 


When we moved to Queensland for my husband's work, bridal sewing didn't take off, but my art did. I went from making $6000 wedding gowns to people wanting to avoid paying $15 for a hem alteration. I had to adapt to an art career to survive. Fortunately, Cairns has a great art culture, where I often enter competitions. RADF grants provided by the local Cairns Council and the Queensland government have helped establish my art.


In 2019, I began creating Fashion on the Field (FOTF) illustrations for the Cairns Cup Carnival. This has since expanded to include the Cairns Amateurs 3-day event, Laura Races Rodeo, Charters Tower's Amateurs, The Benson Hotel, and Brisbane Spring Carnival. I love to hand-deliver fashion illustrations to my clients and see the delight on their faces. My followers have organically named these illustrations 'Paper Fashionistas'.


I also entered the Millinery Awards at Flemington, Oaks Day in 2019 and received two tickets for my model and me to attend. From a little kid in a tiny country town pumping petrol in my roller skates to the stage at the Melbourne Cup was a big highlight. Then, in the following years, I scored in the top 10 in the Emerging Designer Awards in 2020/2021.


In 2021, I attended a pottery class, which changed my life. My understanding of 2D construction into 3D in the design and manufacture of gowns made this transition very easy. I love how my hands squish around a block of clay to create an organic sculpture. I don't use reference photos; I stop when the clay tells me to stop. My potter's friends and I have fun making up names and narratives for these sculptures, including tribal witch doctors, gypsies, and royalty, all with exotic pasts.


My sculptural practice has started to evolve, and now I employ more of the creative skills I have developed over the years in one piece. I am excited about this exploration path, as only a few artists have travelled down this road before. My latest projects are ballerinas' bodies/torsos made in ceramic, and then I dress them in op-shop clothing that I cut up and recreate into dancing costumes. They sometimes have separate ceramic limbs that are positioned into ballerina poses.

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