Mel O’Dell

Mel O’Dell is an artist based in Newcastle. She used to paint big colourful murals and at the moment is crafting these bright, layered papercut compositions. When I dropped in to her space at Onwards Studio, Mel was working on a commission from the master of the David Allan, a vessel that dredges the harbour of Newcastle. She just returned from a trip to Japan, hosted a workshop at Luna Park over the weekend, and while I was there took a break from paper cutting to brush up on her table tennis skills.

1. Describe your ideal picnic
It’d have to be on a headland overlooking a beach, or on a beach with some gin & tonic and fish and chips!

2. UHU or Bostik?
Either! I just don’t like the glues that dry yellow, they’re annoying haha!

3. Did you ever eat Clag as a kid?
I don’t think I did but I do remember another girl in my class eating glue and I also remember copying that girl a lot because I thought she was so cool… So I probably did eat Clag haha.

4. Tell me about the best gluten free donuts
OMG! A franchise (I think they’re a franchise) called Gluten Free Donuts make the best cinnamon donuts around. I can’t eat gluten, but I swear these donuts are much better than your regular ones. You still feel good after you eat them.

5. What was your favourite thing about Japan?
Ahh this is tricky, Japan was a seriously beautiful country to experience. Initially I wanted to say my favourite thing was getting to experience the snow and being on the mountain, but I think the overall feel of ease I got from Japan was what I loved the most.

6. Is Mel O’Dell your real name?
My full name is Melanie O’Dell but a fun fact for you… It wasn’t until I started uni until people started calling me ‘Mel O’Dell’ not just Mel.

7. Whats something interesting about Kempsey people may not know?
I’ll write a few things… Slim Dusty (the man behind the song ‘I’d love to have a beer with Duncan’) is from there.

Kempsey is also known as the home of Akubra and the Akubra hat is still made there.

Another cool fact is that a smaller town just outside of Kempsey called Smithtown first produced Milo!