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Studio Bliss Designs

Property Donor: The GPT Group & Urban Growth

Launched: 12 March 2013

Closed: 15 January 2015

Shop 21, Food Court Level, Market Square, 119 Hunter St Mall, Newcastle

By appointment

Contact: t: 0415 70 11 88 e: [email protected]

Feb 2015: Listen to Bliss Cavanagh talk about her experience as a Renew Newcastle project with Nick Gerber from 1233ABC Newcastle

Studio Bliss Designs specialises in creating multi-sensory environments, sculptures and products with a unique therapeutic edge.

Drawn from the personal experience of living with Tourette syndrome, artist Bliss Cavanagh sought to develop alternative sensory solutions to medicine and mental health. With a direct sensory approach, Bliss predominantly works with bright colours, soft and smooth textures, reflective surfaces, colourful lights and projections, sweet aromas and music to create entire room experiences.

Tourette syndrome affects the sensory processing functions of the brain. This causes the experience of everyday life to become difficult, aggravating, and distressing for many individuals. Everyone deserves to experience life to its full potential. For those whose altered sensory processing inhibits them from doing so, the opportunity to experience an altered environment that speaks to their sensory needs is essential in enhancing quality of life.

Researching multi-sensory environments and their remarkable therapeutic benefits opened the need to understand more about Bliss’ own neurological disorder and its altered sensory processing. An abundance of self-realisations led her to see that her overwhelming love and desire for creating ambience and altering mood using colours, lights and music had been a type of subconscious self-medicating therapy. One that has always given relief, unlike the many medications and treatment therapies she had trialled. This revelation changed her entire life and art practice, empowering Bliss to challenge the negative hold of Tourette syndrome.

Bliss experiences an extraordinary phenomenon that Tourette syndrome presents in the act of creativity. In these sublime moments, she is liberated from the negative tics and constant agitation, as the torrent of compulsive energy is directed into the creative act. Bliss explains, “Art is my necessity. My artworks and creative processes are my medications. Although temporary, they transform my affliction into an attribute, the source of my inspiration and creative drive. Providing me with a purpose, gratification, and a liberation beyond anything I thought possible which has profoundly enriched my life.”

A Bachelor of Fine Art Honours project embodied this transformation, enshrined in each artwork that Bliss created. All working towards the resolution of creating a multi-sensory environment that stimulates and satisfies her personal altered sensory needs. This environment resulted in a large scale room installation exhibited at Watt Space in 2012, entitled Sensory Overload: a moment’s liberation from a tic.

The overall success and personal transformation Bliss accomplished has directed her to share this journey and aspire to help others through inspirational presentations, workshops, creating sensory products and temporary installations of her multi-sensory environments.

The Renew space is the creative centre for Bliss, acting as a studio, office and small retail/gallery for her artworks, products and services. She is delighted to become a part of the Renew Newcastle community and the endless connections and opportunities this opens to the world.

A mere week into the program, Bliss secured a commission to design, create and install the RAVE LOUNGE for the 2013 PossABLE IDEAS EXPO. The work could not fit more perfectly with her art practice and motivation to create alternative, multi-sensory spaces for adults and children with disability and special needs. The connections that Renew provides are an invaluable source of opportunity and the professional spaces are the creative space every young artist dreams of which the Renew Newcastle initiative makes possible.

Visit by appointment (Wed to Sat, 10am – 4pm)