Catherine Kingsmill was once married to a Hoodoo Guru.
The iconic band’s lead singer, Dave Faulkner, is godfather to her son Moten, now 18, and, more recently, a member of the Australian alternative rock band Died Pretty bunked down at her East Maitland home.
“I was at art school in Sydney when Mark [drummer with the Hoodoo Gurus Mark Kingsmill] and I met and I’m talking 35 years ago,” Kingsmill said.
“Most of our friends are either artists or musicians and most of us are still friends.
“Mark and I are now divorced but we are still friends.
"A marriage is just really hard to keep together when you’re not together, but we never had a falling out or anything like that.”
The then Sydney-based couple moved to Maitland 20 years ago along with their two young daughters Lucretia, now 32, and Morgan, 26.
“We moved here to be closer to the country while Mark was still touring,” Kingsmill said.
And it was here in the Hunter that Catherine revisited her art.
“I did textile design first and then I took a break when I had the kids," she said.
"But I’ve always made stuff and I always made the kids’ clothes, which was really unusual back then.
“When we moved here I became a housewife but then I got bored so I did a Bachelor of Arts and majored in Australian post-colonialism and Australian history and then I did a masters degree in public history.”
A few degrees later – including an advanced diploma in fine arts at Newcastle Art School – Catherine became an accidental artist.
“I did the art thing more to help me with my teaching. I certainly didn’t do it to be an artist because I didn’t think I had it, so that’s why all of this is a real shock,” she said.
“I always liked the idea of being an artist but I didn’t really envisage myself doing it.”
That is until now.
Last month Kingsmill had three artworks selected for the prestigious Sculpture in the Vineyards and she was recently named the Greater Emerging Artist award for the Cessnock Regional Art Gallery exhibition.
“When I won the prize I didn’t even have my shoes on. It was such a shock and everyone else was really dignified,” Kingsmill said.
One of her selected pieces was inspired by a dress at Morpeth Museum.
“I actually catalogued that dress in 1998 when I was at the museum as part of my masters placement and that dress captivated me and I haven’t been able to let go of her,” she said.
“And it speaks so much about the history of the area.”
These days Kingsmill runs three studios across the Hunter and is also a volunteer and teacher at the Maitland Regional Art Gallery.
“I’ve only just turned into an artist and I’ve met some beautiful people and it’s a really supportive area to be an artist,” she said.
“It’s quite bizarre because everything that I’ve ever studied has culminated into me being an artist by using every skill that I’ve got.”