Fran’s studio/workshop in Murrurundi, known as The Chicken in the Window, served as both her creative space and a retail outlet until 2020. Collaborating with Charlotte Drake Brockman, they crafted and sold tin animals. While the shop has closed its doors, Fran continues to operate from her studio/workshop. Her artistic journey has been graced with fortunate opportunities to undertake large-scale public art commissions, adhering to specific guidelines and deadlines. In addition, she has engaged in numerous private commissions. Fran finds personal gratification in creating exhibition pieces, which often showcase intricate layers of recycled tin. Recently, she has felt a deep pull towards documenting the vanishing infrastructure in rural areas due to progress. This fascination leads her to explore small towns, immersing herself in research, absorbing stories, and collecting fragments of tin to incorporate into her work. She meticulously cuts out shapes, rearranges them until they harmonize visually, and welds them together to form captivating collages. Fran derives immense satisfaction from crafting pictures using tin as her medium of choice.
"For thirty years since I moved to the Upper Hunter, Liddell Power Station has been a dominating landmark on my frequent drives to Sydney and Newcastle. It has been an icon of the Upper Hunter and the impact of its transition will affect the whole community. What local artist would not want to be a part of it and try in some way to honour the time and be involved in documenting it"
Fran Wachtel's reaction to doing a work about the Liddell Power Station was excitement, and getting to portray the industrial shapes and angles. After visiting the site Wachtel realised the need to convey the human contribution and culture. and the role the workers we rely on to keep everything ticking over. Her work will be influenced by the materials she has, and sourced from the site. Watchtel's artwork will remain fluid and evolving until all the little pieces are welded together though the intentions will always remain. Fran Comments she was attracted to the project by the irony of making a work out of recycled tin for a POWER STATION that was going to be recycled. Being selected for the Liddell has also inspired her to do a radical clean up my studio/workshop/junk yard revealing recycled resources to use.