Design:Made:Trade

22 07 2009

Maybe it was because it was early-ish on the Sunday morning, but it was pretty quiet when I visited Design:Made:Trade at the Royal Exhibition Building. The event was part of the State of Design Festival, intended to “showcase Australia’s small manufacturers, product designers, and design makers to an audience of manufacturers, retail and export buyers and the public“.

Almost all of the stalls were very beautifully presented; and there were quite a number of jewellers. I would love to have taken some photographs, but a sign at the entrance clearly stated no photography or sketching – this is the first time I’ve seen sketching specifically mentioned. There are some images and stories about the event at HandMadeLife.

One stall that caught my attention was ‘A Skulk of Foxes‘ – I bought a brooch made by the duo a year or two ago, and I have always loved their name. Their Nadezhda brooches (below) were particularly gorgeous, and though I walked away without one they have been haunting me since … I may need to bring one home in the near future …

used with artist permission

image used with artist permission

I also liked the following:

  • the furniture from Tide, especially the Forest shelf
  • old-fashioned-styling of textiles from Sally Campbell; they are so similar to work I’ve made myself, that of course I couldn’t help but connect to them!
  • objects and lighting from Volume and Void

Design:Made:Trade was at the Royal Exhibition Building, open to the public on 18th/19th July 2009.





General Assembly

20 07 2009

As part of the State of Design Festival, I took advantage of the opportunity to visit the studio of Blanche Tilden and Phoebe Porter to learn more about their collaborative project ‘General Assembly‘.

The hour started with a well-prepared talk to slides, describing the conceptualisation and production of the work. I didn’t know a lot about this project beforehand, so I enjoyed hearing about the steps the artists went through and why they made certain decisions. The explanation of the different components in the Melbourne and Canberra series was especially interesting.

The fundamental idea was to create jewellery that the wearer could construct themselves, using pre-fabricated components. There are literally thousands of combinations, so each made is as unique as the person making it.

photograph taken with artist permission

photograph taken with artist permission

The above image shows the Melbourne series – with finished examples on the right. The components were drawn from the Melbourne city-scape, with the colours and shapes (particularly the mesh) being particular to our city. Blanche is an experienced glass-worker and the beads add motion, as they slide along the slots in the metal pieces.

photograph taken with artist permission

photograph taken with artist permission

The above image shows the Canberra components – finished pieces are in the top-left tray. I really liked how Blanche and Phoebe described why and how they changed their approach to this city, following the Melbourne series. The colours are beautiful and I was impressed to find that they anodised the metal themselves.

Blanche then showed us how she creates the small glass beads by lamp-work. This was fascinating! And for non-jewellers, Phoebe gave a quick demonstration of saw-piercing a prototype element – showing how labour-intensive this investigative stage can be. I think these kinds of demonstrations are valuable – for non-makers, it is sometimes not easy to understand the pricing of contemporary jewellery (if not made from ‘precious’ metals), so seeing first-hand how much work is involved is crucial for developing community understanding.

As a kind of aside, Blanche explained the choice of brooches as opposed to rings or bracelets – that alongside the appealing connections to name badges, signifiers, identifiers worn on the body, that brooches were the less gender-specific. This adds a little more to answering the question I had recently about the proliferation of brooches at ‘Schmuck 2009‘.

More detailed information on this project is available at their website: Studio Hacienda. Thanks to Blanche and Phoebe for generously sharing their time and process!





for thought…

19 07 2009

Of all daggy places to find inspiration … (mumbling quickly) a promo for a tv show. I only heard the last sentence but it led me to seek out the whole quote. Let’s ignore where I heard it initially, and appreciate the magic and force of the words:

I-I am going to be a storm-a flame-
I need to fight whole armies alone;
I have ten hearts; I have a hundred arms;
I feel too strong to war with mortals-
BRING ME GIANTS!

Cyrano de Bergerac [from here]





Alexander Knox ‘Maxims of Behaviour’

17 07 2009

ABC Sunday Arts: how did I do without it? The episode on 28th June 2009 had a segment on this light art; so when I happened to be in the area one night, I thought I’d actually stand still for a little while and pay attention.

The work ‘Maxims of Behaviour‘, by Alexander Knox, was commissioned by the Melbourne City Council. It was first installed last winter on the facade of The Royal Mail House (cnr Swanston and Bourke), and will be shown at night every winter until 2012.

maxims

The colours change and shift, and people-shaped shadows move across the building. I don’t have a deep profound pronouncement to make about the work – not because that level doesn’t exist here (I know they do, from the artist interview I saw), but because I found it enjoyable to just stand and look and enjoy without thinking too much about it. This art brings vibrancy and life to this street corner and old building, and I like it for that.

More information about this work, and more images, can be found here and here. There is also a fabulous image of the work here; and a blog post about the work last year.





‘Inside the Realm of Invisible Spheres’ @ C3

16 07 2009

While I was checking the next market dates at the Abbotsford Convent, I came across the listing for exhibitions at the C3 Gallery (blog). The titles and descriptions were intriguing, so I visited on one of my regular ‘Fitzroy-Fridays’ (I love Fitzroy, and as weekends are not ideal for me to go there, I like to spend some of my Fridays off doing the things I like there).

Inside the Realm of Invisible Spheres‘ is a collaboration between Debbie Symons and Jasmine Targett. I very much liked this show.

Exhibition media states: “These works explore the shifts of perception that occur when our awareness of reality through observation is deconstructed, exposing a rupture in the natural order. Spheres and bubbles with their infinite and sensitive boundaries mark out fragile positive and negative spaces.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

Debbie created the two-dimensional pieces; the maps drawn on graph paper trace the outline of the arctic ice caps. They are shown in pairs, southern and northern, and at time intervals 1992, 1997, 2008/9 – showing the changing outline. I have a connection with maps that I’ve explored through my own art, so I relate to these drawings.

Jasmine has made the blown glass pieces – I liked the little ones so much that one came home with me.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

Unfortunately, I visited this on one of its last days … so I didn’t get to publish this in time. ‘Inside the Realm of Invisible Spheres‘ was at C3 from 24th June to 12th July 2009.

Also, the duo has another show, ‘Losing the Unique‘ in September at Shifted Gallery. And I have just found that Jasmine is a member of the Brown Paper Collective (I’ve mentioned them before) – who will be at the ‘this is not a design market‘ this Sunday 19th.





Calendar: August 2009 sneak peek

15 07 2009

… link to exhibitions and events on the July 2009 calendar …

firstly, a reminder that ‘Schmuck 2009‘ finishes at RMIT Gallery on 18th July [one of the many review stories]

… now to August 2009

all month:

  • Craft Victoria, ‘Craft Cubed‘ [link]; runs 1st August – 12th September
  • NGV International [link] ‘Dressed to Rule: Imperial Robes of China‘ (textiles); until 6th September; my review story
  • NGV International [link] ‘Persuasion: Fashion in the Age of Jane Austen‘ (primarily textiles); until 8th November; my review story
  • NGV International [link] ‘Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire‘; until 4th October; my review story
  • Melbourne Museum [link] ‘A Day in Pompeii‘; until 25th October

1st August: last day for Gallery Funaki, Warwick Freeman ‘spring collection‘ (contemporary jewellery) [link]; my review story

2nd August: last day for NGV Ian Potter ‘Shared Sky‘ (two-dimensional) [link]

4th August: Gallery Funaki, Svenja John ‘X_BRANEN‘ (contemporary jewellery) [link]; until 29th August

4th August: RMIT School of Art Gallery, ‘Creme‘, curated by Stephen Gallagher (I’m not sure exactly what is in this exhibition, but Stephen is a jeweller, so it will be worth a look) [link]; opening night 5th August, 5-7pm; until 14th August

6th August: Metalab (Sydney), Peta Kruger (jewellery) [link]; until 30th August

8th August: Craft Vic ‘Hatch’ market [link], City Library, Flinders Lane, 11am – 4pm

9th August: rumour has it that Thread Den is having a vintage clothing market, 10am – 2pm [link]

15th August: last day for Flinders Lane Gallery, Kathryn Ryan ‘New Landscapes‘ [link]

15th August: last day for Pieces of Eight, Katie Jacobs ‘Raining in my Heart‘ [link]

16th August: Craft Cubed, Abbotsford Convent open day, 10am – 4pm [link]

20th August: RMIT G&S Jewellery Auction, viewing from 5:30pm, auction starts 6:30pm; all proceeds go towards funding the graduating class exhibition and associated publication [link]

21st August: last day for applications for inclusion in Object Gallery’s ‘Precious Pendants‘ exhibition: “Precious Pendants invites makers from across Australia, and at any level of career, to submit one piece for possible inclusion in the exhibition. The judging panel will select 40 pieces from the applicants to be exhibited in Project Space.” [link]

21th August: NGV (International), ‘Building a Collection: Recent acquisitions of prints and drawings‘ [link]; until 31 January 2010

27th / 28th August: Craft Cubed, Nicholas Building open days, 4-9pm [link]

30th August: last day for expressions of interest for inclusion in Studio 20/17 Christmas gift showcase [link]