Tuesday, 19 December 2006

The spin wizard whose craft comes from graft

Cricket writer Peter Roebuck was very excited to witness the advent a new force in spin bowling, Monty Panesar. His article reveals the way spinning can be seen as an idiomatic craft skill.

Panesar's accuracy did not surprise those acquainted with his work. He is a craftsman not an artist. Wizardry has long been assigned to any spinner wearing cloth upon his head. Bishen Bedi is to blame. A whiskered bowler of many deceptions and moods, the Punjabi seemed to represent an entire way of life.

We'll see more of this next year when the Scarf Festival features some of our most famous spinmeisters.

Sunday, 17 December 2006

Wonderful volunteers

On Friday night we celebrated the wonderful efforts of our volunteers, those willing hands that stuff the envelopes, pour the drinks and perform countless more gifts of labour that helps a small organisation like Craft Victoria continue working. Thanks guys!

Gifts from far away in Adelaide

Oxfam's trading arm is located in Adelaide, South Australia. Pictured here are Linda Chalmers and Nele Schmidt-Teuteberg, both involved in maintaining supplies from nearly 180 artisans from around the world. Their catalogue provides a rich source of 'world craft'. It would be interesting to draw a link between their work and the many unique collaborations with artisans that today's craftspersons and designers are forging.

Meanwhile, at Craft South, Anne Robertson and Niki Vouis have developed a project in other words which involves collaboration between contemporary craft practitioners and makers from traditional backgrounds. The collaborations have not only produced interesting works in themselves, but also seem to promise ongoing exchanges. Their exhibition continues the going interest in craft as a language of cultural exchange, prominent in Common Goods, which started the year off in Melbourne.

Dreaming of a craft Christmas at the Johnston Collection

Nina Stanton, Director of The Johnston Collection, at one of the installations produced as part of Festively Decking Fairhall. Members of the Ballarat Craft Council re-created the scene of a children's party, with bon-bons and cakes -- all finely crafted. This annual event invites members of craft associations around Victoria to interpret this decorative arts collection.

In the White Room, a 1770 Worcester plate inspired the group from Ballarat to make textile plates in a similar style.

In work reminiscent of Emma Davies, here is a piece using onion bags to a floral effect. This sits opposite a kitchen scene filled with knitted food.

Craft associations have spent the year planning and making their own responses to the collection. A visit is highly recommended, but you need to be lucky to get a ticket as bookings are heavy.

The Johnston Collection is open Monday to Friday with three tours daily at 10.00 am, 12.00 pm and 2.15 pm. Admission price is Adults $20.00, Concession $16.50, Groups of 8 $128.00. See www.johnstoncollection.org

Monday, 11 December 2006

Polly vanderGlass

Here's an image of the 2006 Filippo Raphael Fresh! Award, Polly vanderlGlas (Northern Metropolitan Institute of TAFE)

The judge Peter McNeil's comment on why he chose this work is:

For its attention to materiality, for its ambiguity, its slightly sinister whimsy, and its internal games to do with weightiness, play , and a very effective installation.

Sara Lindsay's show at Maroondah

Here's a piece about a recent show by the curator of Maroondah Art Gallery, Damien Smith:
Sara Lindsay
Serendip: Tapestry and Works on Paper 1997 - 2006

This exhibition surveys approximately ten years of work by Melbourne based textile artist Sara Lindsay, incorporating a selection of intricate woven pieces and delicate works on paper. Representing only a small selection of works produced during this period, the pieces reflect Sara's interest in exploring both the formal considerations and personal associations conjured by the medium of textiles.

For Lindsay, fabric, in both its historic and material presence is linked to her own journeys of self-discovery. Everyday patterns, such as the seemingly innocuous gingham, are interrogated for their rich history in both eastern and western cultures. In other works, striped or line based patterns become a metaphor for journeys of discovery. Employing a mapping pen - an instrument traditionally used for cartography - Sara has produced works on paper that are simultaneously decorative and meditative. The patient construction consistent across all of Lindsay's oeuvre is of vital importance to how one reads and interacts with this delicate, time-based aesthetic. Drawing also on aspects of English abstraction (painters such as Ben Nicholson come to mind), Sara unashamedly celebrates the formal possibilities of irreducible geometry.

In recent years, Sara's focus has shifted to Sri Lanka where her grandfather once worked and died in the county's tea plantations. After travelling there in 2005, Sara has developed works derived in part from colours and dyes produced by local species of tea. Staining caused by tea reappear in later works, symbolising the lingering, even indelible, power of the past. Like much of Sara's works, these pieces may be read as decorative surfaces or as artworks laden with personal and social histories. Either way their quiet yet persistent presence is worthy of thoughtful exploration.

Friday, 8 December 2006

Filippo Raphael Fresh! Award 2006

It was a wild, noisy and cheerful opening for the Filippo Raphael Fresh Award. The exhibition featured work by The lucky recipient of the award was Polly vanderGlas (Metal, Northern Metropolitan Institute of Tafe) for her wonderful series of finger containers produced with real and cast leather. She is the recipient of a very generous $5,000 award from Filippo Raphael. Exhibitors this year are: Pennie Imeson (RMIT, Prapass Chairat (RMIT), Michael Thornton (RMIT), Lucy Blackmore (RMIT), Ngoc Phan (Box Hill), Polly van der Glas (NMIT), John Hall (NMIT), Sixto Ata Tantiongco (Swinburne), Stella Tripp (VCA), Alex Gibson (VCA), Jane Owen (Box Hill), Justin Nanda (RMIT), Gemma Johnson (Monash), Kacey Smits (Monash), Vanessa David (Monash), Emilie Coutanceau (Monash), Bridget bodenham (Ballarat).

The winner of both the Husk Product Development award and the John Sones Photography award is Emilie Coutanceau (Monash, ceramics) for her groupings of amazingly cast objects in white porcelain.

Appropriately, the judge of this year's award was Peter McNeil, co-author of Shoes: A History from Sandals to Sneakers. Peter expressed great delight in many of the works, and generously offered a commendation to the RMIT Ceramicist Justin Nanda.


The Craft Victoria Award for a Window Display in 2007 went to Vanessa David for her bedroom sprouting glass mushrooms, titled We Shall by Morning Inherit the Earth

Thursday, 7 December 2006

'The gentle craft'

Professor Peter McNeil gave a stunning Craft Victoria Annual Lecture at the National Gallery of Victoria last night. Taking the line that things have an agency of their own, McNeil outlined the issues involved in object-centred research. There fascinating observations about the vicissitudes of the shoe trade, the dilemmas of collecting shoes and the passions surrounding their consumption. One question raised was that the very strongly gendered quality of shoes, despite feet being relatively similar anatomically for men and women. One exception was Prada, the subject of the film The Devil Wears Prada, but also the supplier of footwear for the pontif. An excellent precis of McNeil's book Shoes: A History from Sandals to Sneakers, great preview for the Sneakers upcoming show at the NGV, and a wonderful celebration of shoe-making, 'the gentle craft'.

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Toasted marsh-yellow

This is just a segment of the wonderful world of yellow that visitors can feast their eyes upon this summer. Yellow Christmas features work in materials including wool, polyproperline, glass, clay, acrylic. Time to think upon the yellows of an Australian summer: dying grasses, golden sands, pineapples, cool amber.... bring it on!

Under the hammer

Last Saturday, Guy Cairnduff, Assistant Manager, Decorative Arts Department, Leonard Joel, auctioned a stack of wonderful works made by Craft Victoria members. Money raised will be offered a grants for artists in the 2007 exhibition program to help produce catalogues that can promote their work and the great stuff being made around town at the moment. Thanks to generous support from members and the eager bidders who helped make the event a success.

Sunday, 3 December 2006

Marriage of creativity and handmade

From a shop window in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, a display of fashionable long-toed shoes makes much of the handmade quality.

We are all very excited by the forthcoming Craft Victoria Annual Lecture on shoes, which promises to untap the mystery of statements such as in this window:

The article in this box is an handcraft product, the result of the marriage between creativity and handmade job of Tuscan artisans.

As any handmade product, in which have been utilised innovative and high quality materials, the difference in finishing became worth and added value of the style.