Thursday 3 May 2007

Our living craft treasures for 2008-2010

Object in collaboration with Craft Australia have just announced the three craft practitioners who will be our 'living treasures' for 2008-2010. Here's the text of the media release:

Object is proud to announce that the next three artists in its annual Living Treasures: Masters of Australian Craft exhibition series are Liz Williamson (2008), Kevin Perkins (2009) and Robert Baines (2010).

As with Object's past Living Treasures artists, Williamson, Perkins and Baines each have careers spanning more than 30 years, maintain a national and international exhibition profile and have all made major contributions to the craft sector both nationally and internationally. They are all currently making some of the most confident work of their careers and Object will present a significant body of new work from each of these influential artists over the next three years.

Expect a showcase of Williamson's exquisite textiles, Perkins' accomplished fine timber furniture and Baines' masterful gold and silversmithing in their respective Living Treasures exhibitions. Nominations for this current series were accepted from across the country through the national network of craft and design organisations. From the field of nominations 10 Masters of Australian Craft were selected by an independent seven juror panel - made up of nationally respected experts in the fields of craft and design.

From these 10 Masters of Australian Craft the three Living Treasures were ultimately selected by the jury. Object's Living Treasures: Masters of Australian Craft annual exhibition series began in 2005 with Les Blakebrough: Ceramics, continued in 2006 with Klaus Moje: Glass and awaits 2007's Marian Hosking: Jewellery. The exhibition series celebrates the most respected figures in the Australian crafts movement through a magnificent full colour monograph and a nationally touring exhibition.

The 10 Masters of Australian Craft: Robert Baines (gold and silversmithing, VIC), Pippin Drysdale (ceramics, WA), Beth Hatton (textiles, NSW), Brian Hirst (glass, NSW), Jeff Mincham (ceramics, SA), Milton Moon (ceramics, SA), Kevin Perkins (wood, TAS), Catherine Truman (jewellery and objects, SA), Margaret West (jewellery and objects, NSW), Liz Williamson (textiles, NSW)

Living Treasures jurors: Ted Snell, Professor of Contemporary Art, Curtin University, WA; Margot Osborne, independent curator and writer, SA; Catrina Vignando, General Manager, Craft Australia, ACT; Grace Cochrane, independent curator and writer and former Senior Curator, Australian Decorative Arts and Design, Powerhouse Museum, NSW; Chetana Andary, Executive Director, Craft Queensland, QLD; Brian Parkes, Associate Director, Object: Australian Centre for Craft and Design; Kevin Murray, Director, Craft Victoria, VIC.

From a parochial perspective, it is interesting both series of selections have included a Victorian jeweller. Marian Hosking and Robert Baines seem to represent strong artistic and professional leadership in the jewellery sector, reflecting the strength of the medium in Victoria. Both are quite different in style - Marian's care for nature versus Robert's baroque excess - though both reflect a pitch of skill and creative intensity that others can aspire to.

We just wish there were more accolades for all the other treasures in Victoria that illuminate its contemporary craft.

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