Amazing the colours you get from natural dyes – in this instance UK varietals: woad (blue), madder (red) and weld (yellow) – as featured at Southwark Cathedral by the London Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers for
#LCW2018. A huge thanks to the lovely Susan Dye – yes her real name – for also showing me around the cathedral garden, with its natural dyes bed.
The would-be artisans who ditch day jobs to chase a dream
Professionals are risking it all and pursuing artisanal roles, making chairs, shoes, pottery and gin in a nostalgic bid for simpler times.
By Gabriella Coslovich
Glen and Lisa Rundell’s chair-making venture has hit a nerve with customers: “We’re a generation of people who have no heirlooms to pass on,” says Rundell. Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen
“Digital technologies cut tyranny of distance out of makers’ scene across remote north”
by Susan Standen, ABC North West WA
Once again in our commitment to making this a truly national study, our intrepid Jane Andrew ventured across the desert to visit the makers of Port Hedland. A huge shout-out and thank-you to Katie Evans from Form. ‘Queen of craft’ Katie had organized for us two whole days of interviews with local makers. What was soon revealed was an active and varied making community of which we only scratched the surface, all of whom were really passionate about their work, regardless of the financial return they may, or may not, have been receiving.
Clearly Port Hedland makers faced specific challenges around the tyranny of distance from Australian urban centres, but like other northern Australian locales benefited deeply from close and thus strong links with near neighbors in Asia, in particular Bali. The value of resources such as Form in regional hubs such as Port Hedland was clearly evident in its role as a creative hub enabling the local making community, providing everything from a focal point for the diverse design craft community, retail outlet (especially in the form of The West End Markets) and skills development (including peer-support artist camps).
A new addition to Australia’s craft calendar is looking for people to become involved: https://australiandesigncentre.com/sydneycraftweek/
Rugged up against some chilly winter weather, Crafting Self headed to Bendigo this month to meet rural and regional makers, and join the many other natural fibre lovers at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show. A huge thank-you to Minna Graham and Kim Haughie for their warm hearths, cups of tea and most of all sharing their making stories.
A treat to catch up with project ‘frequent fliers’ and new participants alike in Tasmania last week. As always, inspirational to see the work being done by Tas makers, and the strong relationships with place as inspiration and local materials, especially wood, present in the apple isle.
As a key part of the cultural, lifestyle and creative mix that is contemporary Tasmania, local makers there really demonstrate the value of unique products, experiences and stories to a global market.
Still an umbrella retailer though I doubt stock is still made on site, alas.
“We have already remarked that traditional ideas of workmanship originated when man-made things were few and highly prized, of whatever sort they were, and when highly regulated workmanship must have been so rare as to seem wonderful. But now things are all too many, high regulation is commonplace, and free workmanship as such is fast dying out, and high regulation, of all things, is least respected. Consider any scrapheap.
Ruskin said ‘If we build, let us think that we build forever’. Shall we say ‘If we build, let us remember to build for the scrapheap’? Shall we make everything so that it goes wrong or breaks pretty quickly? I think not. Men do not live by economics alone. There is a question of morale involved. A world in which everything was ephemeral would not be worth working for. There are overwhelming social and aesthetic arguments for durability in certain things even if, as we are told, there are no economic ones.”
Pye, D. (1995 (1968)). The Nature and Art of Workmanship. London: The Herbert Press.
One of the many wonderful things about this project is meeting makers keen to minimise the environmental impact of their practice, many engaging directly in crafty practices of re-use and up-cycling.
Makers such as Julie Frahm and her recycled glass beads……
And Gabbee Stolp and her ‘nose to tail’ approach to working with bone, skin and other natural materials that would otherwise end up as waste in landfill.
We also know makers are not just designing and creating in an ethical manner, but also considering how once an object is no longer wanted how it is broken down into parts for reuse/recycling.
If a core concern of your practice is repurposing, recycling or otherwise working to reduce your creative footprint we’d love to hear from you!
Amazing couple of days out amongst the wildlife, the road trains and anthills meeting Territory makers taking the home studio-gallery to whole new levels!
Thank-you so far to Janie Andrews, Boo Maclean (http://bippidiiboppidii.com), Jenny Glenncross (http://www.littleegretfinecrafts.com.au) and Debra Senjuschenko (https://www.facebook.com/Sands-of-Time-Designs-426653987416946/)