Tasmanian designer makers – great skills, inspiring stories

Feb 13

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.

Crafty re-use: Remaking Waste

Sep 26

“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!

On the road again, this time meeting inspiring Darwin makers

Jul 21


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/)


Interview Update

May 13

We’ve recently just completed the first year of project interviews; thank-you to everyone who has participated and generously shared their story, insights and cups of tea!


We know people are keen to find out more so will shortly releasing a first lot of basic statistical and other findings to keep everyone posted on what we’ve been finding when talking to design craft makers around the country. These will be uploaded to the website, and also made available via opt-out email lists of participating makers and organisations. If you’ve participated in the project and do not wish to receive these emails from us please don’t hesitate to email us at: crafting_self@unisa.edu.au. Alternatively, if you have not (yet?) spoken with us but would like to be on our email newsletter list, also send us a quick email and we’ll be happy to include you.

Jam Factory at Seppeltsfield

Apr 7


It’s a tough life, but someone’s …….. lovely to get the chance to visit the Jam Factory’s Barossa gallery and studios within the gorgeous grounds of the Seppeltsfield winery’s cellar door, and to chat with shoemaker and leather worker Rose-Anne Russell and meet cutler Barry Gardner.

ARTICLE: Where you make matters – the ongoing importance of local ecologies of craft

Feb 29

While this particular article from the project team, out in the most recent edition of Garland magazine, is about Adelaide and the ongoing legacies of the JamFactory (among other factors), the fact that place and its various knowledge, material and inspirational ecologies continue to matter to makers is something we’re finding across Australia.


Garland can be accessed at http://garlandmag.com

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 12_Fotor

Canberra Makers

Feb 22


This week the @crafting_self team are back where it all began in Canberra. Great to meet capital makers, including talented young ANU grads

Project Participants in the Media

Feb 8

Great to today come across coverage of Alice Springs-based Elbowrkshp’s collaboration producing chairs which will feature as part of the Australian exhibition at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale. Also the UK Craft Council’s weekly updates reports that jeweler Julie Blyfield’s UK exhibition has moved on from the Ruthin Craft Centre and is now showing at the Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh.



Edmund de Waal on Craft

Jan 13

One of the great pleasures of craft research is reading about craft. We came across this quote recently from iconic British ceramicist Edmund de Waal in an interview by Grant Gibson (Crafts Nov-Dec 2015, p. 35) and just had to share it:

“Craft is the great otherness in our culture. It’s little understood. It’s extraordinarily relevant and powerful. It goes deep into people’s lives. It’s catalytic. It changes the world. It reaches deep into unknown histories that we are only beginning to understand. It crosses identities and genders and ethnicities in incredibly powerful ways. So it’s in profound need of celebration and critical collaboration.”