Category Archives: Notices

Craft across the Pacific

In cooperation with Raiz Diseño, ONA and MAVI (Museum of Visual Art), we will be presenting a workshop in Santiago Chile on 16-18 October to explore ways of exhibiting craft in art galleries. This is a wonderful opportunity to extend the dialogue between contemporary craft in Australia and Latin America and will coincide with the publication of the first craft magazine Mano de Obra.

Images on the flyer are from Marian Hosking, Nicole Lister, Beth Hatton and the group exhibition Heresy (Craft Victoria). The brooch below is by Roseanne Bartley (a larger version can be downloaded here).



A little gallery on the corner



The Eisenberg Gallery: The Victorian Museum of Experimental Art sits on an intersection in suburban Brunswick, Melbourne. It seems the perfect venue for the jewellery of Roseanne Bartley, who sources the detritus of street consumption as precious gems for her brooches and necklaces. You can see her recent work from the busy corner of Nicholson and Blyth Street until 12 September.



The World of Small Things – upcoming exhibition



The ongoing quest

In the nineteenth century, the Arts and Crafts Movement turned to traditional cultures in response to the perceived sterility of modern life. With studio practice in the twentieth century, a number of individual craft artists were inspired by non-Western craft traditions, such as the East Asian ceramics. In the later twentieth-century, a number of craftspersons made individual pilgrimages to a wide range of traditional craft communities in order to absorb the more embedded lifestyle of making. For many, this entailed long-term commitment by craftspersons in assisting their host communities to sustain their craft practice in a globalising market.

You buy the story of where it comes from

In response to globalisation and its problems, the twenty-first century witnesses the rise of ‘ethical consumerism‘. Consumers hope that their patronage has positive effects on the community of origin. Fair trade coffee and chocolate are the most obvious new ethical commodities. At the same time, the relational paradigm in creative arts makes the construction of relationships through the work a part of the artistic process, alongside the product that results from it.

Craft and design work collaboratively

Relationships between modern and traditional makers are evolving in interesting ways. Those purchasing their products are buying not only a beautifully designed and made object, but also the story of its production. Relationships are diversifying beyond the standard relation of product designer and artisan. The new ‘superpowers’ such as India and China are now employing services of craftspersons in countries like Australia to make specialist objects for new wealth. In the context of the Kyoto Protocols, the new collaborations between makers, designers and manufacturers offer a grass roots approach to global cooperation.

The World of Small Things is an exhibition designed to explore the variety of dialogues between cultures that are currently being practiced in the craft field. Its goals are:

  • To share ideas and experiences about cross-cultural collaboration
  • To promote ethical consumerism in craft and design
  • To enjoy the beautiful combination of clever design, craft skill and social purpose

Scheduled for Craft Victoria, June 2009. For expressions of interest, please contact Kevin Murray

Top image from the Guatamala Fundap project by Innovarte

Art Textiles

There’s some movement in the area of art textiles at the moment. Next year Ararat Regional Art Gallery will have an anniversary show to promote their collection of Australian textile art works. But sooner…

‘Art Textiles’ Public Conference
The Australian Textile Arts and Surface Design Association Incorporated (ATASDA) with support from the College of Fine Arts and The University of NSW, presents ‘Art Textiles’, a one-day conference at the COFA lecture theatre EG02, UNSW College of Fine Arts, Paddington. Keynote speaker is Jane Dunnewold, an Art Cloth artist from San Antonia, Texas, USA, who will speak on, ‘The Concept of Art Cloth’.

Cost: $80, $70 for ATASDA members and $40 concession.

Date: 13 September, 9am – 5pm.

Further information: or

After the Missionaries



2009 will feature a number of forums for thinking about the role of art in a new bilateral world. The Selling Yarns conference in March will include workshops for artisan-design collaborations. In June, at Craft Victoria, the World of Small Things: An Exhibition of Craft Diplomacy will feature the fruits of dialogue between first and third worlds. And at the same time, an issue of Artlink will be published to air the complex questions in the new bilateral global order.



Here’s a call for expressions of interest for the Artlink issue: After the Missionaries: Art in a Bilateral World

Movements like Make Poverty History reinforce a vision of the world divided between helpless victims and those able to save them. Divisions between ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ nations, ‘advanced’ and ’emerging’ economies, ‘first’ and ‘third’ worlds, assume a singular path of history, on which the West happens to be ahead.

But the world is changing. Old hierarchies are challenged now by the growth of China and India as ‘superpowers’. They are more than victims of colonisation and Western imperialism. They have their own ambitions to be seen as leaders on the world stage. Over the past two years, China, India and Japan have all held summits for the leaders of the African nations.

Climate change forces us to reconsider the relations between North and South. A major challenge of climate change is to establish a plan that has support of both rich and poor nations. The global impact of carbon emissions requires a global consensus for action. While the first world focuses on carbon reduction, the third world argues that it should not be made to suffer for sake of the rich nations. Negotiations around this are critical for the future of the planet.

Australia has been positioned as a key mediator between first and third worlds. Though a rich nation by world standards, Australia does not have the reputation of an imperial power and finds itself amongst the countries of the South, at least geographically. As potentially the ‘most Asia-literate country in the collective West’, Australia has been granted the role of mediator between USA and China.

Art has an important role to play in this.

The history of Western cultural engagement with the third world has been shadowed by primitivism. The energies and traditions of the colonised world have provided fuel to modernist and post-colonial movements in rich nations. Such dialogues have been relatively unilateral. What do the subjects of the primitivist gaze gain from this attention? How do we engage with cultures of the third world in a way that is reciprocal? While politicians go through the formalities of global summits on climate change, what role can artists and makers play in stitching together a fabric of artistic exchanges between rich Australia and poor nations?

This issue of Artlink is intended as a forum for difficult questions demanded by our time:

  • On what basis can artists from the first and third worlds work together?
  • On what terms can an artist or designer engage traditional artisans?
  • Is visual art the exclusive domain of global elites?
  • Is world craft a version of ‘noble savage’?
  • Are human rights and environmentalism the thin end of the Western wedge?

We are looking for articles about:

  • First world artists working in collaboration with artists and communities in the third world
  • Designers engaging in product development with traditional artisans
  • Australian artists and designers working in the galleries and studios of the third world
  • Art practices that involve critical dialogue between first and third world experiences

Articles are due by 1 March 2009. Payment is $300 per thousand words. Please send expressions of interest to Kevin Murray at

Kate Derum



Kate Derum We are in a holding pattern (2001) woven tapestry

I was very saddened to learn that Victorian tapestry artist Kate Derum had passed away. Kate was a wonderful artist who used the traditions of weaving to create quite poignant tapestries about its antithesis in modern urban life. She was an inspiration to aspiring weavers as a lecturer at Monash and as a leader at the Victorian Tapestry Workshop. I remember very well her contributions to committees at Craft Victoria. She was always generous and wise. Kate Derum will be missed greatly.

Journal of Modern Craft Vol 1 No 2

The second issue of Berg’s Journal of Modern Craft is now out. The first issue is still available free as a sample copy online.


  • Looking Backwards and Forwards: Fennomane Furniture Design in Finland around 1900 by Ashby, Charlotte
  • The Silver Hand: Authenticating the Alaska Native Art, Craft and Body by Moore, Emily
  • Dis/Cover/ing the Quilts of Gee’s Bend, Alabama by Chave, Anna C.
  • Between the Material World and the Ghosts of Dreams: An Argument about Craft in Los Carpinteros by Weiss, Rachel

Statement of Practice

  • Knitting is … by Gschwandtner, Sabrina

Primary Text

  • Commentary by Hub, Berthold
  • The Chair (1899) by Bahr, Hermann

Exhibition Reviews

  • Women’s Work: WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution by Buszek, Maria Elena
  • Out of the Ordinary: Spectacular Craft by Margetts, Martina
  • Poetics of the Handmade by Sbrissa, Claudia

Book Reviews

  • British and Irish Home Arts and Industries, 1880-1914: Marketing Craft, Making Fashion by Crawford, Alan
  • Craft in Transition by Sandino, Linda

If you’re in Adelaide next week…

Where rich and poor meet: a craft response to climate change, talk by Kevin Murray

Monday 14 July – 6pm

The Kyoto protocols call for a multilateral approach to global warming. Third world demands for economic growth have to be factored in alongside first world abstinence. The doomsday scenario has opened opportunities for equal dialogue between the rich and poor of the world.

How might craft factor in this?

Emerging practices include collaborations between designers and traditional artisans. What is ‘world craft’ and what role might it play in building the trust necessary for negotiations to continue beyond Bali?

Venue: JamFactory board room, 1st Floor JamFactory building, Lion Arts Centre, 19 Morphett Street, Adelaide.

Dark forces in the sunshine state



While the rest of Brisbane was roaring for its state rugby team tonight, a ‘quiet revolution’ was taking place at the Queensland University of Technology Art Museum. Catriona Brown (left) had curated an exhibition Craft Revolution, which featured work from strongly located contemporary craftspersons and proud craft guilds. At a panel with Kylie Johnson (centre) and Robyn Daw (right), we talked about craft’s place in the world today.

There was much talk about the importance of craft as a form of local production. Kylie talked about resisting the lure of making her work off-shore. While local in ethic, there was great interest in the shared struggles with craft scenes in other countries, such as in Chile and South Africa.

Revolution? Well, it doesn’t have the extreme radicalism that you might associate with the term. There are no craft guerilla organisations blowing up art galleries or IKEA outlets. But there’s certainly a move to home-grown forms of resistance. Let them bake cakes!

Craft has much to live up to. Luckily there are some passionate advocates on the front line.