Category Archives: Notices

Australia-India Design Residency

How would you like to work with Indian craft?

Flower market in Kolkata by Sandra Bowkett

Flower market in Kolkata by Sandra Bowkett

Australia India Design Platform is seeking expressions of interest for an Australia-India Design Residency.  AIDP is a three year program of forums and workshops in Australia and India that aims to develop fair standards in product development which can add value to craft practice in partnership with art and design.

India contains a wealth of traditional craft skills. They developed over millennia in a context of religion, caste and patronage. In the 20th century, craft became a key expression of nationalism and democracy that emerged following independence from British rule. The twin forces of globalisation and urbanisation are now threatening these crafts. Cheap imports undercut local markets and faster lifestyles provide less time for handmade production. But given the enduring importance of craft for identity, many seek to adapt craft traditions for the changing world.

Australian craftspersons and designers have been travelling to India since the 1970s. The culture is a rich source of inspiration for visitors. It not only provides a feast of colour, but also a love or adornment that can be applied to creative practice back home. In recent years, relationships have developed that represent more ongoing forms of partnership. These have included attempts at product development that provide alternative markets for otherwise languishing crafts.

These partnerships are likely to increase as artisans become more connected. But how can these kinds of craft-design collaborations develop beyond a model of outsourcing that takes production for granted? This is a time for new forms of collaboration that reflect an increasingly multilateral world and a maturing partnership between Australia and India.

The AIDP residency is an opportunity for an Australian designer or craftsperson to travel to India and develop ideas for potential product development.


  • To introduce an Australian designer/craftsperson to opportunities of working with Indian artisans
  • To contribute to a forum and workshop in Delhi planned for 14-18 October
  • To explore models of creative collaboration between Australia and India, craft and design
  • To support a traditional craft through product development for urban markets
  • To develop new paths of regional engagement for Australian designers and craftspersons
  • Residency details:

  • Date: 10 October – 7 November 2011
  • Location: New Delhi Arts Residency, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi
  • Residency includes:

  • Return economy airfare
  • $3,000 expenses
  • Four weeks accommodation
  • Eligibility:

  • You must be an Australian citizen.
  • You must have an established practice in craft and/or product design.
  • The application must contain:

  • A CV
  • A biography (less than 200 words)
  • An explanation of why you want to work in India (less than 500 words)
  • Up to six images of relevant work
  • Applications are due 30 June 2011 by email to

    For more information

  • Email
  • Website
  • For a taste of Indian crafts, look at Handmade in India by Aditi & M.P. Ranjan
  • This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, and the Australia India Institute.

    The Australia India Design Platform is managed by the Ethical Design Laboratory, a consortium based at RMIT Centre for Design, including researchers from Australian Catholic University and University of Melbourne. Partners in Australia include Australian Craft & Design Centres including Craft Australia, Arts Law and National Association of the Visual Arts and COFA at University NSW. Partners in India include Craft Revival Trust, National Institute for Design, the National Institute of Fashion Technology and Jindal Global University. This platform is associated with the World Craft Council and the ICOGRADA through Indigo, the indigenous design network.

    Opportunities for Pacific Island craft in Australia

    Artist Gickmai Kundun

    Artist Gickmai Kundun

    You are invited to participate in a major marketing event to introduce the work of PIC’s artisans (Fine Art, Basketry, Weaving, body adornment – shell and bone jewellery, wood products and artisan pieces based on traditional knowledge) directly to Australian consumers, designers, retailers, importers and the Australian media.
    In order to dispel the perception that these pieces are made for the tourism market, the event will be held in Paddington at the Global Gallery.  The site lends itself to ‘feel’ of the Pacific, not too stiff, a little rustic, warm and welcoming.  It is a large open plan warehouse space located within 100 meters of Oxford Street.  The gallery owner is very excited at the prospect of partnering with PT&I to hold a Pacific event.
    Participation in the event will be open to creators from the 14 PICs.  Creators are invited to submit an expression of interest: Download FORM.
    The Creative Arts service offering to the PICs creative arts sector will be to provide the venue, engage with the participants as the event manager, act as the Australian facilitator, provide framing and exhibition support.  PT&I will actively promote the event, guided by and in consultation with Trish Nicols Agency.
    The successful applicants are expected to provide the products as submitted in the EOI (or by negotiation with the Creative Arts manager), product information, personal bio’s or creators statement and product photographs, undertake the freight of their work (to and from Sydney), insure their products (to and from Sydney and for the duration of the 14 day event) and are expected to fund their attendance at the exhibition for a minimum of one week. 
    Participants attendance costs include travel to and from place of origin, arrange an Australian Entry Visa, accommodation and daily expenses.

    If you are interested in partnering or becoming a sponsor, you will find more detailed information at and go to the Creative Arts section.
    It is expected that the event will deliver :
    To the PIC creators

    • sales
    • insight into Australian consumer purchasing habits
    • direct feedback from the consumer market
    • opportunity to engage with potential importers, designers and other commercial opportunities

    Some products that we are seeking :

    • barkcloth, masi, siapo, tapacloth
    • wooden and metal sculpture – contemporary and heritage art
    • basketry
    • fine art 
    • woven items – mats, bags, headwear, hand fans 
    • bilum – bags, bilumwear, hammocks, table wear
    • jewellery  – shell, wood, pearls, bone, hair adornment
    • textiles – tivaevae, elei prints, hand printed fabric 
    • wooden products -wooden bowls plain or with mother of pearl inlay, tables, salad servers

    Expression of Interest Download FORM.
    Open on the 6th October, 2010.
    Close on the 25th October, 2010.
    If you require any additional information, please contact the Creative Arts Manager, Ruth Choulai
    Email : This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it
    Phone : (612) 9290 2133

    Yayasan Tafean Pah – supporting weavers in West Timor by Ibu Yovita Meta and Ruth Hadlow

    News of a valuable new initiative from West Timor that deserves our support:

    The weaving traditions in West Timor are very diverse and very beautiful, consisting of hand-made cloth woven on back-strap looms, sometimes still using handspun thread and natural plant dyes. The textiles are woven by village women amongst other activities such as growing crops, caring for livestock, social, domestic and family duties. Weaving skills are passed down from one generation to the next, with most women learning from their mothers, aunties or grandmothers. Traditional hand-woven textiles are still used as garments by many West Timorese for formal and ceremonial occasions, and textiles are still required as tribute for funerals, as part of the bride-wealth exchange in marriage agreements, and for other adat (traditional customary law) ceremonies. Despite this, the weaving traditions are fragile and vulnerable to changes in contemporary life, as the younger generations move away from villages, or become less interested in traditional textiles and the time-consuming techniques of hand-weaving.

    Background & Context

    West Timor is the western half of the island of Timor, which was colonized and divided by the Dutch and Portugese during the colonial period. West Timor became part of the Republic of Indonesia when it was formed in 1945 as a reaction to Dutch colonial rule. Within Indonesia, the eastern islands (West Timor, Sumba, Flores, Alor, Rote and Savu) are the poorest part of this developing country. The islands of East Nusa Tenggara, or NTT as it is called locally, are much drier and less fertile than those of western Indonesia, and very similar to northern Australia in their climate, geology and vegetation. The island of Timor is predominantly limestone, and does not have the rich volcanic soils of Bali or Java. It has a very long dry season, from April to late November, and is hot and extremely dry for most of the year. The latter part of the dry season is traditionally known as musim kelaparan, or the starvation season, as the only foods available for most villagers are the corn and cassava they have stored from the end of the harvest period. Life for most villagers is very tough and means of generating income are very limited. Many village children do not go beyond a primary school education as their families do not have the resources to support further study. Since the late 1990’s life has been increasingly difficult for the West Timorese, due to a series of factors such as the Indonesian Monetary Crisis in 1997, a rise in the cost of living of more than 500 per cent over the past 10 years, and the withdrawal of aid projects and organisations in the wake of East Timor’s independence in 1999. There is a general lack of knowledge about West Timor caused in part by the attention to East Timor in the news media, and this often makes it difficult for organisations to get external funding or support for their activities.

    Yayasan Tafean Pah

    Ibu Yovita Meta

    Ibu Yovita Meta

    Ibu Yovita Meta began the foundation Yayasan Tafean Pah in 1989, working with a small group of weavers from the dry and mountainous Biboki region of northern West Timor. YTP has grown substantially over the past 20 years; it now has a base in the northern town of Kefamenanu and 14 weaving cooperatives with a total of 700 members, spread over the Biboki, Insana and Miomafo regions of TTU (North Central Timor). Yayasan Tafean Pah supports the weaving cooperatives by providing access to thread and dyes, and training in weaving, dyeing and design skills. The foundation also provides cooperative management and basic accountancy training, and very importantly, provides an outlet and market for the beautiful hand-woven textiles which the weavers produce.

    In 2003, Ibu Yovita won the prestigious Prince Claus Award for Culture and Development (awarded by the Netherlands government) for the work she has done with Yayasan Tafean Pah. The award was used to develop the Rumah Seni Tafean Pah in Kefamenanu, a cultural centre which includes the YTP office, a multi-functional work space, and a gallery/shop outlet for the textiles and associated products made by the weavers. In 2007, Yayasan Tafean Pah received a grant from the Dutch Embassy in Jakarta specifically for the purpose of creating a collection of traditional hand-woven Biboki textiles. This collection is intended as a permanent resource for the community, ensuring that examples of the techniques, motifs, designs and textile forms unique to Biboki hand-woven textiles are held in West Timor, rather than only in the collections of distant or foreign museums. The textiles which make up the collection were commissioned directly from weavers in the YTP cooperatives, supporting them financially and increasing their sense of pride in their work.

    Textiles produced by the weaving cooperatives reflect the traditions which have existed for countless generations in these regions. Some of the weavers specialise in textiles made with hand-spun thread and dyed with traditional natural dyes, such as the rich reddish-brown Morinda Citrifolia, the deep blues of Indigofera Tinctora, and blacks from iron-rich mud. Other weavers use machine-spun thread to create lighter-weight textiles which can be made up into smaller items such as bags and clothing. YTP sells the textiles through its base of the Biboki Arts Centre in Kefamenanu, and through trade fairs and exhibitions in Jakarta and Singapore. With the support of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory there have also been several exhibitions of Biboki textiles from Yayasan Tafean Pah in Darwin.

    The aims of Yayasan Tafean Pah are to ensure that traditional weaving and dyeing skills are sustained, and to support village women to develop economically through their weaving skills. In a culture such as that of West Timor, a woman’s status and standing within a village community increases significantly when her weaving contributes to the family’s economy. One of the YTP cooperatives is comprised predominantly of widows, and most of these women have put their children through senior high school and university on income derived from their weaving activity. Due to the success of its existing cooperatives, YTP is continuously requested to take on new groups, some of which have little prior weaving or dyeing knowledge. Although this is a huge burden on the organisation, it also indicates the potential for a remarkable revival and continuation of skills and traditions.

    Friends of Yayasan Tafean Pah

    Yayasan Tafean Pah has no continuous funding and relies on sales of textiles to support its ongoing activities. Any new initiatives require external funding as the foundation survives on a day to day basis due to the unpredictable nature of selling textiles. Because of the difficulties of this situation we have decided to begin a support project called Friends of Yayasan Tafean Pah. Through an informal network of email lists we will regularly send out information about specific projects and activities which YTP wishes to seek funding for. A data base has been set up to record information about all donations and ensure transparency. Friends of Yayasan Tafean Pah has been created by Ibu Yovita Meta and Ruth Hadlow with the intention of helping YTP to source funding through Australian textile networks and other interested parties. Ruth Hadlow is an Australian artist who has been resident in West Timor since 2001. From 2005-2009, Ruth and her Timorese husband Willy Daos Kadati ran Babes in Timor/Mepu Mfe Fafi, a small aid project dedicated to supporting the West Timorese community through donations of piglets from Australian sponsors. Ruth Hadlow and Willy Daos Kadati run textile and cultural tours to West Timor and other parts of eastern Indonesia, and have had a close relationship with Yayasan Tafean Pah for a number of years.

    If you would like to become a member of Friends of Yayasan Tafean Pah, you can contact us directly, or simply continue to receive our emails and respond as you wish to the various projects. If you have friends or family whom you think may be interested, please pass this information on to them. If you do not wish to receive emails from Friends of Yayasan Tafean Pah, please let us know and we will take your address out of the email list.

    YTP project: Training Young Weavers

    Yayasan Tafean Pah plans to begin a training program in the latter part of 2010, with the aim of training young women in weaving skills. There are 4 main weaving techniques used in the TTU region of West Timor: futus (warp ikat), sotis (float or pickup warp), buna and pa’uf (discontinuous supplementary weft techniques). Each of the techniques is slow and time-consuming, requiring patience and attention to detail. The majority of weavers in West Timor are older women, a matter for some concern as the weaving traditions could disappear within a couple of generations if younger women do not take up weaving. Due to the success of the existing YTP weaving cooperatives, it has become visible to the broader West Timorese community that woven textiles can provide a useful source of income. This provides a good incentive for encouraging young women to learn weaving skills as a realistic alternative to other types of income-generating work which require them to leave their villages.

    Yayasan Tafean Pah intends to start the training program with groups of 10—15 young women who will be paired with experienced weavers, either in their village setting, or at the YTP Centre in Kefamenanu. The young women will begin by learning basic weaving skills, and also, if they choose, they can learn to hand-spin cotton with a drop spindle (a difficult process if you didn’t start at age 5, as some of you know!). If the young women already have some basic weaving skills, they will be trained in more complex techniques such as buna, pa’uf or sotis to increase their skill base.

    The training will take the form of 5-day intensive programs, after which time the young weavers will be encouraged to continue their work independently, and the results will be assessed by YTP once the woven textiles are finished. If they require or request further training, they can undergo a second stage of training to increase their weaving skills, or begin producing textiles under the supervision of a YTP weaving cooperative. In the long term it is hoped that the young weavers might start new weaving cooperatives or join existing ones, as a means of developing and marketing their work.

    In order to run the training program, funding is needed to cover the costs of transport, food, and wages for the weaving teachers, who will give up their own weaving time to train the young women. A wage also helps to acknowledge the skills and experience of the older weavers, encouraging the community to value and respect the women’s textile skills and perceive these as an important source of income. YTP is hoping to take on between 60-100 young women in the training program at the first stage, making this quite a large and ambitious project which is intended to have a major effect on the survival of the weaving traditions in the TTU region of West Timor.

    If you are interested in supporting Yayasan Tafean Pah in this program of training young weavers, please use the form on the following page to make a donation.

    We would like to thank you for your interest in the activities of Yayasan Tafean Pah. If you visit West Timor and can come as far as Kefamenanu, we would love to meet you and introduce you to some of the weavers you have generously supported.

    Many thanks and best wishes,

    Ibu Yovita Meta & Ruth Hadlow
    Kefamenanu, West Timor

    To contribute to this valuable project, please contact Ruth Hadlow at

    Katheryn Leopoldseder’s ‘For God so loved the world…’

    Katheryn Leopoldseder ' For God so loved the world...(70 x 7 Used, Disposable Communion Cup Necklace)' 490 recycled communion cups, fresh water pearls, 18ct gold, Gold plated sterling silver, stainless steel, 2008, 260cmL x 8cmW x 3cmH, photograph by Jeremy Dillon

    Katheryn Leopoldseder ' For God so loved the world...(70 x 7 Used, Disposable Communion Cup Necklace)' 490 recycled communion cups, fresh water pearls, 18ct gold, Gold plated sterling silver, stainless steel, 2008, 260cmL x 8cmW x 3cmH, photograph by Jeremy Dillon

    Katheryn Leopoldseder is a Melbourne jeweller who came through RMIT Gold & Silversmithing and now works at Abbotsford Convent, in a shared studio with Phoebe Porter.

    While supplying e.g.etal with quality production jewellery, she has also managed to produce epic jewellery works for exhibition. In her six years since graduation, Leopoldseder has shown a capacity to wreak weighty themes from what might otherwise seem a purely ornamental medium like jewellery.

    Her work is disarmingly ambivalent. She manages to express great beauty in what appears to be the wastefulness of much contemporary life. Recently she produced an elaborate pendant in the shape of lungs beautifully punctuated with white cigarette filters.

    Her work for Welcome Signs is ‘For God so loved the world…’ It features 490 tiny plastic communion cups threaded in a necklace with pearls. Leopoldseder collected these cups from a church she attended, reflecting on the contradiction between the sacred ritual and its profane outcome. For her, it was…

    an acknowledgement of how far we fall, that even within this most sacred and enduring of rituals we have somewhat missed the point. Morphing communion into a convenient, disposable, individual, sanitized and, I believe irresponsibly wasteful version of its former self.

    The necklace is joined by a clasp in the shape of K’ruvim, as angels are known in the Hebrew story of the covenent. She quotes the Bible:

    He (B’tzal’el) made the arc of pure gold,…. He made two k’ruvim of gold: he made them of hammered work for the two ends of the arc cover – one keruv for one end and one for the other end; he made the k’ruvim of one piece with the arc-cover at its two ends. the k’ruvim had their wings spread above, so that their wings covered the arc; their faces were toward each other and toward the arc cover. – Exodus 37: 6 – 9 Complete Jewish bible

    Katheryn Leopoldseder ' For God so loved the world...(70 x 7 Used, Disposable Communion Cup Necklace)' 490 recycled communion cups, fresh water pearls, 18ct gold, Gold plated sterling silver, stainless steel, 2008, 260cmL x 8cmW x 3cmH, photograph by Jeremy Dillon

    Katheryn Leopoldseder ' For God so loved the world...(70 x 7 Used, Disposable Communion Cup Necklace)' 490 recycled communion cups, fresh water pearls, 18ct gold, Gold plated sterling silver, stainless steel, 2008, 260cmL x 8cmW x 3cmH, photograph by Jeremy Dillon

    The number 7 x 70 of cups corresponds with a later Biblical story:

    Then Kefa came up and said to him (Jesus), “Rabbi, how often can my brother sin against me and I have to forgive him? As many as seven times?” “No, not seven times,” answered Yeshua, “but seventy times seven!” – Mathew 18:21-22 Complete Jewish Bible

    An important element of this work is the way it leaves its references incomplete. Rather than the whole angel, only the wings feature on the clasp. And the title, engraved in the first cup, only hints at the complete quote:

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.-John 3:16

    It is quite unusual today to find jewellery based on religious meaning, despite the strong history of association. There’s a danger that it might limit the interest in the way to those of the same faith.

    While ‘For God so loved the world…’ does certainly respond to particular Christian themes, I think it also has a broader appeal. The need to care for the planet has become a sacred cause in contemporary life, yet there is little formal structure to underpin this value. Is environmentalism a matter of enjoying our time on the planet a little longer, or does it rest on a deeper sense of ourselves as custodians of something greater? These are questions left unanswered by contemporary politics. While I don’t think this work provides an answer, it does ask the question.

    In relation to Welcome Signs, Leopoldseder’s work engages with the history of the garlands as a ritual neckpiece that mark important occasions. While we might have taken for granted the abundance of nature in supplying the materials for these garlands, today we are alerted to the sacrifices that attend any celebration. Hers is a garland for our fraught times.

    The world needs your luck

    Southern Charms: New Power Jewellery across the Pacific

    Call for Expressions of Interest

    How do we make luck where it is needed today?

    Southern Charms is an exhibition of ‘power jewellery’ that demonstrates the relevance of objects to hopes and fears. It includes work designed by jewellers, designers and artists from Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Bolivia.

    The exhibition will open at RMIT Gallery in February 2012. You are invited to submit an EOI, due by 4 December 2010. Please download the EOI details from here (or Spanish version). For more information about the project, visit

    Upcoming Charm Schools

    ‘Luck is believing you’re lucky.’
    Tennessee Williams



    Luck is not something that sits well with a modern way of life. Modernity is largely defined against superstitious practices of the past. Magical folk remedies have been replaced by far more reliable medical science. We no longer make sacrifices to rain gods; we have more responsible water restrictions instead. The only official acknowledgement of luck lies in the growing gambling industry on which local governments have become increasingly dependent.

    So does luck still have a place in modern life? Are there occasions when we can still wish someone ‘good luck’ without appearing to be nostalgic for a more mystical past? Does carrying a lucky charm that someone has given you make any real difference to your life?

    How might charms demonstrate the things that really matter to us? What might be the role of jewellery as counterbalance to the quantification of friendship in online networks like Facebook?

    Towards the exhibition Southern Charms is a series of workshops to explore how to reconnect with the tradition of ‘power jewellery’ such as charms, amulets and talismans. The workshops will explore the culture of fortune:

    • its role in the history of the contemporary jewellery movement
    • its ‘social design’ elements, such as gift-giving and care
    • its potential in responding to the pressing demands in personal and public life

    This workshop reviews the function of charms, particularly in jewellery, and considers their potential uses today. Participants will be able to develop new designs and test them out.

    Related articles

    Grass to Gold – Delhi Feb 2011



    “Grass to Gold”

    WCC—International Jewellery Convention, February 2011

    Jewellery through the ages has mirrored society. How jewellery is worn, the reasons for wearing it, and the material it is made of—all are reflections of the societal values, and prevalent beliefs of the times. From Sumerian queens, Egyptian pharaohs, and Indian royalty, to the Cleopatras, Princess Dianas, and Grace Kellys of the world—the annals of history are replete with stories and pictures of ornaments used to adorn the human form.

    Grass to Gold is intended to capture this diversity, symbolism, and artistic form. Last held in 2004, the convention is to be held again in 2011 in New Delhi, India. Featuring tribal, traditional, and contemporary jewellery, this event is to be sponsored by the World Crafts Council. The idea is to bring together artisans and jewellers from various parts of the world, and to encourage an open exchange of ideas, methodologies, and technologies. Above all, the forum is intended to provide a platform to learn about changing consumer trends.

    The convention will explore how common, everyday material (grass) can be transformed into artistic masterpieces (gold) through the skills of the craftsperson/designer. Metal, wood, bone, shells, gems…these are just some of the raw materials that offer the potential to be transformed into exquisite pieces of jewellery.

    A collaboration

    Grass to Gold is intended to be a collaboration—a collaboration of artists, artisans, and designers; a collaboration of ideas; a collaboration of the traditional and the modern; a collaboration of the functional and the aesthetic. It is, above all, a coming together of skills under one roof.

    Why India?

    Enthused by the success of the Grass to Gold Convention in India in 2004, New Delhi has been chosen as the venue because of the consumer profile and the mindset of the consumer. Delhi offers promise as a lucrative and international market for diverse ranges of jewellery.


    All five regions of the WCC will be represented in the convention, with jewellers and designers participating in the events.


    The convention features the following:

    • Seminars covering tribal, traditional, and contemporary jewellery—A forum that allows people to understand innovations in the field of jewellery, materials, design, and fashion as they adapt to changing consumer trends.
    • Exhibition—A special International event having 5 participants from each region i.e. Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, North America and Latin America.
    • Sales of Jewellery—Ranging from traditional, tribal, and contemporary using materials as diverse as fibre, metal, and recycled material. All will be specially designed for the event.
    • Workshops—On the design and finishing techniques in jewellery; made from fibre, metal, and recycled material; interactive with craftspeople from all the regions.

    About the World Crafts Council

    The World Crafts Council (WCC) is a non-government; non-profit organization founded by Mrs.Aileen Webb and co-founded by Ms. Margaret Patch and Smt. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay in 1964, in New York. What began as a single entity in the United States eventually got structured in to five regions—Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and Latin America. WCC is the only international NGO working in the crafts sector and is affiliated to UNESCO in a consultative status.

    As a unique honour, India from the APR Region was elected to take over the Presidency of the WCC in November, 2008 with Mrs. Usha Krishna of the Crafts Council of India (CCI) at the helm.

    The objectives of WCC are threefold:

    • To strengthen the status of crafts as a vital element of cultural and economic life
    • To promote a sense of fellowship among the craftspeople of the world
    • To encourage, advise, and nurture the crafts communities

    Email:; Web:

    Share your charms

    Southern Charms: New Power Jewellery Across the Pacific

    Exhibition in development

    Announcing a project to reveal new developments in ‘power jewellery’ that bring together craft cultures across the Pacific ocean. ‘Power jewellery’ claims to not only to be an object of beauty, but also to have an effect on its wearer. Most commonly, it protects the wearer against ill fortune. While traditionally this has been associated with superstitions, such as the evil eye, in this case the ‘power’ is understood as the strength that is sustained through social relations, such as friendship, solidarity or hospitality. The project is to explore ways of re-casting traditional forms of the charm for a modern secular world.

    The net is cast across the Pacific, including Anglo cultures in Australasia, Aboriginal indigenous jewellery, Pacific islander ornament and charms from the Andean cultures on the Pacific’s eastern edge.

    As well as providing new tools for social support, the Southern Charms project also aims to foster new conversations and networks across the Pacific. You can find out more at

    For expressions of interest, please contact Kevin Murray by email at charm(at) At this stage, examples of work are most welcome. Please note, the works will include charms that are designed to be used by others, rather than purely personal reflections on culture. An important question to consider is how their power be released into the world. The exhibition is planned to open in 2012.

    Future events:

    • Workshop in Santiago, Chile (May 2010)
    • Workshop with the Melbourne State of Design Festival (July 2010)
    • Grass to Gold jewellery conference in Delhi (Feb 2011)
    • Workshops in Pacific (TBC)

    Subscribe to Craft Unbound updates to be notified of future posts on the charmed theme.

    Where to put baskets in an art gallery?

    Announcing an upcoming panel session:

    The place of collective craft in the modern museums and art galleries of the Global South

    This panel session is part of the conference:

    Museums and art galleries in the Global South are challenged by the existence of active traditional craft collectives.

    Conventional Western approaches to art history focus on individual creativity. The individual artist is seen as the ultimate site for development of new art forms. While inspiration might be drawn from collective traditions, such as Picasso’s experience of African masks, the ultimate end of analysis is the product realised by an individual. This can be seen as part of a cultural economy that deals in a currency of genius, intellectual property and originality. The colonial process entails the extension of this economy into alternative systems where culture is more a matter of collective meaning and ancestral authority.

    Such methodologies have a home in the trans-Atlantic North, where traditional cultures are rarely found outside of the modernist lens. In the Global South, however, there is sometimes a bifocal arrangement where modernity co-exists with collective systems.

    Compared to visual arts, craft practice depends more on the reproduction of traditional skills than individual originality. In the North, much contemporary craft has been assimilated into modernity through the introduction of studio practice. In the South, craft is still practiced in communities where it is grounded in collective identities, such as village, tribe, caste or guild.

    If art history in the Global South is to reflect the nature of its democracies, then methodologies need to be adopted that account for art that has been forged through collective agencies, where it would be inappropriate to single out an individual as the sole representative. This could be seen to apply to forms such as telephone wire-weaving in South Africa, ‘tjanpi’ sculptures in the Western Desert of Australia, tapa cloths from the Pacific, Pattamadai mat weavers in India, Relmu Witral weavers in Chile. How can these collective art forms be incorporated into a history of art in the Global South?

    Some of the issues this raises include:

    • How can innovation be accounted for within a collective practice?
    • To what extent can Western institutions such as art galleries accommodate collective art forms such as village crafts?
    • Are there productive ways in which individual artists can collaborate with traditional communities?
    • How can what might be considered a traditional art form be given a diachronic reading through art history?
    • How might individuals that emerge from collective settings to be granted status as ‘living treasures’, ‘masters of their craft’, or ‘artists in their own right’?
    • How to traditional Indigenous crafts compared to hobby circles in the Global North?

    This discussion is relevant to those working across the broader South, including African tribal arts, Asian programs for upliftment of traditional crafts, Oceanic models for dealing with traditional knowledge and Latin American forms of engagement with the so called ‘pre-Colombian’ cultures. This also extends to the representation of these in institutions situated in the Global North.

    Issues at play here connect closely with existing forums such as Journal of Modern Craft, Craft & Design Enquiry and Southern Perspectives.

    For further information about this panel, contact Kevin Murray (kevin(at)

    Proposals for conference papers should be sent to the Chairperson of SAVAH, Dr Federico Freschi (federico.freschi(at)

    Carbon Issue: Sustainability in Craft & Design

    Here’s a call for an upcoming issue of a new craft journal that I’m involved in. I hope it brings together some new and thoughtful perspectives on the way designing and making engage with the re-valuation of  the planet’s resources.




    Carbon Issue: Sustainability in Craft & Design

    craft + design enquiry is seeking papers for the Carbon Issue: Sustainability in Craft & Design.

    This issue welcomes academic papers documenting research that contributes to an understanding of sustainability as a context for craft and design. This understanding ranges from the practical to the symbolic.

    Papers can include:

    • A review historical movements such as the Arts & Crafts movement or Bauhaus
    • A reflection on current craft and design projects
    • An engagement with contemporary sustainability discourse
    • A speculation on the future of craft and design in a world more than two degrees warmer than today
    • A critical examination of the relationship between sustainability and the aesthetic dimension

    Specific areas of interest include:

    Green thumbprint

    Can handmade production provide a more sustainable alternative to industrial processes?

    Craft ethic

    Does the broader ethic of craft, involving local production, symbolic value and social exchange provide an alternative to global consumerism?

    Carbon aesthetics

    How does the material and organic dimension of craft appear from the ‘cloud’ of online communication – as outmoded or higher truth?

    Papers are due on 30 June 2010. It is highly recommended that you send an outline to the guest editor by the 30 March 2010. Kevin Murray is Guest Editor for this issue.

    • For inquiries, please contact Kevin Murray at kevin(at) or Jenny Deves at jenny.deves(at)
    • To submit papers please register online
    • See author guidelines

    craft + design enquiry is a new, open access, peer-reviewed, online journal that interrogates discourses surrounding craft and design practice. It is published by the Craft Australia Research Centre. Craft Australia is funded by the Australia Council, through the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian Government and all state and territory governments, and the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian government’s arts funding and advisory body.

    Journal website: