Grad u Feb ate sh ow 03 â€” Mar case ch 1 0
FRESH! Graduate Showcase Sarah Weston Retail Manager Craft Victoria
Since 1993, FRESH! has presented an annual showcase of leading graduates working within craft and design practices. This year, in Craft’s new home on Watson Place, we’re celebrating 25 years of this remarkable program. For over a quarter of a century, FRESH!’s continued commitment to present diversity and innovation in craft and design has seen it grow to become one of our most longstanding and greatly anticipated programs. Arriving at a critical time for many emerging artists, as they look towards the next phase of their practice, FRESH! has launched the careers of hundreds of artists and makers and continues to be one of the most respected forecasters of emerging craft and design within Australia. This year, 13 artists have been selected from Monash, VCA, Whitehouse and RMIT graduate exhibitions. We would like to congratulate all finalists in this year’s program and acknowledge the energy and passion of all graduating students and their teachers from craft and design disciplines throughout the state. This year’s finalists are generously supported by awards from Future Leaders, Pieces of Eight, Sofitel Melbourne On Collins and Frankie Magazine which serve to highlight excellence and support further opportunities for emerging craft practitioners. Craft would like to sincerely thank the 2017 advisory panel: Josephine Briginshaw, Sophia Cai, Dale Hardiman, Sim Luttin, Claire McArdle and Sarah Weston and special thanks to Louise Meuwissen and Eliza Tiernan for their hard work and support for the program. Ana Petidis Anna Dunnill Ashleigh Jessup Brooke Coutts-Wood Cassandra Prinzi Dannielle Faran Jess Merlo Josephine Mead Madeleine Thornton-Smith
Michelle Stewart Nigel Vogler Seala Lokollo Evans Te' Claire
The Future Leaders Award A philanthropic initiative promoting leadership, achievement and potential among young Australians. Cash prize of $1000. Judged by: Dr Helen Sykes AM
Sofitel Melbourne On Collins Award An exhibition in their exclusive gallery/foyer space, valued at $3000 Judged by: Mr. Clive Scott, Lisa Warrener and Donald Williams
CRAFT Retail Development Award Professional development sessions and opportunity to be showcased within the Craft retail space and exhibition program. Judged by: Sarah Weston, Retail and Business Developer at Craft Victoria
Pieces of Eight Award $500 cash prize plus professional development session with jeweller and creative director Melanie Katsalidis. Judged by: Melanie Katsalidis, Jeweller and Gallery Director
FRANKIE magazine Award Online interview or feature which will be promoted through social media plus a prize pack including subscription and products. Judged by: Sophie Kalagas, Frankie Editor
A quater of a century and still FRESH! Sim Luttin 2018 Craftsperson and Craft Victoria Member; Curator and Gallery Manager, Arts Project Australia
By anyone’s standards, a quarter of a century is a decent measure of time, and 2018 marks the 25th Anniversary of Craft Victoria’s FRESH! award. The highly anticipated FRESH! exhibition highlights work by graduating students in Victoria who are investigating the process and concept-led investigations using craft as a base for their practice. The scope of materials employed continues to excite, spanning jewellery, ceramics, textiles, fashion, and extending to video. Going by the current standard of work, craft practitioners are continuing to punch above their weight. In 2018, FRESH! builds on past iterations and reflects a rich diversity of craft sensibilities. Acknowledging traditions while embracing current shifts in craft, FRESH! continues to challenge our perception of what craft is within a rich art, craft and design landscape. The latest offering provides viewers with a snapshot into what is being created now, as well as signifying what we will see develop into the future. Since 1993, FRESH! has identified new talent, with numerous makers going on to have long and successful careers. Throughout its esteemed history, FRESH! has appointed a selection committee that determines student finalists, which directs the Craft Victoria curator and exhibitions team regarding which collections of work to present. The resulting exhibition appeals to broad audiences including students, artists, craft practitioners, educators, curators, and critics alike. 25 years ago, metalsmithing student Jacqueline Belcher was the inaugural FRESH! winner and she continues to exhibit internationally. Having lived, studied and worked in Australia, she currently resides in the USA. Other finalists have included Jenny Bartholomew (1998), Katherine Bowman (2002), Laura Deakin (2003), Julia deVille (2005), Katherine Wheeler (2007), Esther Stewart (2010), Lindy McSwan (2013) and, most recently, Hannah Gartside (2017). There has always been a strong representation of women, which continues to be the case and is great to see. And here we are now, at FRESH! 2018 highlighting the next generation of makers. I am fortunate to have had a close association with Craft Victoria over the years as a volunteer, professional member and organisational collaborator. The past few years I’ve been a FRESH! committee member and had the great privilege to work alongside leading industry professionals and been introduced to new talent. There is always an air of excitement and anticipation when the committee comes together. Each year, I’ve looked forward to the annual pilgrimage to art institutions and eagerly awaited the robust debate regarding the work we see. We make room in our busy December calendar to visit TAFE and University campuses far and wide, and within the small windows of time the shows are installed. Travelling from venue-to-venue during work hours and negotiating opening crowds, we engage with a myriad of student work presented in jam-packed graduate exhibitions. Sometimes we travel solo, sometimes in pairs or groups and along the way we meet lecturers, peers, enthusiastic students, as well as their proud family and friends. Amid the summer graduation buzz, we’re on the hunt for work that catches our eye and makes us look twice—work that’s considered,
well executed and ‘fresh’. With the notion that nothing is original or created in a void, we seek work that expresses the individual’s unique vision: work that holds it’s own and has the potential for future exploration. It’s an exciting and illuminating process. You have to admire the imagination of the students who’ve worked hard to get to this point and are buoyant at graduation. They’ve dedicated significant time and resources to pursue creative professional careers and they have an infectious optimism about the future. They’re eager to learn, question and explore ideas. These graduating students are poised on the precipice of creative autonomy: a vote of confidence from FRESH! could give them the belief in their ability to take their practice to the next level. To succeed beyond school is tough, and to make it within a competitive creative industry takes a combination of talent, hard work and sacrifice to survive and thrive. As renowned Australian craft artist Julie Blyfield said to me, “just keep at it—keep going and whatever you do, keep moving forward”. Someone has to make it, and it could be any one of these talented students. FRESH! provides students with an opportunity to stand up and stand out. It’s a professional platform that taps a small group of individuals on the shoulder and says, “we think you’ve got something”. The committee saw a lot of work by many capable students, and we congratulate all of them on graduating from their respective courses. The final decision to shortlist finalists is always a hard one, although the committee was relatively unanimous in its final selection. Led by Craft Victoria’s Louise Meuwissen and Sarah Weston, we shortlisted the finalists in January and asked, “Is it craft?”, “Is it fresh?”, “Is there potential to develop, to go somewhere?”, “Does the work make us think, challenge us and look twice?”. If the answer was no or we weren’t quite sure, we moved on. We questioned whether having artist statements would have helped. Personally, I’ve often wondered if FRESH! should be a two-part process: stage one, view the work in person and, stage two, re-assess with an artist statement. We’ve commented at recent meetings that knowing the concept would be useful. On the other hand, part of the challenge is for objects to convey a strong visual language—regardless of intent. FRESH! is a remarkable opportunity for emerging graduate students to exhibit at a leading Victorian cultural institution. And it is heartening to be here in 2018 at Craft Victoria and to confidently say—a quarter of a century since the award exhibition launch—that there is a healthy future for craft and it is still FRESH!.
Ana Petidis Spring from Revision
100% Australian superfine merino wool, hand dyed
Advanced Diploma of Textile Design and Development, RMIT Photo by Sarah Weston
Revision is inspired by the successful Melbourne hand weave studio, Eclarté. Led by two passionate and pioneering women artists, Catherine Hardress and Mollie Grove, eclarté enjoyed decades long success from 1939-1962 creating hand loomed fabrics. Each hand woven swatch in Revision details ideas, sentiments, and reflections about Catherine and Mollie, their studio practices and personal lives. The cloth Spring, is hand woven and hand dyed using wool sourced from the Snowy Mountains and references designs in the Eclarté range. The colours embolden the resonance of their passion and ethos, acknowledging and celebrating eclarté’s importance in Australian design. Ana Petidis is an emerging Melbourne-based weaver and artist. Her practice is studio based and process driven exploring materials, colour and texture. Ana intuitively works between personal story and critical reflection. Her considered works are bold interpretations reflecting on human relationships in contemporary life.
Please tell us a little about yourself and what prompted you to study Textiles at RMIT? My parents were clothing manufacturers here in Melbourne during my early childhood. My earliest memories are of playing with fabric offcuts, shoulder pads and cut threads. The tactile play with those materials has stayed with me throughout life. For twelve years I worked in and managed support agencies for women experiencing homelessness and multiple needs. I experienced and learnt so much about our world from my exchanges with women from all aspects of life. After a sojourn from that work I eventually decided to return to study. When I read the course content for Textile Design, it felt like a natural path to take. I learnt to hand weave as part of the course. Weaving is not like any other activity I’ve done before. It feels like an embodiment of nature/ science, stories and love. Your work has involved a great deal of research and explores your connections with studio eclarté - can you talk about the processes in your work that enable these connections? Catherine Hardress and Mollie Grove provide an intergenerational craft and design blueprint for hand weaving studios in Australia. Not only do I identify with them as women, but with their connection and respect for the materials, people, processes and ethos they carried out. The components of designing and creating hand woven fabrics have not changed significantly over time. As per eclarté, I wanted to understand and source materials of a high quality, locally. I wanted to be informed by the characteristics of the fibre, the impact of the twist and weave structure. I also hand dyed the yarns as I did not want to compromise on colour. At the height of their success, eclarte employed up to thirty people who had a role in creating their fine cloths, carpets and decorative pieces. They rotated the tasks involved in dyeing, weaving and finishing around so no one would get bored of the one task. They were focussed on creating a community of artisans, not manufacturers; they created ‘art in industry’. The studio eclarté story plays a significant role in Australia's craft and design history — how did you first learn about their practice? I first heard about eclarté at a symposium presented by Craft in 2015. Panellist Lou Weis of Broached Commissions key statement (for me) was that there is no shortage of craft capabilities in Australia, however
there is a lack of diverse platforms to elevate it. He sighted eclarté as an exemplary craft and design company creating hand woven fabrics that few know had existed. This opened up a line of inquiry for me and I began bookmarking any information I could find about them.
Your work is linked to Eclarte’s production fabrics used in dresses, furnishings, accessories and more. Moving forward with your practice — where would you like to take this series? I’d like to expand and push this series further by exploring other local materials and sources, weave structures and potential outcomes. There is a rumour that a small-scale flax farmer still exists somewhere in rural Victoria – imagine! (Flax was grown, processed and woven here during the periods of the World Wars). This series Revision relates to my interpretation of mid-century Australian aesthetic. I would love to accent a modern interior with some of the designs. The length, Spring however is too soft and sensual not to be worn on the body. The fibres used in this series have dictated where and how they are to be applied. If you could collaborate with any artist, craftsperson or even company, who would choose and what would your dream project be? Unfortunately, it’s too late to collaborate with Catherine and Mollie (in person). I look forward to collaborating with farmers, spinners, industrial chemists/dyers, designers and artists of all disciplines. My dream project would be an international commission that showcases and privileges Australian materials, craft and people.
Anna Dunnill Altar Piece #2
Linen, yarn, embroidery floss, glazed stoneware beads, found beads
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) VCA Image courtesy the artist
To pierce, to puncture and the Altar Piece series form part of an investigation into the intersection of religious ritual and the queer body. This project seeks both to reclaim religious ritual and, through bodily markings, to transform the queer body into a space where queerness and religion can co-exist. For the video work the artist hand-tattooed a small area of her left palm with a delicate burst of colour - a deconstructed rainbow. The video recalls a number of religious rituals: the hand is cupped as though to receive communion, washed with water as though being baptised. The tattoo’s location in the palm references ‘stigmata’, the crucifixion wounds on Christ’s hands and feet. Significantly for this work, ‘stigmata’ is also the Ancient Greek word for tattoo: its root means ‘to pierce, prick or puncture’. The Altar Piece series are intricate embroideries on creased, skin-like linen. Referencing religious banners, they echo the tattoo process, becoming queer objects for personal devotion and meditation. Through a slow deliberate process of inscription the body is re-inscribed, placing queerness and religion in the same area of skin. Anna Dunnill is an artist and writer. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (First Class Honours) from the Victorian College of the Arts, and a Bachelor of Humanities (Creative Writing) from Curtin University. Her current research investigates the possibilities of ‘queering’ religious ritual, and includes embroidery, ceramics, performance, video, and tattoo.
Please tell us a little about yourself and what prompted you to study a Bachelor of Fine Arts at VCA? I’m originally from Perth, and I moved to Melbourne in Feb 2017 to do my Honours year at the VCA. After four or five years of independent work since my undergraduate degree, I wanted to return to formal study in order to deepen my studio practice and push myself conceptually. I was fortunate to be supervised by Dr Kate Just, whose practice and research interests closely align with my own. You speak about this series as forming part of your investigation into the intersections of religious ritual and the queer body. Could you talk more about these tensions and your wish to explore these areas? This work comes from my own experience of navigating the space between a religious upbringing and queer identity. Religion and queerness are often presented as being in direct conflict - particularly around political issues such as marriage equality and the Safe Schools program, which of course intensified considerably throughout 2017. In my project, however, I wanted to make a bodily space to reconcile these oppositional, overlapping, complex identities. Your work draws on similarities between fine embroidery and the tattooing through process and performance – could you talk more about your interest in these areas? My work is engaged with the skin surface, and the way that it holds accumulated layers of experience and identity. I’m interested in how to ‘re-inscribe’ the skin with new meanings. Sometimes this is conveyed through embroidery and needle-felting, sometimes by working with the skin itself through hand-poked tattoo. The processes are very similar repeatedly piercing a surface with a needle, leaving a residue of colour. The embroidered work in Craft, from the Altar Piece series, draws on religious devotional banners but soft, abstracted, wrinkled, skin-like and personal.
You’re starting work on your Masters this year – could you talk more about what you’re working on? I will continue researching queerness and religious ritual, but whereas this project has been very much about my own experiences and body, in my Masters work I’m looking forward to expanding it outwards. I want to speak to other queer people about their varied religious and spiritual experiences, and make work that’s more participatory, that involves other bodies and identities. I’ll certainly keep working with the craft techniques that I love, exploring new ways to bring them into a performative space. If you could collaborate with any artist, craftsperson or even company — who would you choose and what would your dream project be? I would sit and make pinch pots with Paulus Berensohn, weave with Sheila Hicks, embroider with all of the subversive female embroiderers throughout history, write with Cheryl Strayed, make videos and music with Chicks on Speed, and then somehow pull it all together into a cohesive performance installation.
Ashleigh Jessup Untitled, from It's Fine Wool
Bachelor of Design (Fashion), Whitehouse Institute of Design Photo by Sarah Weston
Sparked from 80s and 90s nostalgia, childhood and creativity, It’s Fine draws from childhood memories through its use of colour, form and texture. Hand finished with soft wool and woven textiles, the designs are instinctively playful, innocent and organic. The collection was inspired by memories of childhood and their subconscious influences on our lives. Melbourne based designer Ashleigh Jessup was drawn to fashion design in reaction to the over consumption of clothing and production of clothes of inferior quality. ‘I grew up with my nan making clothes for me and her other grandchildren, it is disappointing to see how in so very little time we as a society have started to disregard the value of individual garments as well as the people making them and the damage we are doing manufacturing at this fast fashion pace. Considering the world today, sustainability should be an integral part of the design process. Mindful and educated designers can make decisions to better the future rather than continue methods that are leading to its destruction’.
Please tell us a little about yourself and what prompted you to study a Bachelor of Design (Fashion) at the Whitehouse Institute of Design? As a child my nan used to sew my clothing and we spent afternoons making dresses for my dolls and choosing fabrics. Also having a strong educational interest in art and design helped me further cement my passion for fashion design. The hero piece in your collection It’s Fine brings together woven processes and sculptural elements in a playful and exaggerated way – could you talk more about your idea for this particular piece? This piece stemmed from nostalgia and how we are inspired by our past when making decisions whether its conscious or subconscious. The texture and colour come from a place of comfort and childhood memories. You talk about sustainable design as a cornerstone of your practice – could you speak more about your interest in this area? My interest in sustainable design was sparked during my education. Once you realise the amount of damage the fast fashion industry does to our environment and the unethical practises it gets away with, its heartbreaking. But being able to do something, even if its small, to better the production of fashion is better than ignoring the problem. Where to next? I hope to be able to continue to create while being true to the values I have formed throughout my life so far while also learning and evolving to create a positive impact on the fashion industry. If you could collaborate with any artist, craftsperson or even company — who would you choose and what would your dream project be? My dream project would be to create over the top outfits for Freddie Mercury of Queen for onstage performances. I would die happy if that was a possibility. However to work and learn from Alessandro Michele creative director of Gucci would be a dream come true.
Brooke Coutts-Wood Gabrielle, from Study of Softness series 2017 Sandpaper, linen thread
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Fine Art) (Gold and Silversmithing) RMIT Image courtesy the artist
Softness can take many forms. In the Study of Softness series, different materials are manipulated to display an array of different tactile and aesthetic qualities relating to the term ‘soft’. This collection looks at the complexities and limitations of language and it’s implications in the act of categorisation. Some of the objects seem soft, yet also express qualities that contradict this. Some may appear bold and abrasive, yet are delicate and sensitive at the same time. Because nothing is ever really one thing or the other. Brooke Coutts-Wood is a Melbourne-based craftsperson. Growing up, her dad was always making fine wood furniture and this had a profound influence on her. She dabbled in careers in natural and physical sciences and architecture before inevitably falling into crafts. Her work looks at the ways in which time and history are held by landscapes and objects, and how we interpret and manipulate these histories. Brooke recently completed her Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) at RMIT University, specialising in Gold and Silversmithing, and was awarded the Koodak Award for Top Student for her second and third year.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what prompted you to study a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) (Gold and Silversmithing), RMIT? I sort of fell into jewellery making while I was trying to figure out the next step. It was a spur of the moment decision to sign up to a basic course to keep myself occupied. Before that, I had tried my hand at a few different science and engineering jobs and degrees that just didn’t seem to fit. I also studied architecture which I really took to, but knew that the job at the end wasn’t what I wanted. I hated using computers, and was mostly interested in the philosophy, site mappings and model making. I decided to study the gold and silversmithing course at RMIT because it offered time and space to play around with ideas, experiment and learn about art history, while also teaching more traditional skills. When I started off I wasn't really sure of what I wanted to make or where I wanted to take it. I was just sure that I wanted to spend all my time making and learning new ideas. Your work looks at material qualities of objects and the tensions existing in language around categorisation and description. What draws you to explore these issues? These are issues that are part of complex systems that we are built into, which I find both fascinating and at times frustrating. Exploring them with objects and materials is my way of trying to break them down and make sense of them. When I started the Study of Softness series, I was initially looking at the way we project gender onto objects and materials based on masculine and feminine ideals. This developed into employing the notions of soft and hard as metaphors for these ideals. As I was working through the project though, I became even more interested in our overall inherent human tendency to label and categorise things, and the shortcomings of this. Your practice often involves unconventional materials, creating pieces that are highly tactile and invite play – could you talk more about the significance of audience in your work? Interaction and movement is very important in my pieces. When I make something, I’m mostly led by how I want the piece to feel and the kind of movement I want it to enact. Touch is the most truthful of all the languages, and so much can be said through tactility. My pieces can only speak fully when somebody handles them.
You mention your father as having a strong influence on your practice as a maker of fine furniture – can you recall your favourite piece that he has made? For my twenty-first birthday my Dad made me a book cabinet out of Tassie oak. It is truly beautiful. At the time, even though I appreciated the effort and time it took, my twenty one year-old self thought it was a bit of a dorky gift. Now it is my most prized possession. Dad has a rare finesse that I hope he has passed onto me. If you could collaborate with any artist, craftsperson or even company — who would you choose and what would your dream project be? That’s a tough one. There are many artists that I admire who greatly influence my work, and I definitely have a dream project, but I’m not sure that I have a dream project with a specific person or group - a little uncreative, I know. At the moment I have been exploring how objects and landscapes hold histories, and planning some site specific works. So a collaboration with somebody such as Rosemary Laing would be a dream come true. May as well dream big!
Cassandra Prinzi Untitled, from the Oceana Chromophilia series
Acrylic, copper, vitreous enamel, enamel paint, silver, ric rac, brass, resin, powdercoat
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) RMIT Photo by Sarah Weston
Oceana Chromophilia is a series of neckpieces referencing natural and urban landscapes and a love of colour. The shapes are an abstraction of coral, each piece hand-cut from acrylic, copper and other metals and layered to create intricate objects. Oceana Chromophilia uses colour as a tool to engage the viewer and contributes to the overall â€œplayfulnessâ€? of the compositions. Each neckpiece has an energy of its own; unapologetically bold and vibrant, they aim to emit and evoke a sense of joy and happiness. Oceana Chromophilia comprises of seemingly ordinary, non-precious materials that undergo transformation through the employment of traditional and contemporary jewellery making processes. Cassandra is an emerging jeweller and artist living and making in Melbourne. A love of colour influences and informs her practice. She has completed a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) in 2016 and has recently graduated with an Honours degree from RMIT, specializing in Gold and Silversmithing.
Please tell us a little about yourself and what prompted you to study jewellery at RMIT? My name is Cassandra Prinzi and I am 22 years old. Apart from my passion for art I am also passionate about the performing arts. Growing up in a family of performers, I have always been surrounded by music. I am a classically trained singer with an obsession for RnB, Hip-Hop and Rap music, which also inspires my work. I have always been passionate about the arts and I knew from a young age that I wanted to study art but the truth is, I fell into jewellery completely by accident. Fresh out of high school I applied for the Bachelor in Fine Arts with the intention of using the skills and knowledge acquired to pursue a career as a Pastry Chef, creating intricate and edible sweets and desserts. An interview and an offer later I rolled up on the first day of Uni and was introduced to the world of contemporary jewellery and object making and have loved it ever since. Your describe your work as being unapologetically colourful — could you talk more about your love of colour and the way you use it in your work? My personal connection with colour is in the way it makes me feel. I experience colour like a hyperactive child, whereby all the senses are activated and I am overwhelmed with joy and happiness in the purest form. Colour has the incredible ability to connect with us through the visual, on an emotional and psychological level; evoking feelings and recalling memories. This power that colour possesses is really fascinating to me. I experience colour so vividly and it affects me so vigorously; and that is the same energy and level of excitement that my pieces aim to embody. I love graffiti and street art and, living in Melbourne provides countless opportunities to stumble across building facades covered in layers of paint and colour spreading from wall to pavement. These bright and spontaneous bursts of colour fill me with child-like excitement and giddiness. My work uses colour as a tool; to lure and encourage engagement with the objects and stir and evoke emotions within those who encounter the work. The intense and bright colours contribute to the overall playfulness of the pieces and each one has an energy and personality of its own.
Your work involves painstakingly hand cutting and layering pieces of acrylic and enamelled metal rather than employing laser cutting or 3D printing — could you talk more about this choice in your process? I really enjoy saw-piercing. It can be a little painful at times but I find it to be quite therapeutic in that it is a continuous motion and process that requires very little thinking and concentration. This process takes me away from the thoughtful decision-making component of my practice and allows me to fully immerse myself and engage with the material. I learn about materials by taking them apart and testing and playing to better understand them and saw-piercing is one of the ways in which I attempt to transform and manipulate materials and create one-off pieces. At this stage, this is a process that I enjoy and I like that I can configure colours and make changes as I need to however, laser cutting is a process I am open to exploring in future. If you could collaborate with any artist, craftsperson or even company, who would you choose and what would your dream project be? This is a fantastic question. There are so many things I wish to explore but if I had to choose someone, at the top of my list would be a collaboration with graffiti artist Ruskidd. The prospect of working with graffiti and street artists working in Melbourne is very exciting to me. His work in particular holds a strong energy and vibrancy and he combines abstract shapes and colour to create large-scale works that are vivid and charismatic. I think it would be a really interesting and informative interaction and considering we work in very different artforms, materials and scale, I am curious to know what would come about from working together. What’s next for your practice? For the moment I am focussed on keeping the making going and I am looking to set up a studio space in Melbourne. In the near-future I am wanting to do some travelling and apply for residencies to gain more experience and to better inform and push my practice.
Dannielle Faran I'm Stuffed, from Out of the Blue series 2017 Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) (Gold and Silversmithing) RMIT Photo by Andrew Barcham
Out of The Blue is a series of neckpieces that manifested from the misconceptions, romanticism, and stigmas that surround mental health. Not really there references hand held mirrors and uses the art of illusion to be symbolic of body dysmorphic disorders. The other neckpieces in the series also capture different aspects of mental health through the use of materiality aided by their playful titles. Dannielle Faran is a contemporary jeweller whose interests lie with the psyche and notions of identity. Playing with the idea of construction within identity, Dannielle works predominantly with stainless steel and titanium to represent qualities such as strength, resistance and longevity. Dannielle also works with reflective surfaces as they are closely connected to human consciousness, reflecting both reality and illusion. Dannielle holds an Advanced Diploma of Jewellery Design from Central TAFE, Western Australia and completed a Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) (Gold and Silversmithing) at RMIT in 2017.
Please tell us a little about yourself and what prompted you to study a Bachelor of Arts (Gold and Silversmithing at RMIT)? My first preference out of high school was to study light fabrication. When this didnt work out I decided to study jewellery which i'm now really grateful for. After finishing a 3 year jewellery design diploma I really needed to try something new. Perth has limited options to study contemporary jewellery and central TAFE were really big advicators of RMIT. I'd also applied to study in Canberra, but Melbourne seemed to have more opportunities. You originally studied in Perth before moving to Melbourne and RMIT, could you talk about this transition and how it impacted your practice? I'd just turned 19 when I moved to Melbourne, had never travelled out of the state, lived out of home or been away from family, so the transition was really hard. Being at RMIT really forced me to unpack my practice and come to terms with the things that drive me and my work. Your Honours work is an investigation into identity, dealing with the complex issues surrounding mental health and your choices in material play an important role in this series. Could you talk more on this? I'm interested in why we are the way we are. My practice has always been informed by the concept of constuction in regards to identity. Materiality is also an important component to my work as a means of expressing certain qualities and characteristics. Stainless steel and titanium have strong ties to the medical and industrial world, being used for their strength and hygienic qualities. Until recently, silver (an ingredient in amalgam fillings) and gold were commonly used in dentistry, but also have strong associations to presciousness and value. A fuse controlls and conducts current, "Don't blow it" combines fuses, stainless steel and silver to communicate ideas of temperament and was made in response to bipolar. The vinyl tube used in "I'm stuffed" and "Not really there" depicts medical feeding tubes and air hoses used in the medical world.
If you could collaborate with any artist, craftsperson or even company, who wouldÂ you choose and what would your dream project be? In terms of expanding this series I think it'd be cool to collaborate with Shawn Coss. His coverage of mental health for inktober was recieved really well and got people really talking about the topic. Whatâ€™s next for you this year? This year im working on a few commercial collections as well as some exhibition pieces. My infinity mirrors have sparked a lot of interest, I'm making some new ones, so it'll be exciting to see where they take me.
Jess Merlo Untitled
Bachelor of Fine Art Monash University Image courtesy the artist
Artist Jess Merlo is interested in exploring the relationships between two and three dimensional works. Drawing from her practice as a painter, this current body of work sees her translating her familiar abstract forms into three dimensional objects through a process of sculpting and carving her chosen medium. Jess Merlo is a Melbourne-based artist and a recent Fine Art graduate from Monash University. Jess is a multi-disciplinary artist who experiments with abstract painting, installation, research and sculpture. Her large scale artworks opens an immersive environment to explore non-conventional techniques and materials, creating a diverse range of results.
Please tell us a little about yourself and what prompted you to study Fine Art at Monash? Recently, I found an old work book from primary school, when I was about seven years old and one question caught my eye: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ and my answer was ‘An artist.’ Ever since I was young, I was often pushed aside by my brothers when they would go outside and play sports. Left alone, I’d spend a lot of my time drawing or doing crafts, which really started me on my path. Every summer break, I would pick a new
creative task to learn and master. It was only at high school that I realized my creative passion towards art had manifested into my childhood ambition of becoming an artist. Wanting to pursue my artistic ambitions after high school, I was attracted to Monash’s Fine Art degree due to the range of classes, facilities and lecturers that Monash had to offer, but importantly, the flexibility Monash provides to allow students to explore any medium or method without being categorized and restricted. As a student at Monash,
I was constantly supported in any concept I pursued, regardless of my skill level. Monash also pushes you to explore different fields such as painting, drawing, sculpture, print making etc. Initially, I found it quite frustrating because at that point I hated sculpture and never wanted to journey down that path. However it completely flipped my perspective and now my work features paintings and sculpture, two things I never thought I’d really pursue.
Your sculptures in FRESH! see you working with expanding foam, casting and carving the material to create finished pieces. Could you talk more about your choice of material and discovery of process? At the beginning of my second semester of third year, I found myself so stuck in a previous artwork that I resented and wanted nothing more than to move on. My initial and ideal plan was to push myself and attempt sculpture, ultimately creating a large series. A novice to sculptural practices and materials, I was looking for inspiration for a material that would achieve the result I envisaged: it needed to be solid, thick and easy to carve/sand. I walked around our studio and discovered a friend experimenting with various materials including expandable foam and thought I’d give it a try myself. After purchasing a few cans, I made my small figure-eight piece and was really drawn to the effect it produced. The frame of the sculptures was easy to establish. I cut out the ideal shape out of chicken wire and wrapped it in newspaper so that the spray had a base to build upon. After a few layers of spray, some carving, sanding and painting later, the sculptures materialised. Your practice spans painting, sculpture and research and this recent body of work has seen you draw from your two dimensional practice, rendering familiar painterly forms into three-dimensional sculpture. Could you talk more about your interest in connecting these mediums? When I put pen to sketch book, I always end up with these strange abstract shapes. From a simple sketch, I want to explore the potential of these forms in different ways and surfaces, whether it’s on a large canvas, a wall, or as a three-dimensional form. After discovering my love for abstract painting and these odd blobs, I experimented with surfaces, but quickly hit a brick wall after painting a number of places and objects that ranged from a canvas to a two-seater couch. I wanted to take the concept of
these shapes to a larger and more immersive scale. Sculpture was the obvious way to allow these shapes take a form and life of their own. Painting has always been a starting point for my art. From there, I am becoming obsessed with scale and installation, which is where my sculptures start coming into play.
What's next for you in 2018? This year, I plan to experiment with various unique and unconventional materials and methods to broaden my skills and knowledge and expand on the idea of large, ambitious and immersive works to create a new series of immersive sculptures and paintings.In addition to my practice, some art school friends and I are in the process of developing an artist run initiative. The objective is to help emerging artists to bridge the daunting gap between art school and the art world by providing them with an opportunity to jump start their careers by promoting their work to curators and other art lovers in a welcoming and fun environment. If you could collaborate with any artist, craftsperson or even company — who would you choose and what would your dream project be? Katharina Grosse’s work Rockaway! And Emma McEvoy’s, Sand Castles are works that were an inspiration and turning point for me – how a simple old suburban house could be completely transformed in a way that encapsulates an artist’s concept and fully engages a viewer.A project that I’ve been dreaming about for a while now is to completely take over and convert an empty house into an immersive work where the audience literally enters and explores the concept through every room. Whether this project is a collaborative piece with great installation artists or just by myself, the objective is to fully engage and immerse the viewer’s emotions.
Josephine Mead Curved Support Frame (Just Holding Up), from the A veritable (un) mooring series 2017 Tasmanian oak, glue, dowel, screws, wood putty, wax, vinyl, felt, sand, plastic sheeting, cotton thread, photographs
Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) Monash University Image courtesy of the artist
A veritable (un) mooring documents the relationship with the artist’s 91-year-old grandmother who has advanced Alzheimers. The photographs presented move between different temporal registers while the wooden support-structure considers how the artist is capable of support. Through the work she seeks temporal meeting points with her grandmother, passing into one another’s time and passing through one another’s image. Memory-loss is a productive force that consistently pushes one out of time. Her work pushes back against this force, resisting losing time and space with her grandmother. By exchanging notions of futility for futurity, the work seeks moments of connection, selfrealisation and care. Josephine has completed a Degree in Fine Art at RMIT (2014) and an Honours Degree (First Class) in Fine Art at Monash University (2017.) Josephine has shown work in over 30 exhibitions at a range of venues, including Seventh Gallery, Craft Victoria, Blue Oyster Space, Kings ARI, Testing Grounds and the Monash and RMIT faculty galleries. Working through photography, sculpture, installation, writing and video, Josephine is interested in positioning women as “societal scaffolding” and assessing the ways in which she is capable of support. In 2018 Josephine will participate in a cultural research residency in Mexico through the Arquetopia Foundation.
Please tell us a little about yourself and what prompted you to study a Honours in Fine Arts at Monash University? After a wonderful few years studying a Diploma in Visual Arts and then a Degree in Fine Art (Expanded Studio Practice) at RMIT, I was ready to have a short break from studying, travel and solidify the ideas and knowledge I had attained throughout this time. I spent a year travelling around the world gathering inspiration and then a year in Melbourne creating work in a studio. I was really enjoying creating new work, in part inspired by my travels, but felt that my work would benefit from a more considered understanding of theory and critical thinking. I knew that an Honours Degree in Fine Art at Monash would challenge my work aesthetically and conceptually. The year allowed me to read a lot, look at my practice critically and welcome a range of opinions onto my work. Your practice sees you working across a broad range of materials and disciplines, from jewellery to sculpture, photography and textiles – could you speak more about the influence of material and process on your practice? My work tends to predominately consist of image production (usually through photography)
andsculpture. Often working in an installation-based sense, I have also incorporated video, text, softsculpture and jewellery production into previous projects. I do not feel restricted by a certain medium and do not feel the need to solely work in one medium in my future. Rather than the medium controlling the work, it is the concepts that drive the medium.
Your Honours work documents your relationship with your grandmother who has advanced Alzheimer’s, and the relationships between the photographs and three-dimensional structures have a significant role to play in the work– could you tell us more about this exchange? My Honours project centered around my relationship with my 91-year-old grandmother, who has advanced Alzheimers. All of my work considers ideas of support, in an effort to assess my standing psychologically, physically and emotionally as a woman. Through exploring my relationship with my grandmother, I was able to continue to consider the ways in which I am capable of support. The project became an exercise in considering the ways we are in and out of time with one another. Alzheimers is a productive force that consistently pushes one out of time. Through the work I attempted to find temporal meeting points with my grandmother. Throughout the year I took photographs of my grandmother and self-portraits of myself. I brought these images together in an attempt to see if it is possible to move through one another's image and into one another's time. I began experimenting with building support-structures, out of metal and wood, that became modes of display for the photographs. The support structures allowed me to hold up photographs in space, pushing a 2 dimensional image into a 3 dimensional realm. While making this work I was considering how I care for my grandmother, how I support her and most importantly, how my mother supports her. I have an ongoing interest in my familial female supportstructures and wanted to consider the cyclical nature of support in a family context. By the end of the project, the photographs separated from the structures. The structures became autonomous free-standing sculptures and the photographs became framed, wall-mounted works. I realised that the sculptures had become less about my relationship with others and more about the ways in which I need and attempt to hold myself up.
If you could collaborate with any artist, crafts person or even company, who would you choose and what would your dream project be? I would love to make work under the guidance of Claire Lambe. I find Lambe's work beautiful and deeply moving. I love the way Lambe enacts a sculptural unfolding and refolding of narratives through her work, keeping her practice in a discursive realm. I particularly loved the work Lambe presented last year at ACCA in Mother Holding Something Horrific. Through this work, Lambe cast off the shackles of psychoanalytic theory, without fully silencing it. She created a space where her own experience could rival and sit beside staged construction, levelling the fields of representation between constructed matter and lived experience. I am interested in Lambe’s ability to combine her personal narrative with staged construction, blurring the boundary between theatre and reality. Lambe’s work encourages me to question how I can straddle the bounds of staged photography, while keeping my work in an emotionally pure and honest realm. What’s next for you this year? In May I will embark on a Cultural Research Residency in Puebla, Mexico. I will be based in a large photographic archive of 230,000 photographs. I will be searching for photographs of women, which will inspire the production of a series of poetic texts. Post-residency, these texts will be a catalyst to create new visual work. In August I will be fortunate enough to move to Kyneton for a 3 month studio residency, supported by the Macfarlane Fund. This time will allow me to focus on making considered work, extending the ideas explored throughout my Honours year. In August I will have a solo exhibition at Bus Projects in Collingwood and in early 2019 I will have a solo exhibition at c3 Art Space at the Convent.
Madeleine Thornton-Smith Reinventing the Medium
Stained paper clay, papier-mâché, stained plaster, earthenware glaze, earthenware, acrylic spray paint, wooden ware board, stained acrylic render
Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) (Object Based Practice) RMIT Photo by Sarah Weston
Reinventing the Medium questions where distinct ‘mediums’ end and others begin. Remediation is the act of re-forming an object in a material it wouldn’t usually be made from. Part of this process has included experimenting with not only traditional clay and glazes but with making canvases, vessels and plinths out of related materials such as plaster, canvas, paper clay, concrete, papier mâché and paint. Forms made this year mimic each other in texture and form, existing in a back-and-forth dialogue between one another – one process leading to the other, challenging the viewer’s perception of a material’s content. Madeleine has a background in painting and ceramics, and is interested in the tension between these two forms of art making. She has obtained various qualifications including a Bachelor of Arts/ Visual Arts (Monash, 2013), Honours of Fine Art (Monash, 2014) and a Diploma of Ceramics (Holmesglen, 2017). In 2017 Madeleine achieved First-Class Honours in Object-Based Practice (Ceramics) at RMIT. Recently she has been challenging traditional archetypes of the vessel, pedestal and canvas by subverting the idea of the “support” in contemporary art. Madeleine has exhibited in various galleries throughout Melbourne, including Topshelf Gallery, Seventh Gallery, Lamington Drive and Craft Victoria.
Please tell us a little about yourself and what prompted you to study ceramics at RMIT? It was a long road to studying Honours in ObjectBased Practice (Ceramics) at RMIT actually. I originally studied painting at Monash University in my undergraduate visual arts degree, graduating in 2013. The year after that I went on to do Honours in Fine Art at Monash.
That year I had originally intended to focus on my interest in ceramics and craft-based materials, but over the year found myself drifting back to painting, partly due to the lack of ceramics department and expertise in this realm. During this first Honours year in 2014 I undertook some short courses in ceramics for fun at Box Hill Arts Community Centre (where I now work).
I ended up loving the medium so much I went on to do a two-year diploma at Holmesglen in ceramics. However, by the end of the two years at Holmesglen, I still wanted to learn more. I also wanted to put the technical skills I had learnt at TAFE to good use, and towards a conceptual application. I hadn’t been entirely satisfied with how my final Honours year at Monash had turned out, so I decided to re-do Honours at RMIT, this time with a different focus, being ceramics. This journey lead to my final project exploring issues around the medium, tensions between painting, sculpture and ceramics, remediation and mimicry, and an exploration into material and the technical support.
You speak about the tensions in your work between object and support, surface and material — what is it about these relationships which interest you as a maker? At the start of last year my research was focused on the idea of “expanded ceramics” – taking inspiration from Rosalind Krauss’s seminal article Sculpture in the Expanded Field (1979). Krauss talks a lot about the idea of the “technical support”, arguing that this term is more useful than the word “medium” when referring to the material used in artmaking as it is more inclusive (going beyond traditional mediums such as painting or sculpture). A support also means that which bears or carries the weight of another object in space, such a shelf or plinth, or to suggest the truth of something – supporting findings, and so on. Exploring this idea of “support” lead me to investigate certain forms such as shelves, plinths and frames, and their role as “supporting” objects in the gallery. Plinths and frames are often treated like invisible “gallery furniture”; objects which traditionally obfuscate themselves, to disappear, beneath that which is more “important”, the “art”. Subverting the medium through the process of remediation lead to an investigation into surface, texture and material, and ways that certain materials could mimic others. For example, I made papiermâché to look like clay and clay to look like papiermâché, I cast paintings into ceramic and created frames out of acrylic paint, using it as sculptural material in its own right. When I was primarily a painter, I felt that certain materials and mediums were “out of bounds” to me. In my undergraduate degree I rarely considered materials such as clay, concrete or plaster as these were the materials of “a sculptor”! Maybe being in a painting major did this to me; even though we were always allowed to
experiment with other materials, I felt I didn’t have the skills to be able to do it effectively. Definitely playing around with the tactile materials involved in ceramics helped me disassociate myself from this unhelpful way of thinking, and opened me up to the material opportunities available more widely in the visual arts.
You were one of the last students to study a Diploma of Ceramics at Holmesglen, can you talk about your transition to RMIT and the impact on your practice? Going to Holmesglen to study a qualification in ceramics was an invaluable experience that lead to the point I am now. I cannot recommend TAFE enough for students who want to develop technical skills before going to university. I kind of did it the wrong way around – going to art school, and then coming back to study practical skills at TAFE afterwards (and then going back to university again!). At TAFE the focus was mainly on developing practical skills in ceramics, such as handbuilding, wheel-throwing, glaze development, mould-making and ways to set up oneself as an independent business. There were units that helped students develop an individual style and concepts too. Tragically when I was halfway through my diploma the upper management at Holmesglen announced that they were going to cancel the course, the last Diploma of Ceramics left in the state. This put a lot of pressure on existing students to complete all remaining units in a very tight timeframe if they wanted to graduate. This made no sense to us as ceramics had become so popular but no matter how much campaigning we did and petitions we signed, Holmesglen had already made their decision that they weren’t making enough profit from the course. The final year at Holmesglen was extremely exhausting, attending five days of classes, often ten-hour days, with classes back-to-back and no studio time outside of these hours because the administration refused to pay staff to supervise them. However, I met some extraordinary teaching and technical staff within the course itself, who were just as passionate as we were about ceramics and keeping the course going. I decided at the end of that year that I would go to RMIT the next year, as it was the last place left to study ceramics. Moving from Holmesglen to RMIT was interesting as my work went from being primarily functional, to primarily non-functional. The emphasis at university is definitely on making art pieces and being able to rationalise and conceptualise one’s
work. I found through doing more reading, research and experimentation, my practice changed vastly over the year. Being around other experimental Honours students too and participating in regular art criticism sessions definitely helped the way I think about my own art. Having a strong group of ceramics students in Honours too was so helpful – later in the year we set up our own reading group so they we could discuss issues surrounding contemporary ceramics and object-making. Last year helped me strip back unnecessary references and decoration from my work, to get the core of what I was looking at – exploring the meaning of material itself and its relation to the concept of the “medium”.
The pieces in FRESH! see you working with both somewhat delicate materials, i.e. papier-mâché alongside ceramics and concrete. How did your work change through the process of engaging with these materials? For a long time I’ve been interested in the intersection between “craft” materials (traditionally considered “low art” materials) and so-called “high art” materials such as paint and canvas. Part of the process of breaking down the notion of the medium has been remediating forms ordinarily associated with certain mediums. For instance, canvas is usually associated with painting. In response to this relationship I have created casts of stretched canvases and transformed the canvas fabric into clay, perhaps making the viewer question what is this object now and where does it lie on the spectrum of traditional material hierarchies? The plinth is often made of wood or marble; I have created a plinth in papier-mâché, and another in ceramic. The frame is usually associated with being on the outside of a painting; I have cast a frame out of paint itself. Objects when cast, challenge the concept of the “real”, playing into ideas of authenticity and mimicry. Pushing the process of experimentation further has included incorporating materials that are not traditionally associated with fine art at all (although many contemporary artists use them): materials such as concrete, render, MDF, and cardboard. There is definitely a subtle political act in treating objects that are so often treated as “lower” or “higher” than others as equal – papiermâché objects made out of toilet paper being equal to a ceramic vase, or to a painting. My work has definitely changed through challenging the idea of a hierarchy of material and medium existing. I am also acutely aware of the history of craft practices,
such as ceramics or textiles, being treated as “lower” artforms than artforms such as painting or sculpture. It’s difficult to tell whether this is to do with being a practice often associated with women, or with functionality, therefore considered “lower” than other artforms. I do know however, that this idea is definitely changing in the contemporary art scene as more ceramics, textiles and jewellery are being accepted in contemporary art galleries and treated as valid practices, worth more than simply relegation to the gift shop!
If you could collaborative with any artist, craftsperson or even company — who would you choose and what would your dream project be? That’s a hard one, because moving from being an abstract painter using really vibrant colours (with favourite artists such as Matisse, Laura Skerlj, Katherina Grosse) to focusing on making more pared-back textural pieces, my influences have definitely changed, especially over the last year! I definitely am incredibly inspired by local ceramicist Kirsten Perry. Kirsten Perry is an artist that uses mould-making and casting as a central process in the making of her artworks. Her practice is based around ceramics, however her main focus is casting objects and textures that are not traditionally associated with ceramics, such as paper, foam, polystyrene and cardboard. According to Perry, the casting process “has the ability to transform the object’s original purpose and value-disposable materials become worthy of consideration” (c3 artspace website, 2017). Perry is interested in the element of chance and error that can occur when creating her ceramic objects, often highlighting imperfections in the found objects she casts. Rather than creating exact replicas of entire objects through casting, Perry focuses on casting the textures of non-ceramic materials to later make vessels and artworks. I also have an interest in creating intriguing textures, not only through casting but also by experimenting with alternative materials such as papier-mâché, plaster and paper clay, and creating forms that would usually be made from other materials such as vessels, plinths and frames. I’d love to work on a project with her where we really pushed the limits in terms of capturing unusual textures and forms. I can picture a room full of weird, textured objects, challenging viewers’ ideas of what they’re looking at, creating a kind of wonderland of sensation and perception!v
Michelle Stewart Who will wear it in the end? 2017 Recycled glass, fine silver, sterling silver
Bachelor of Fine Art (Gold and Silversmithing) RMIT Photo by Andrew Barcham
This body of work is created with recycled glass arising from the bushland of the Central Victorian Highlands. The glass is collected from within the forest and adjacent roadsides and is processed by hand to prepare it for the pâte de verre method of glassworking. Each leaf mould is developed from a plant species particular to the area. The surviving 1% of Mountain Ash forest is of great significance to the Victorian faunal emblem, the Leadbeater’s Possum, and other endangered species and is home to the tallest flowering plant on earth, Eucalyptus regnans. Despite the importance of Mountain Ash forest, it is also systematically disappearing through Government approved logging. Based in the Central Victorian Highlands, Michelle Stewart is deeply engaged in the bushland that inspires her practice. Working with glass since 2008, her practice aims towards a minimal impact experimentation with material. Michelle uses recycled materials and particularly glass to explore the theme of the natural landscape and the premise of human impact within it. She has recently completed her studies at RMIT University with First Class Honours and has exhibited in Radiant Pavilion 2017, Contemporary Wearables ’17 and Marzee International Graduate Show 2017. Michelle’s work is also held in the W.E. McMillan Collection at RMIT.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what prompted you to study a Bachelor of Arts at RMIT? I had a dream to study a BA of fine art for a long time after I finished high school though I spent many years travelling which kept it as a dream and not a reality. I was prompted into action after the Black Saturday Bushfires in 2009 with a re-prioritisation of life goals. I completed an Advanced Diploma at NMIT (now Melbourne Polytechnic) which gave me a comprehensive technical base, but felt like I needed to fulfil the dream with a BA. I finished the course with First Class Honours. Your work is strongly connected to the environment – could you talk more about how the processes in your work that support this connection? I grew up in and I now live in Kinglake. This is a town that is surrounded by National Park on all sides and I spend a lot of my time in it. This area is home to some truly amazing plants and wildlife that exist nowhere else on the planet. Among a diverse range of flora, the tallest flowering plant on earth, the Mountain Ash, as well as the tallest moss on earth live here. Our Victorian state faunal emblems, the Leadbeater’s Possum and the Helmeted Honeyeater, who are both Critically Endangered, live in these forests of the Central Victorian Highlands. This remaining 1% of Mountain Ash forest that we have left is being logged and is disappearing. As this area is public land there is a lot of human impact within it. The glass I use in my work are bottles that I have collected from roadsides and from within the bush. It is rubbish that has been cast away into the bush. Some of it has been hidden for many years and a lot of it has been thrown from cars or simply dumped. To be able to clean up this debris and turn it into something beautiful and considered, for me, is a way of caring for the land and I am trying to create work that can express the fragility of the environment we share. It is very important to me that I work towards a practice that is less extractive and more thoughtful. Who will wear it in the end involves the pate de verre method of glass working – could you talk more about this process? I have been exploring glass for the past ten years and have recently come to the pâte de verre method. After collecting the bottles I crush and process the glass by hand and through a series of sieves. The powder and fine ‘frit’ that is left is used in a mould and kiln-fired to fuse the glass. The moulds that I make are studies of the leaves in which each mould is made
from a single leaf that I have selected. This method of working with the glass allows for fine detail and a delicacy that other glass methods could not capture. Working in this way with recycled glass is an innovative and experimental process that continues to reveal fascinating results. In 2017, you participated in the Marzee International Graduate Show which sees graduate jewellery artists from schools and academies across the world showcased in this exhibition in the Netherlands – how did this experience impact and inform your practice? It is a great experience to be represented at Gallerie Marzee. I visited there on in 2015 and was so excited to see so many amazing works by some fabulous artists. To be selected to exhibit with the International Graduate Show and continued representation through the Marzee for Starters program has been a highlight for me. It has given me courage to explore within my practice and has prompted me to feel a greater confidence in my work.
If you could collaborate with any artist, craftsperson or even company — who would you choose and what would your dream project be? This is a difficult question. There are many jewellers and artists that I would love to collaborate with and I do hope to foster opportunities in time. Currently I am trying to direct my practice towards a less extractive methodology in an attempt to lessen the impact my making has from an ecological viewpoint. I am inspired by people such as Natalie Jeremijenko, Arabel Lebrusan and Helen Britton who are not only consciously aware of the impact of their work and how it affects individuals through the making and the encounters, but also how it contributes to an environmental and ethical standing.
The Blue Bastard is made from 100% Australian merino wool and consists of seven metres of fabric in total. Using a woven textile, the work replicates the detail found on a knitted woollen sweater. The The Blue Bastard 2017 garment is mostly hand-sewn and consists of approximately ninety-five %100 wool hours of work. The hero piece of Vogler’s graduate collection, the work draws from fiction writing in its creation of character and atmosphere and invites you to imagine the wearer and their world. Bachelor of Design (Fashion), Designer Nigel Vogler is focused on quality craftsmanship, Whitehouse Institute of Design considered fabrication and the perfect fit. Endeavouring to have his work reflect a sense of elegance, Vogler strives to present a Photo by Zalina Rosli contemporary take on traditional design. His designs explore both Model: Louis Cooper (DUVAL Agency) texture and fabrication techniques, embracing impermanence and imperfection through subtle design details.
Please tell us a little about yourself and what prompted you to study a Bachelor of Design (Fashion) at the Whitehouse Institute of Design? I had always been creative and loved to make things, whether it was drawing or painting or writing, but when I first became interested in fashion I was still at high school. I remember being too embarrassed to think about it as I didn't know there were men in the fashion industry; and in fact I didn't even know what the fashion industry was, let alone what being a designer meant. Eventually it became easier to explore my creativity as I was surrounded by sisters who encouraged me to pursue it, so I left school and started learning about tailoring and ever since then, I have loved it. You’ve mentioned that the hero piece of your collection – The Blue Bastard draws from fiction writing and its processes around characterisation. You could talk more about this way of working and its influence on the collection? I have always been inspired by literature, reading and also writing. For me it is a place completely separate from the rest of the world and at times separate from myself. We’re able to create our own version of a story and its realm, exaggerating or taming the proportions. My graduate collection was the idea of caricaturisation and I took a short story I wrote and used it as the base of my collection, taking small hints from my characters and applying it to my design, The Blue Bastard is where it all exploded.
It’s important to your practice that your work has
a strong sense of craftsmanship – could you talk more about the significance and challenges of this in today’s marketplace? I have always loved couture. When I first discovered fashion it was designers like Galiano, McQueen and Christian Lacroix (just to name a few). They didn’t just tell stories, but they also had such incredible craftsmanship. I think that the world it’s is becoming so saturated with stuff and clothes, rip off brands making cheaper and quicker versions. Fast fashion plays such a huge role, it seems to push both; cheap mega brands but also designer, to over produce. Stella McCartney summed it up pretty well by saying “if there was one thing I could have the industry be it would to be responsible, yet that doesn’t mean having to compromise the beauty, you can have that but be more responsible”. Where to next? I am studying my Master’s this year and focusing my discipline on menswear with the aim of having a really strong portfolio. Ultimately I would love to travel and be versed in the fashion industry and design in the Northern Hemisphere. I feel like there is so much to learn from home, but also other parts of the world and I would love to be able to absorb and experience another side of that. I don't know if I want to have my own brand, but what I want to have before I consider that, is a strong sense of design. I want to practice my craft and know that I understand my design codes and core aesthetic, so whats next is to continue learning and exploring. If you could collaborate with any artist, craftsperson or even company — who would you choose and what would your dream project be? I would love to work on costumes for a really strong movie. I think of Jean Paul Gaultier and The Fifth Element.
Seala LokolloEvans An Offering to My Other Side 2017 Buff raku clay, glazes
Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) RMIT Image courtesy the artist
An Offering to My Other Side, is a series of large, sturdy ceramic entities. The work sees coiled forms, slabs and moulded objects made from Buff Raku clay - used as foundational building ‘bricks’ joined by clay slip. Rendered into unified, flowing shapes the pieces vary in size from 50cm to 78cm in height. The structures, imprinted with symbols, reference the mythology of The Boat, paying homage to Seala’s Maluku Islands heritage. Developed with an awareness of her own embodiment in the work, An Offering to My Other Side positions Seala’s own self-discovery as central to wider themes of ancestry and culture. Seala Lokollo-Evans lives and works in Melbourne. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts, specialising in Ceramics, at RMIT, Melbourne in 2017. Seala received the RMIT Study Abroad Scholarship in 2016, spending 6 months at The Indonesian Institute of the Arts Yogyakarta, Java 2016. She was also the recipient of the McGraith Scholarship in Fine Art in 2017. Seala exhibited in a number of group shows in 2016 and 2017 including: Place To Be, at The Brunswick Sculpture Centre, Of everything that disappears there remain traces, at The Honeymoon Suite and Window Shopper, at Campbell Arcade.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what prompted you to study a Bachelor of Fine Arts at RMIT? As a kid I attended a school that was really focused on the arts and from the youngest age I had a lot of enjoyment using clay. After graduating from Shearwater Steiner School in Mullumbimby, NSW, I moved to Melbourne and worked for the likes of Third Drawer Down and Lucy Folk Jewellery. While working for Lucy Folk I felt inspired again to pursue my own practice. I had an idea of what materials I wanted to work with so doing a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Ceramics allowed me to explore my full potential as I was lucky enough to have full access to studio and facilities like large kilns and work spaces. Your body of work in FRESH! is titled – An Offering to My Other Side. Could you talk more about the significance of the title? An Offering to My Other Side was made in homage to my Malukan ancestry and to the feeling of being proud of where I come from. Having a parent from a non-western place, I experienced feelings of isolation and difference to other families who embody a “normal” family life within white Australian culture. In my case, it took me up until I was a young adult to be proud of my cultural heritage and what that culture represented. I wanted to honour this cultural awakening by creating a body of work in homage to Maluku mythology. An Offering to My Other Side is intended to embody my own interpretation of Maluku culture and story through my own experience living here in
Bringing together coiling, slip casting and slab techniques to create the overall forms, the surface of the vessels are marked with symbols which pay homage to your Maluku Islands Heritage – could you talk more about bringing together all of these elements in your work? Coiling, moulded objects and slab building are the techniques I use to create what I call “building bricks”. It is not so much the moulded singular object that is of importance, it is the structure that results when the form is built by joining each building brick together, creating a whole. The symbols marked on the surfaces of the clay are made with my found objects, both natural and man-made. Mementos collected throughout my life. After looking at symbols, signs and patterns used in Maluku art, I thought that maybe I could use my found objects as my own set of carving tools, and symbol making tools that would illustrate my own interpretation of Malukan story. Your practice sees you working both with jewellery and ceramics – what is it that draws you to each medium and have you found that the techniques and processes of one has impacted the other and vice versa? I discovered metal objects and jewellery in my second year of my bachelor. I took Katherine Bowman’s casting class and after that, it felt natural to continue what I had learnt from her but in my own way. For me using wax to create metal objects felt really natural as wax has the same flexibility as clay. Australia, experiencing Maluku culture through my father. I have drawn on concepts and
Te' Claire Soft and Hard, from Consenting Flesh series
Clay, stains, silicon, human hair, linen, cotton, polyester
Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) (Honours) RMIT Photo by Viktoria Laux
Investigating the impermanence of life Te’ Claire’s practice explores the uncomfortable impressions of abuse and the figural representations of self-identity. Using the fragmented body Claire’s work series Consenting Flesh examines the vulnerability of the self through mixed media materials including clay, stains, silicone and human hair. These materials reflect, address and respond to the psychological and physical trauma of abuse, creating a conversation of recovery for victims and witness of exploitation. Referencing her own unprotected body Claire imprints, distorts and manipulates clay into forms that question these specific anxieties of self-identity through the permanent technique of ceramics. Te’ Claire is a sculptor who pushes the traditional medium of ceramics to investigate materialism, process and self-identity. Claire’s work thrusts into the field of abjection through weight, material and surface to discover and identify the psychological and physical nature of abuse and human desire. Graduating from RMIT with a Bachelor of Fine Art, Honours (First Class), Claire has exhibited internationally, featured in private collections and publications as well as being awarded various trusts and scholarships including the 2017 Art in Biomedical Science Residency at the Henry Allan Anatomy Museum of Medicine and Pathology.
Please tell us a little about yourself and what prompted you to study a Bachelor of Arts (ceramics) at RMIT? Growing up in remote settlements, my mother and aunt both medical practitioners exposed me to a word of clinical study that resulted in a life long interest in the human body and its bodily functions. My practice started at a very early age through drawing and paper maché, I would sit on the rural stained clinic floors creating diagrams of all the patients and the medical procedures that happened around me. I moved to Melbourne to further explore clay and sculpture after working with mentors in the Northern Territory, as there were no studios for clay or kilns. Your Honours work explores visceral representations of the human body through mixed media, examining the impact of trauma and vulnerability of the body – could you talk more about this focus in your work? Autobiographical artwork explores themes that are drawn from personal experience, acquired knowledge and reflections, my artwork and theory contextualises this. In response to being a victim of sexual abuse and the impact this has had on my life, I use sculpture to explore the psychological displacement of the human body through trauma and body dysmorphia. My honours project ‘Consenting flesh’ researched this concept of disembodiment between the self and the object, recording experiences through process by using materials that distort and question how a person experiences intimate desires after a familiarity of abuse. During this project I used clay that appropriates hard flesh, stains that mimics bruised damaged skin as well as silicon acting as soft flesh, human hair questioning self-identity, linen representing the bed with in a domestic space and rope imitating submission, suffocation and consent. In 2017, you were awarded the Art in Biomedical Science Residency at Melbourne University, could you talk more about this experience and how you felt it contributed to your practice? Some of the most significant research in relation to my honours project came from my residency at the Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology, one of Australia’s largest collections of human material with approximately over 12,000 specimens. I undertook this research residency during 2017 with Dr. Ryan Jefferies to investigate
the process of the human integumentary system including hair, skin and nails. I also visited the dissection lab with Dr. Jefferies and found myself entwined with researching a scientist and artist ‘Frederik Ruysch’ who created work that responded to the idea of death and dismemberment and the public’s abject response to his creations. This research residency allowed me to further develop the material approaches that I take with in the studio, the way hair sits within the pores of skin and the pigments with in my sculptures. If you could collaborate with any artist, craftsperson or even company, who would you choose and what would your dream project be? Following my Masters of Fine Art I will be focusing on international research at the Hunterian Museum in London, the Mütter Museum and International Museum of Surgical Science in the USA. Future Projects will include collaborating with international Forensic Pathologists, Anthropologists and Archaeologists to further develop the material processes with in my practice and the research of museological display and preservation of human tissue. What’s next for your practice? Being a finalist in the Tom Bass figurative sculpture prize some of my work will be presented in Sydney, as well as a research project with St Vincent’s Hospital and continuing my studies in Masters of Fine Art at RMIT.
Fresh! celebrates the next wave of Victorian graduates in contemporary craft and design. Presented annually since 1993, through Fresh! Craft...
Published on Feb 8, 2018
Fresh! celebrates the next wave of Victorian graduates in contemporary craft and design. Presented annually since 1993, through Fresh! Craft...