Page 1



Here lies an obsession with the versatile, generative and sculptural quality of paper - perhaps the most mundane, yet most efficient tool, that pervades all walks of life. Blank. White. A clean slate to project ideas on. The direction of grain running across a sheet. The freshness of a crisp new page, edges sliced sharp. Rough fibres, cloud-like softness. Light filtering through a translucent page. Fingers trace over bumps. The weight of a single ream, almost floating in the hand. Intimate. Tactile. Sometimes coarse. Silky fibres knitted together.



They need each other, yet they fight each other. The debate on where the delineations lie between art, craft and design has raged on for centuries, yet it is a futile one. While each can be defined as separate, in essence, these are disciplines that exist within the same framework of creative expression. In a series of talks with artists, craftspeople and designers, notions of definition, non-definition and collaboration of ideas and technique across disciplines were broached. Snippets of conversation were then extracted to compose a visual essay of the discussions that took place. Paper is the common medium in which they meet. The quotes collected here are relayed anonymously, so that they can be taken at face value for the ideas they represent, and not judged for the persons who spoke them. This book charts a trajectory between three distinctive visual styles that represent the disciplines. They proceed to merge in to a coagulation of hybrid ideas and techniques that belong to all three. The exposition of contrasting perspectives is not a linear one. Like any conversation- sometimes nonsensical, other times provocative, noisy and quiet, suddenly jarring then flowing melodically.

Turn the page. Join the flow of conversation. Some voices are small and others are loud and confident. Engage in the drama of paper engineering. Pull. Push. Fingers trace, and discover secrets hidden in the page. Debate, agree and disagree. Compromise. Slide back and forth between personas, their views embedded in word and image. Hands are spinning. Visions are blurring. Embrace the confusion. Take an abrupt turn in a line of thought. Return back again. Discover your path. Contemplate. Watch the light pass through a page. Draw your fingertips against the grain. Argue. Make a decision. Deliberate. Fall to a conclusion.

unfold and play

It’s a conversation between

hands and materials.

Art is

wishy washy

I like to get my hands dirty.

A human need to produce something more than that that surrounds them.

Art simply disperses information in a way other systems do not.

They have fantastic ideas,

but don’t always have the skills.

Material informs design

Artists develop a language that comes from an expertise in something.

Some craftspeople just keep making and presumably producing and it just moves beyond its functional goal.

Through the crafting of things, these things come out.

The mark of the hand.



it takes to create

truth to materials

Craft is a sensibility, it’s a relationship of idea and process.

I like to be director of the process.

It has a weight to it.

It has a weight to it.

It has a warmth to it.

It actually stigmatises the craft practice.

The designed work is sharper, and its more refined.

Computers are the new tools with which we craft.

is a reminder of the machine.

They design,


we m


Speculates about the future.

forth k and s. c a b um f go medi ind o We k ch other’s ea with

I’d lik e to s into more ee mysel fm creat a e wo hybrid p ove rks w ithin art, to the z one.

It ’s a


mista k

that sume ou to pre entally y m a d m e . f un ge th d i r b can

That’s not a collaboration. That’s not a collaboration. That’s not a collaboration. That’s not a collaboration.

That’s not a collaboration.

That’s like getting someone to fix the toilet.

You isolate knowledge.

It wasn’t so long ago those delineations did not exist.

disciplinary disciplinary disciplinary

There are those judgement boundaries when you start to cross disciplines, that are difficult. That’s not the way its supposed to be.

It’s interesting where one fades into the other.

Design feeds off art

but art doesn’t need design.

With each generation we need to develop the need,

a new vision

any in

medium. Amateur




Art just sees itself as being completely separate.

If you have a keen eye for one thing, you can probably do the other.

Because it’s all composition, right?

If you’re not collaborating,

you’re in trouble

You’ll never learn



you want to learn.

be bold



Thank you

Liz Gemmel Elizabeth Spence Chris Molesworth Rod Bamford Merran Esson Adam Geczy Andrew Waverly Stuart Bailey David Burns Oliver Smith

handknitter, textile designer jewellery designer cross stitcher ceramicist, designer artist, ceramicist artist, design critic and historian glass artist artist, curator architect, artist, designer object designer, silversmith

I would like to express my gratitude to the individuals who lent their expertise and took time out of their busy professional lives to share the experiences of their practices. Your words and wisdom has allowed me to realise that I will never learn everything that I want to learn. Whatever the approach, the need to create is a powerful force. The conversation doesn’t end here. Keep making. Without boundaries there is only freedom to create. Steffi Lo


Paper Conversations  
Paper Conversations  

Illustrated conversations on creative expression with artists, craftspeople and designers. Paper is the common medium in which they meet.