A long time coming: Sorry Day, at last, in Canberra…

14 02 2008


Just a quick post to mark yesterday’s historic, unqualified apology from the Australian Parliament to both the stolen generation and the indigenous community at large – though lordy knows that the mere pronouncent of the word sorry is by no means enough.

What we really need in this country is genuine reconciliation with, and respect for the rights of, Aboriginal people – and we hope to christ that yesterday was the beginning of a fair dinkum movement in that direction. We can’t afford, morally, to let them down again.

The Craft ACT mob attended the large public gathering held outside New Parliament House for the occasion, and the Gang was certainly with them, arm-in-arm, in spirit.

More Moore…

14 02 2008


Tom Moore, Total Pandemonium (photo Grant Hancock)

The Gang does it tough in the country…

13 02 2008


The Gang’s finally settled into the new Glasscentralcanberra office, which isn’t too shabby – but we do miss the Du Champ, Nige.

We’ve gotta tell you that the perks of country living ain’t half bad – we’re talking blackberry pie, my friends. Yessiree, blackberry season is in full swing down here, and even security-trainee Lola has developed a taste for those sweet l’il suckers. Ginger and the Gang are out in the paddock picking berries most evenings, making the most of it while it lasts. 

Just glorious. (Shame about the diet.)

Postcard from New York: Jane Bruce’s new work…

12 02 2008


(above) Jane Bruce, Ghost House (side view)

The Gang’s received a postcard from Jane Bruce, which was amazing synchronicity ‘cos we’d only just caught up with Big Mel and Jeremy at their opening at Beaver a couple of days before, and they’d been telling us about the work they’d been doing of late with Jane at their workshop, Studio Ramp, over in Portland… So it was great to get a gander at the work itself, some of which – the House series – is so beautifully evocative of Caithness in Scotland, where she’d held the position of Artistic Director at the Northlands Creative Glass Centre until quite recently. (We love that slate and glass mix.)

Patently she’s not been idle since leaving Canberra in 2004 [where she had spent some 10 years as associate lecturer at the ANU (formerly Canberra) School of Art Glass Workshop, including a couple as Acting Head of Workshop following Stephen Procter’s untimely illness and demise.] She did, however, go through a period of not making work – partly brought on by burn-out (the last few years in Canberra were understandably difficult – she’d had a long and empathetic working relationship with Stephen) and partly due to a classic philosophic-vocational watershed. She became involved instead with a glass studio in New Jersey which “had been expressly set up for children, mostly at risk inner-city kids. It seemed a much more worthwhile pursuit at the time than making more expensive glass work that the world didn’t really need.” It’s a project she’s still involved in – last year they raised funds to build a hotshop (up until then only kilnforming and lampworking had been available.)

Around mid-2006 the creative muse kicked back in of course, by which time her practice had undergone a significant shift (away from blown glass to kilnformed and hot cast pieces.) Hence the new working relationship with Mel George and Jeremy Lepisto at Studio Ramp.

She’s presently working on a solo show (and catalogue) for Bullseye, opening April 1st, which of course kyboshed any thoughts of zapping across for the January Ausglass Conference. But having been invited by Sabbia to take part in In Essence (an exhibition designed to promote and raise funds for the Stephen Procter Fellowship) in Sydney this coming September, she’s planning a trip that’ll give her ample time to do the rounds of all her old stomping grounds – and with any luck she might have time to squeeze in a short residency at the School of Art, and maybe even give the new Canberra Glassworks a bit of a workout as well…

Anyhoo, you can check out the work at…


…and her current artist statement…


Artist Statement
My work is deeply rooted in the history of the decorative or applied arts and the examination of objects, particularly the vessel.  If I were to pick an adjective to describe my work, it might be ‘formal’’.  I am interested in how composition, colour, light, proportion, and the juxtaposition of positive and negative space work within an object or group of objects.  Formal is a term rarely used in the context of the decorative or applied arts, but it is essential in painting and sculpture and is, I believe, equally essential to the object.

In 2005 the specific form of my work undertook a major shift away from blown work to kilnformed and hot cast forms, which, whilst concerned with abstraction, light and transparency, continue my investigation of the vessel. At the same time I have been working on a series of house forms, which explore a more personal concern related to landscape and loss in a particular place, the far north-east of Scotland.

I am presently working with the Portland, Oregon fabrication studio, Studio Ramp, to produce these pieces. This way of working has opened up new and unexpected directions in my work not previously possible.  It has afforded me the opportunity to move from one process, blowing, to another, kilnforming, enabling me to expand and develop ideas and content within a body of work unrestricted by technique.  It has also provided the time to move from one media, glass, to another, drawing, permitting the development of works on paper that open up and compliment the ideas produced in glass.

January 2008


And keep an eye out for her website, www.janebruce.com, which is on the verge of being launched…

Country curiosities…

11 02 2008


Eek!! In the 28 years the Gang’s been at Wyndham we’ve never seen one of these. It reared its ugly head Saturday morning, was attracting flies by lunchtime and had grown to full length by late arvo. Man, it was a good 8 inches (maybe more, under the mulch)! Rather erky…

By the next day it had completely withered away. Thank goodness. As curious as it was, ya wouldn’t want it as a permanent feature in your garden. 

We looked it up on Google and discovered it was a Dogs Stinkhorn fungus (sometimes commonly called a devil’s dick – yeah, well we totally get that), prevalent in North America apparently – but how the hell did it find it’s way to our place?

ANCA gives the architects a go…

10 02 2008


Jason Hugonnet’s Whisk


Brett Lowe’s Untitled, (detail)

It’s no secret that architects are wanna-be artists (you need look no further than some of the public art travesties foisted upon us these days to see that – check out http://artwranglers.com.au/architecture-gives-art-a-bad-name/) And indeed, some of them are/were great artists; Gaudi, Gehry, et al.

ANCA’s current offering has architects mixing it with designer/artists/makers in Space, Form and Light, an exhibition curated by Ann McMahon and Katherine Campbell (on until the 17th Feb.)

We’ve posted a coupla favourites (above) – love Jas’s Whisk, particularly

War of the Worlds: Tom Moore style…

8 02 2008


(above) Tom Moore, Trouble brewing (photo by Grant Hancock)

We’re dropping this in ‘cos we need a glass fix (we’ve just had an unusual run of non-glass posts, which isn’t a bad thing as such – but we do need a regular dose of our chosen addiction, otherwise we get a bit edgy…)

Tom sent through a swag of images of new work he’s doing for an upcoming exhibition at the Jam, during the Adelaide Festival. No details yet – we’ll fill you in when they come to hand.

Meanwhile, we can divulge that it’s a kind of ‘War of the Worlds’ scenario, and we’re going to salt the blog with them bit by bit – like a serial comic strip – over the next coupla weeks.

STOP PRESS: more good oil on Jason Hall…

8 02 2008


Jason Hall, Turning the Table


Jason Hall, exchanges (carved pig’s tusk, cow horn and deer antler)

Jas has just sent through the gen on Jason Hall, for your further edification.

1839 Exchanges: Jewellery by Jason Hall


Curated by Dr Damian Skinner

1839 Exchanges is an exhibition about jewellery, identity and cultural exchange, explored through a series of amulets created for F.E. Maning, a famous Päkehä Mäori who arrived in the north of New Zealand in 1833. Most cultures have made use of the amulet, in which a part of what is feared is strung up and worn in order to ward off the object of fear. Hall’s works draw a parallel with the tension that sits at the heart of settler societies around the question of native and indigenous, and how settlers might construct a convincing claim of belonging to a land they have stolen.

 Opening 6pm Thursday 7 February 2008Until Thursday 20 March 2008

Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre

Level One 180 London Circuit CANBERRA (off Civic Square)

Tuesday to Friday 10-4pmSaturday and Sunday 12-4pm

Closed Public Holidays

Special Events

Dr Damian Skinner presents a lecture on contemporary New Zealand Jewellery at Art Forum, ANU School of Art Theatre 1-2pm Thursday 13 March 2008, plus a floor talk about 1839 Exchanges that evening beginning 6pm at Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre 


A fashionable evening at CraftACT…

8 02 2008


Last Friday the Gang arrived up at the ‘Berra just in time to dash in to Craft ACT for the opening of WA designer Jo Pickup’s fashion and ink drawing show. Having arrived in full coastal mode we found ourselves shamefully under-dressed for the affair, which attracted a very artfully frocked crowd indeed. Anxious not to lower the tone (!), we didn’t stay too long – so the mugshot parade is consequently a little on the lean side…


Craft ACT is having a run of fashion orientated fare. They had yet another ripper opening last night, featuring a young local designer’s schmicko threads and New Zealander Jason Hall’s jewellery.

(For further info go to http://www.craftact.org.au/exhibitions/)

Meanwhile one of our absolute fave young glassies, Trish Roan, is showing in the Crucible – so it’s worth a visit for that alone!!

Oh yeah, and Tae Schmeisser as well. Bonus.

A further deviation…warning: the following may offend evolved literary sensibilities…

7 02 2008


Oh, the humanity!!!

The connection of this literary(not!) offering with glass and the Ausglass Conference is tenuous at best, we would have to agree – but it did share a moment.

While the Gang was in at the SoA gallery checking out the Ausglass members show, we took some time out to catch up with Jules and James – and found them struggling to recover their composure post the discovery of the above book (left behind in the gallery.) ‘Hey, want a giggle?’ they said – and handed it over. ‘It falls open at this bit!!!’

Well, we laughed so hard we cried. Given that we were in the middle of a frantically busy day, it certainly provided some much needed comic relief. But dear-oh-dear-oh-dear. Too tragic. Who actually buys/reads this ghastly stuff?  

Unsurprisingly, nobody was stepping forward to claim their property…

Anyhoo, we thought we’d share it around, if only for the entertainment value…