Innovation central…

5 09 2008


Local Innovations kicked off at Craft ACT last night with a double-header featuring the product launch of Catherine Reid’s new range of trés elegant porcelain lights and the CIT Fashion Department’s annual student parade. The storeroom at Craft ACT has never seen so much frou frou action and after an afternoon of dress rehearsal and all-round tweaking the show finally went off with a serious bang in front of a large audience of family, friends and familiar others.  

Local winery Lerida Eastate kindly donated the plonk for the event and we’re happy to report that the rosé was surprisingly good (we’re always on the lookout for a decent rosé…); a happy explosion of passionfruit notes – really quite luscious. Anyhoo, a most enjoyable evening was clearly had by all, with many punters opining that this year’s parade was the best yet. Congrats to all involved (including the sound and lighting students who put together the funky backdrop.)

For snaps of the highlights go here.

At the end of the day…

3 09 2008


Actually, the header for this post can double as the Gang’s own contribution to the Shifting Perspectives Part 2  exhibition.

It’s got be our least favourite catch phrase of all time. Having spread like a virus it now falls trippingly off the tongue of every politician in every interview you ever hear these days – and not just pollies; everybody uses it, from television commentators to bloody football coaches, even. It’s now replaced the noddingly ponderous “indeed” as top of the Gang’s ‘gormless generic banalities’ hit list. Too ‘orrible for words.

Anyhoo, Shifting Perspectives part 2  folded on Monday night with a combined floor talk from a gaggle of participating artists and plenty of good natured repartee between Nige and his (barely)invisible wet dream consortium (…or, dare we say, fan club.)

We’ll put it into some sensible curatorial perspective next week but in the meantime, for some snaps of Monday’s soiree, go here.

In at Craft ACT they’re now busily setting up for the next event, Local Innovations; An evening of innovative design, which features the product launch of Craft ACT Accredited Professional Member Catherine Reid’s fabulous new range of sophisticated porcelain lights coupled with drawing with light, the Canberra Institute of Technology Fashion Department’s annual experimental fashion night.  The latter is a collaborative presentation of student fashion design, photography and sound – and it all kicks off tomorrow evening (Thursday 4th September) from 6pm in the Craft ACT gallery.

Be there or be a dreary rectangle.

Post script…

2 09 2008


Nigel Lendon’s Wet Dream Support Group  dropped by for one final addition before disappearing back into the ether, anonymity intacto. (Don’t worry, Alice hardly knew what hit her!)

We’ll bring you a round-up of all the thrills of the exhibition directly (though we’ll probably wait until we’re back at the hideout before giving it a proper review…)

Spring is sprung…

1 09 2008


Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious springtime by this son of yore (…apologies to the Bard.)

There’s been more mischief afoot at Craft ACT – the nefarious Nigel Lendon’s Wet Dream Support Group has pulled off a cultural break and entry in the gallery over the weekend and clearly nothing was safe nor sacred…though we suspect that Al would probably have approved heartily.

More snaps to come after the big closing party tonight (from 5pm, see you there…)



                                     Viva Zagrassby!!

What’s your perspective?

29 08 2008


The Shifting Perspectives II exhibition is building nicely.



                                                (click to enlarge)



Don’t forget that work can be brought in right up to the closing party, next Monday night from 5pm…


Artwork from l-r (top) Linda Davy, Liz Paterson, Morgan James, (bottom) Megan Bottari, Tom Skeehan, Geoff Farquhar-Still

Canberra culture debatable…

29 08 2008


The Arts took a thrashing from a bunch of schoolgirls last Tuesday night at Craft ACT’s annual Sketching DAC:CAC debate. Perhaps it was the home ground advantage (it was held over at Canberra Girls’ Grammar), perhaps it was the invincibility of youth, perhaps it was merely something in the water…but whatever it was the girls carried the day with a spirited contention that there is indeed a distinct Canberran culture (as opposed to the common garden Australian variety.)


Canberra Girls Grammar School‘s champion debating team (l-r) Grace, Lauren and Sarah.


The evening (adjudicated by local ABC’s radio journalist Genevieve Jacobs, backdropped by portraiture from the school’s Year 12 art students and hosted by Craft ACT’s Director Barb McConchie) was a great success by all accounts – bar those of the losing team!! 

Arguing the toss for a national, rather than regional, cultural identity were local arts gurus Deb Clarke (curator of CMAG), David Broker (Director of CCAS) and Erica Seccombe (artiste extraordinaire.)



All chums again, post the verbal fray


Despite some very fine intellectual fireworks from the distinguished arts panel, we have it on good authority that it was the steamy culture of Fyshwick that finally blew the generic ‘nasho’ argument out of the water.

Good onya girls.

Art terrorism at Craft ACT…

28 08 2008


It began on the Tuesday – an anonymous Coalition of the Wickedly Creative (aka Nigel Lendon’s Wet Dream Support Group) turned up at Craft ACT to start installation of a progressive artwork entitled Power and the Puce.








Shortly after their departure, Nigel himself turned up with his piece, Le Monde de l’Art a la Langue Fourchue…



Which elicited (on the morrow) the following response…





with the accompanying note…


Dear Nigel

As your spontaneous support group we are pleased to offer images that may linger in your subconscious, as they ‘are’ burning impressions in ours. This morning we were delighted to find what we so boldly perceive as your response. A weeding tool ‘No’, I feel the burning desire to identify the mystery object of the week on the Collectors.

Yes they are my hands gently planting the weeds of collaboration, and others shall offer further insights and gifts for your benefit, we hope. Though we must remain a mystery, as we are dedicated to heightening the collaborative experience of communication through objects, free of identification. Let Shifting perspectives be a venue for free dialogue in this ‘not large’ community we behold.

Sincerely yours

Nigella Leming



To which Nigel has now replied….


Dear Nigella, (and the gang at “” for I fear they may not have got your message at that address). I am delighted that our mutual interests have at least stimulated nocturnal expression (as suggested by your title), and that the poetic potential of the readymade, (or readymade altered) has further stimulated your dreams. I fear, however, that the cold dawn of the corridors chez Bunnings may dampen the ardour of your sentiments. And for the art that comes readymade in virtual space, you have about four hours to join in the Batmania at ArtWranglers at Hope you’re up in time to catch it! P.S. the organ in question is a  “tongue”, not a “tounge”, although there is a “lounge” in Shifting Perspectives…

See you there!

yours, Nigel



We now await Power and the Puce, mark III, and the continuing build-up over the week.


And (with any luck) ‘anonymous’ may be outed during the Shifting Perspectives II closing party – next Monday night (1st September) from 5pm in the gallery at Craft ACT – at the very scene of the crime, so to speak…


[The ‘yohoo gang’ is not to be confused with the Kelly Gang – a different kettle of fish altogether. n(Ed)] 



Sketching – DAC : CAC, the program…

20 08 2008






Here it is, an action packed program of events leading up to the Grand Finale, the Craft ACT Bingo Extravaganza! 

Great prizes (everything from gourmet hampers to fabulous artworks) and Megsie’ll be letting Nanna Bingo off the leash again. How could you possibly bear to miss it?

It’s Back!! The great Sketching – DAC:CAC…

8 08 2008

(above) Nigel McRae’s ‘fat cats in city apartments’ piece (below, r) Beam’s entry



Last year Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre kicked off the inaugural Sketching – Designing a Capital: Crafting a City program; an annual two week investigative culture-fest bent on rallying the collective Canberra consciousness in the lead up to the Territory’s Big Centenary in 2013. DAC:CAC poses the all the big questions…Does Canberra have a pulse or is it languishing in the bland zone? Is it merely a sheep yard with a very shallow dam?

“With barely five years to go there is much to do, say, and think about this meticulously planned city. Are we not the very epitome, the zenith even, of the Great Australian Dream? Is our social fabric not the quintessential warp and weft of middle-class aspiration? Are we not model citizens in the model city? How do we define ourselves, and what are the defining arty-facts of our uber-suburban bush-bound life?” 




(above) Heather Burness uncovered a world of games


All this and more will be teased out over the next few years and with any luck, come the 100th birthday bash, we will have discovered a quintessential peculiarly local cultural identity. But it’s up to YOU. Yes folks, this is a grass roots initiative – modelled along strict egalitarian lines


                Bernie Slater’s citizen 


DAC:CAC is an action packed fortnight of forum and fun, with the centre stage of the first week taken up by Shifting Perspectives II, an all-in contemporary art scrum where people of all media persuasions are encouraged to submit works pertaining to all things Canberra. This is not a selected show. The floor of Craft ACT’s gallery is thrown open to all comers; members of Craft ACT, students from ANU School of Art/UC/CIT, practicing artists, wannabe artists, and, yes, even pretentious others. This is your opportunity to express yourself on the subject of your environment (political/social/natural/whatever.) The set-up is simple. You bring your work in to the gallery any time from day one of the exhibition, and it grows like Topsy from there. Craft ACT’s curatorial staff have control over where the pieces are placed, but apart from that it’s a totally evolving, organic affair.



                             Alex Asch at his topical best



Last year was a wonderful experiment in social democracy. Much of the establishment arts and craft mob stood back in quiet (even muttering) disdain to begin with- but once the show started to gain momentum (and people started to ‘get it’) many threw caution to the wind and got with the program. By the time of the closing party on the following Monday the gallery was chocka with the most amazing Canberra-centric esoteria imaginable. It was vibrant and animated and relevant. Bloody marvellous, in fact.  And unquestionably a huge success. Not the least because it threw lots of unconnected people together in a lively cacophonous embrace. We’re hoping that this year people will take up the call with no less enthusiasm. Anybody whose interest has been peaked, go to the Craft ACT website to download the program (…go here and scroll down the page.)



(above) Rachel Bowak’s Canberra – an empty stubbie pack


This is a rather hurried post, we’re sorry, because the Gang’s about to fang up the Monaro to catch the rounds at ArtWranglers and Helen Maxwell Gallery tonight. We’ve popped in just a few of the 2007 offerings and next week will bring you the full spread – if only to whip up a little incentive…