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How do I navigate my way to a successful career? What choices do I have?
It has been great to be involved with the youth@craft blog so thanks for all your comments and we hope some of the information will help you develop your own pathways.
We finished off 2006 with a party to celebrate the first birthday of Studio Hacienda and to thank all those who helped us get through this busy and exciting year. The highlight of the party was the birthday cake made by Blanche and our special cake cutting ceremony. I can assure you that the cake tasted even better than it looks!
2007 is set to be an even bigger year starting off with our collaborative project 'General Assembly' at Craft Victoria in March and 'Smartworks' at the Powerhouse Museum in April. We hope to see some of you at the Smartworks Symposium where we will be presenting an overview of Studio Hacienda and our recent collaborations. And don't forget to look out for the Generation 2 Hacienda Bracelet...
Barbara McConchie (Director, Craft ACT) asked me to talk a bit about the path from finishing art school to Studio Hacienda
I finished at Art School 11 years ago now - how time flies! The path has rarely been a smooth one, that's for sure. I guess the most crucial thing to say is "Keep Going" - there will be plenty of twists and turns, fallen trees, prickles, thistles, thorns and snakes in the grass!
Lots of reasons to stop, so what was my reason to keep going? - I guess it is a passion for what I do - I have always managed to find a way - things happen in life that you can't control - sometimes life seems like a game of snakes and ladders - you steadily climb up, and then something unexpected comes along and you're back at the beginning
I was talking to Phoebe a bit about this and how to answer...I remembered visiting the Australian War Memorial on a primary school excursion - there is an area there that has a round room with a high domed ceiling, and beautiful stained glass windows and mosaics of different soldiers, sailors, airmen, nurses. I remember being very impressed by the words at the bottom of each image - Curiosity, Resource, Candor, Devotion, Independence...I didn't know what some of them meant - and had to look them up when I got home
The quality that has helped me is Tenacity
Don't know if this is a good answer - Barb probably knows better than most what I have been through, she is one of the friends who has sat down beside me on that path when I've needed a rest. I definitley wouldn't have had the strength to continue without the support of friends like Barb
We are planning our first birthday at Studio Haceinda, a milestone I feel very proud of. Now I have someone to walk along the path with me - it is so good to share a workshop with someone you trust and respect - Phoebe and I help each other - it is so much easier and more enjoyable than working on your own - at least it is for me. So a big thank you to Phoebe! Looking forward to clinking champagne glasses with her and drinking to the success of our shared workshop.
Last weekend Marcus and I went to Sydney to attend the opening of Klaus Moje's solo exhibition at Object.
The opening was packed, luckily we got there a little bit early and so had the chance to actually look at the work. I also attended the floortalk/conversation between Klaus and Merryn Gates. As one of Klaus's students in the glass workshop at Canberra School of Art, my memories of him are as a teacher - it was great to hear him speak as a maker, to listen to him talk about the unique properties of glass as a material and the history of his development, and to see his obvious passion for glass and for making - Klaus talked about the past and present and also most exciting - the future!
We also visited Nina and Ceasar at Metalab - this was the fisrt time I had been to Metalab - a great space and obviously so much time and effort on the part of the Metalab team has gone into setting up the space - if you get the opportunity, go in and check it all out and support an independant gallery - the next show there is "Fink and Friends" - should be another fantastic exhibition showcasing Australian Craft.
Things are getting very busy for us here at Studio Hacienda - we have made our first run of the 06/07 Hacienda Bracelet - photos are coming.
Better get back to work!
In the photo:
Klaus Moje's exhibition opening
Catrina Vignando - Director, Craft Australia
Me looking like a stunned mullet
Marian Hosking, the next artist to exhibit in the "Living Treasures" series at Object
and Marian's sister, Diana
Melbourne sure turned on the weather for the cup - it was freezing! On my way to the studio (wrapped in a jacket and scarf) I saw many summer clad punters heading towards Flemington, only to hear on the news this morning that six people were treated for hyperthermia...
We chose to stay indoors and make a start on our new run of Hacienda bracelets.
First of all we planned out the various steps and tried to figure out the most efficient way of doing things (much like Blanche was talking about in her previous posting). We carefully measured our miniature anodising tank and calculated we could fit 60 parts and 60 rivets in each run (enough for 30 bracelets). Then we set to work, making 150 rivets and a set of anodising jigs take a batch of 60 parts. It was fun to do it together as everything went twice as fast.
I am working towards a solo show at Sabbia Gallery in Sydney next February. These necklaces will be similar to ones on the home page of my website - have a squiz if you haven't already www.blanchetilden.com.au
I try to cut the glass for a few necklaces at the same to streamline the glass cutting process -and save some time with resetting the diamond saw. When making work using multiple components it's a good idea to plan out you work and think of the most time efficient ways of doing things - and to eliminate unnecessary movement, or over working the job.
This was one important aspect of making that I learnt during my traineeship with Susan Cohn. You can save yourself time and strain on your body by working efficiently - it really is worth taking the time to think the process through to the end, anticipate any hiccups, set your tools at the correct working height...all that stuff seems second nature to me now - but it wasn't when I began making components - the experience of making Cohn's production work helped to speed up my making skills, and improve my planning.
So, a few tips for making repetive parts, and these are tips I will use on this work,
- plan your work from beginning to end before you start, making sure you have enough material and the right tools, all set up securely and at the right height
- group together tasks to increase your efficiency
- alternate between jobs - say one sitting for an hour, one standing for an hour - you use different muscles and so you don't get as tired
- take breaks, and if you start to make mistakes, leave it for another day - listen to your body
- s--t--r--e--t--c--h!!! or you will end up being cramped, pull muscles, get RSI etc
People have often asked me if I get bored making jewellery with with so many repeated parts - I treat it as a job that has to get done, I enjoy making things properly, I use the time to think through ideas. One good way of not to get bored is to see how many parts you get through in an hour - then try and beat it - speeds things up alot
Oh yeah, and don't get distracted by checking your email, phone calls, and gasbagging - studio time has the nasty habit of evaporating!
I've been working on a submission for an exhibiton organised by the Jewish Museum titled Australian Contemporary Design in Jewish Ceremony III. Today I made this model of a Menorah to be used in a Holocaust Memorial ceremony.
It has been really interesting to research for this proposal, and to design new work for a specific exhibition. Refering to the symbolism of Judaism has given this work a different focus.
I turned down each candle on the lathe to the right size for the scaled down model - it felt pretty weird to be making miniature candles, but doing this helped to get the feeling of the candleholders.
I am really looking forward to making this piece, as I am planning to make each white holder in "Pate de Verre', a glass technique I used at art school, and have always been interested in. Now I will have to dust off the cobwebs and remember how to do it all.
Going into Juried Exhibitions is a good for a few reasons - it challenges you to extend your repertoire, to apply your ideas in ways you might not think of. It gives you a deadline to work towards, you clarify your ideas when you need to submit them in an artists statement.
This is the third exhibition of this kind organised by the Jewish Museum - it offers a fantasic opportunity for craftspeople to stretch their work in new and unexpected directions.
This thing really is missing.
for the last 5 months I have had 11 glass objects installed on the pond at Kamberra Winery.
About a month ago we thought one had been nicked, I felt OK about it, it's a risk worth taking compared with how good they look out in the open. It turned out it had just come unmoored and floated awayand it has since been reattached.
Last FRiday I found out another one has gone, This time it's the real deal. Somebody has got into the pond and taken the ducks bum and stand. I think it's kind of cool. I made up a lost duck poster which I hope will be posted on a few suburban telegraph poles.
(a fine example of inventive avenues for a diverse art practice.)
I hope they don't take too many more, I am planning to make a pond in JamFactory gallery in 2008 to accomodate the floaters.
It's Friday evening and I was just about to escape the workshop when I made the fatal mistake of having a quick peak at the blog...
As Blanche mentioned we had a few very welcome visitors at the studio this week. Talking about our upcoming collaboration for Craft Victoria with Kate Rhodes (curator) certainly got the inspiration flowing. She had many great comments and ideas to give us and asked some very insightful questions. The opportunity to develop an idea with someone who is so well informed and enthusiastic is an extremely valuable one. Talking about your own work, especially at an early stage of a project can be extremely daunting, but I'm starting to realise how important it is. The process of explaining your idea to someone else often highlights things that don't make sense or directions that could be explored and there is always the option of ignoring advise you don't like!
Ruth also dropped in and we were able to do a neat swap. She borrowed some tools from our workshop and in return provided us with a fantastic piece of steel pipe, beautifully cut in half and linished thanks to her partner and his tool making workshop. We wanted the half pipe to try making a new tool for our generation 2 Hacienda Bracelet. After being in Abbotsford for about a year, we are really starting to build a network of fellow makers and friendly suppliers that are close-by. It is so useful to have people you can call on when all you need is one tiny piece of 60mm inside diameter steel pipe!
As for the new bracelet, It's coming along nicely - we'll keep you posted...
I think that you have made a great suggestion - drag all Lord Mayors and Lady Mayoresses kicking and screaming into the 21st century with a total replacement - out with the traditional chains of office and in with "new look" pyrex glass and titanium chains - that sort of demand would definitely keep the wolves from my door.
Until I am flooded with orders from local councils far and wide, I guess I'll keep plugging away at it in the workshop. Lately I have been making work for a show at Sabbia Gallery, Sydney for February 07 - lots of cutting up glass, grinding, polishing.
Phoebe and I have been talking to Craft Victoria curator, Kate Rhodes about a collaborative jewellery exhibition we are part of ... we are both keen to get started on this project, and are collecting up images and ideas as starting points.
I have had my "dispatch" hat on, sending out christmas stock to a couple of places.
Looking forward to going to Sydney in a few weeks to go to Klaus Moje's exhibition opening at Object - I received an invitation in todays post, and I am keen to see Klaus and his new work. Such intense colour and pattern - should definitley be worth the trip.
We were visited by fellow glass artist Ruth Allen yesterday. Ruth recently received an award she will use to travel to New York and to set up a show there. So, "good onya Ruth". Her hard work is paying off, which is great to see.
Ruth and I first met in 1988 when we both started in the glass department at Sydney College of the Arts - 18 years ago , which is amazing! Our lives have had different twists and turns - we have been it the same place at the same time alot - Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne - even unexpectedly at Pilchuck which was a great surprise - there is something about learning glass blowing together that fosters strong friendships - is it the heat? is it the sharing of spit from the end of a blowpipe? or the "hey, it wasn't that good anyway", as your shitty punty means that their lumpy goblet hits the floor and is gone forever.
For Ruth and I, I think most of our bonding took place at the pub across the road from SCA over lots of longnecks of Coopers. Bonds like that last!!
I reckon one of the best things about this job, career, vocation is the friends you make - the people who tell you the truth about your work, who turn up at the eleventh hour to help, who check in every now and then to make sure you're OK. In this respect I am so lucky - I have so many fantastic friends who I have met, worked with and keep in touch with through my practice. For me it is an important aspect of being a craftsperson
I have to go and walk my dog, Bella, my best four legged friend. She has developed a new habit of waking me up at exactly 4.45 am if I don't. Makes for a very long day!
this is similar to how the work is eset up in the show, instead of the photo in frame there is a tiny DVD player in a box disguised as a miniature stage. It's fun. I think Ivan and Karel will do some impromptu performance during the opening. They are irrepressable.
On Wednesday there will be opening of the CraftSouth organised group exhibition "In other words" which shows collaborations between traditional crafts people from diverse cultures and local artist/crafts people. I wished to work with puppeteers and kapow! Dreams do come true, I met Ivan and his dad Karel Rehorek who studied puppetry at prague university,
I was shown a large collection of old wooden marionettes, beautifully carved, very expressive. I got busy making some glass puppets as an extension of characters I had been working with. Making the tiny holes and joints with glass was very tedious, and stringing the marionettes was kind of annoying, infact I didn't enjoy making them until they were finished, once they started moving I thought they were great.
Then I arranged for Nigel to take a video of the guys playing around with the puppets, This movie actually turned out to be really hilarious. It will be showing alongside the puppets at the exhibition. The movies is a truly unexpected and successful collaboration.
lots of people said I seemed a lot like a lord mayor.
lots of people said they liked my necklace even better than his.
Tom Dixon flew into Melbourne yesterday and, although he doesn't seem to have created quite as much hype as Lino Tagliapietra, I went to hear him speak at the beautiful Capital Theatre.
He talked about the various roles he is juggling at the moment including running two companies under his own Tom Dixon brand and being the creative director of Artek, the Finnish company that produces Alvar Aalto's designs. He described his first project for Artek (which involved painting some of Aalto's best known designs bright blue) as a failure, causing everybody in Finland from taxi drivers to the President to interrogate him about his reasons for the colour. I notice from the Artek website, that in the end he opted for a more subtle option of blue tiles or fabric with the natural blonde wood. Dixon said it was both wonderful and terrifying to work in a country where absolutely everyone seemed to be passionate about design.
I found it interesting that someone at Dixon's level seemed to be faced with the same problems as the rest of us: how to balance all the different projects/roles he has taken on and how to best get his stuff 'out there'. He showed a number of case studies to illustrate various approaches of getting his designs made and working with industry and emphasised the point that he was still exploring what his relationship with the manufacturer could/should be.
This provided much food for thought and afterwards the Shanghai dumpling house provided food for the belly, where I came upon this great idea for a docket holder/organiser...
Oh Tom...I am so excited that you got a photo of you and the lord mayor wearing your special necklaces...maybe you could get photo of Lino wearing my necklace - the greatest glassblower in the history of the world wearing a Blanche Tilden necklace...what a great shot that would be!
I have seen Lino blowing once, long ago when I was young and there were no water restrictions - it was like watching a sorcerer - he just seems to magically make such eloborate, delicate, things - he was blowing venitian cane goblets at the demo I saw - he made it look so easy - this big sweaty Italian man effortlessly making incredibly fine glass - it was magic!!
Hope all the glass heads are having a great time over at The Jam - soak it all up you guys!!
So, can't wait to see the shot of Tom and the LM - also really looking forward to seeing your latest films Tomusan - I like the little videostreams you have on here - the kookaburra in the birdcage moves in a beautifully "Low Tech" manner
You are just too brave and clever!
I have to get back to my piles of parts. Phoebe and I are working on Studio Hacienda's first birthday celebrations too - so a full day ahead.
Things in Adelaide sure are busy, a large section of the national glass community is here for a 5 day demonstration by Lino Tagliapietra, the most famous and influential glassblower in the history of the world. Last night was the lord mayoral reception for Lino, the LM said it was great and unusual to see so many young people at a town hall function and that he had never seen so many bicycles parked outside before.... very cool.
I was there on a special mission : To get a photograph of me wearing my Blanche Tilden necklace standing next to the lord mayor wearing his offical necklace of office. Success!
stay tuned for the photo...
This all came about because Blanche is intending to interview owners of her jewellery to find out how wearing the pieces makes them feel... I always feel like I am the lord mayor.
The glass marionettes will be installed today, last saturday I invited the crazy puppeteers around to the studio to play with them... hilarious. and Nigel took video which should be edited by tomorrow. this will be my first exhibition including moving pictures. how exciting.
Haven't made an entry for JamFactory for a while...sorry...but great to see some interesting blogs on the site.
It has been very busy at Jam recently, a new show opened up in the Gallery showing some amazing glass work by Catherine Aldrete-Morris. Catherine also works in our Runde Plaza retail shop. A couple of former Glass Studio Associates Christine Cholewa and Beth Newmann along with Rebecca Hartman Kearns also opened their exhibiton in Gallery 2...it is great to see emerging artists having the opportunity to exhibit in the Gallery.
Christine Cholewa and Beth Newman both completed their associateship last year and now rent a studio in the building....so it was great to peer through their studio window and see them very hard at work preparing for the show. Beth has just returned from Costa Rica and this time away has had an enormous impact on her personally and her work.
The designers/makers at JamFactory seem to stay connected to the place even when they finish their associateships here and seem to return time and time again in some way.
I have worked at JamFactory for about a year and have noticed that the sense of community is really strong and i think this sense of belonging is very imporaqtnt to the designer/makers.
Currently a Demonstration Workshop is taking place in the Glass Studio with world renowned glass artists Lino Tagliapietra.... this is a great experience for the associates who will be assisting and working in the studio throughout the workshop. It is especially exciting for the first year associates this being their first major event in the studio...following up from the success of last years GAS Conference. The event provides the opportunity to learn and develop techniques, but also to network and socialise with fellow glassies...which is great. It also brings a nice vibe to the building when there is a lot of activity and a lot of people coming and going.
Time sure is flying by - this blog is into its home stretch - there has been some talk of extending - which would be great - I am getting used to logging on - no questions for quite a while - come on - be brave - ask us something!!
I have had a look at the blog's gallery section - some great work to check out there - and still plenty of room for more images.
I was inspired watching an interview between Andrew Denton and the two guys from "Little Britian" last night - they sure can push it - but in a kind way(so they say)- I love that absurdist aspect of English humor - flipping things - anyway the message I got from those two was be brave, be naughty, don't always stick to the tried and true path, have a go, and have fun - 'cause none of us are here for that long!
I went to the launch of The Melbourne Design Guide on Saturday night - checked out my mention - weird how people are so hell bent on making Design sexy - the same way I reckon celebrety chefs are weird - it starts with W and ends in K - any old hoo - that's my two bob's worth
Also went to see "Freestyle" at the Melbourne Museum - great to see Robert Foster at work on the DVD that plays in the space - using a powerhammer to forge out a block of aluminium - making it look like he was sqaushing plasticine - then forging and shaping it with a hammer - smashing the f**k out of it - using every bit of his strength to change the shape of the material - I guess that is one of the differences between design and craft - designers design something and pass it on to the next process, craftspeople design it, and then they make it
I personally love making things, love to go to the workshop and get stuck into it - I get teased for making little rows of parts, when I am making something out of components I line them up side by side, so can see if any are to "out", to big, or small, or crooked. I find it very satisfying to make repeated parts - I like the rhythm of making, seeing a pile of something grow, changing it from a pile of parts to a necklace that picks up on that making rhythm
Anyway those piles of parts are calling me, and no matter how hard I wish, no faries, elves or leprechauns have come to help over night.
Things are starting to heat up in Melbourne...30 degrees and rising...
Last week was busy with lots of exhibition openings
Tuesday night at Gallery Funaki with the announcement of the Gallery Funaki International Jewellery Award - congratulations to the winner, Lucy Sarneel (Netherlands) and the opening of the exhibition of finalists "Connect". The opening was packed, and I'll have to go back to see the work!
Wednesday night was the opening of "Freestyle" at the Melbourne Museum - a design exhibition toured by Object, Sydney - we didn't rate highly enough to get an invitation to the opening, but got the chance to catch up with a few Canberrans who were in town for the big night - Jonathan Basket visited and had a look at Studio Hacienda, and we also had the chance to catch up with Robert and Gretel, and their two little finksters.
"State of Design" is in full swing. Glass artist Mark Phelan had an exhibition last Thursday night "Skin-Proxsymetries" as part of the program - another opening! Killer saki!!
Then there is the launch this Saturday of the State of Design Guide to Melbourne - where I get a mention. Interesting to be a part of the"design/craft" crossover - always more interesting when the world is shades of grey, rather than black and white.
This week is more focussed on day to day workshop stuff - runs of production work, posting out, planning for Studio Hacienda's first birthday, designing new packaging, proposals for next year
Things are ramping up, and we are hurtling towards the end of the year! It's an exciting time with lots on the horizon for Studio Hacienda
Hi Jas, It's good to get a perspective on the contrast between Sydney and Melbourne from someone who has lived in both cities - how does Canberra measure up?
You asked how my work was progressing since our show at craft ACT and if I was still working with my folded series...
I've been making more of the folded pieces I developed for the show and have just finished resolving an earring design to add to the range. The earring is similar to the other pieces, but has required a shift in shape and scale. Although this sounds simple, it always takes longer than I expect to get it right. I want to ensure that it works really well and is easy to put on, but still retains a shape and proportion I'm happy with. I think it's getting close...
The folded idea has potential to be developed further. I have plans to make a tool that is adjustable to take different thicknesses of material and create different radius folds. This could allow me to experiment more with the folded parts. The new tool could be a while off though...
At the moment I am making stock for Christmas (can you believe it's almost here?) and then Blanche and I will be concentrating on the collaborative project I mentioned for Craft Victoria. I can't wait to start working on it - we are both v.excited...
Hello Ann. Thanks for the encouraging comments and questions:
" Your practice takes two obvious pathways, one in fuctional object making and the other in studio work that has evolved into multi media. How difficult has it been for you to reconcile two such divergent paths? "
I don't feel divided by having a multi faceted practice, I like a bit of diversity. Making lots of vessels has given me the skill to make wacky experimental stuff. and also the livelihood to devlop the weirder stuff over many years. Sometimes the commission work seems pretty meaningless and I can be upset when it seems I am just making garbage. However, making the functional/trophy work has meant that I don't have to flog the exhibition work to keep the cashflow moving, I can hang on to things I like and use them in multiple photoshoots or movies. I definitely wish I had more time in the studio but I am also conscious of how lucky I am.
Has audience perception been an issue for you:
I don't know what you mean...I definitely want people to enjoy my work. a big part of my objective is to make surprising, entertaining exhibitions. It used to concern me that audiences didn't realise how technically rigorous it is to make the exhibition work, I guess I got over that or maybe it just got easier. I do like to let tableware clients know that I also make neverbefore seen fanciful feats and I like to let people who only know the off centre constructed creatures know that I can make a good goblet and that I train artschool graduates in tableware manufacture.
Would you tell me how important has it been for you to be working in a shared studio environment at the Blue Pony?:
Absolutely crucial. it is a place to store work but more importantly a place to see and think about work. we are all usefull to each other for sharing opinions and ideas and then of course there is the financial advantage of rent and equipment sharing. I also feel that my association with some of the more successful artists at the pony has given my work credibility that it did not have before I moved in. I have enjoyed tremendous support and inspiration and a great deal of satisfaction when I can be helpful in return.
I am also curious to know what training in multimedia you have undertaken as part of this shift in practice? I studied photography and media studies in high school and my Mum made some film while I was a teenager but really I know nothing. I am doing the moving pictures with lots of help.
Hi Jane, I've just found your question about why Melbourne is more supportive of makers than Sydney.
There are some great things going on in Sydney, including the recently established Metalab gallery in Surry Hills and Workshopped which is a yearly design show focussed on helping designers and craftspeople get there products onto the Australian market. Sydney's high rent costs could be one part of the problem.
As to Melbourne? I'm going to cheat and tell you what Kevin Murray (director of Craft Victoria) has to say:
'Melbourne is witnessing a creative explosion unique in Australia. Audiences are seeking an alternative to the visions created by big brands, and are looking for individual stories that can be collected or exchanged. The myriad of new outlets provides Melbourne with increased creative traffic that both gives opportunities for artists to gain alternative income and broadens audience access to their work. It's a quiet revolution, as more and more individuals decide to make something positive of their lives rather than wait for the big answer.'
If you are seeking retail opportunities, you could consider contacting some outlets in Melbourne or other cities around Australia. They are often very keen to source new work that is not yet available in their city. There are also a number of web based outlets. Two I've heard of recently are called Georgie Love and Definite Style. Or come join us in Melbourne...
Our first collaboration...
Tom has made a really good observation about the difference between contributing creative input to someone else's work and working on a true collaboration. If I offer ideas to someone about their work, technical or conceptual, I try to let go of any ownership of that input. Sometimes letting go can be hard, especially if the suggestion was really good and I see it has really improved the results! In the same way, I try to freely use or disregard suggestions given to me - as it is my name that goes onto the work in the end.
Working collaboratively is quite different, as no input can be disregarded. For me collaboration works best if all the participants can agree to give up any individual ownership of ideas. This is what makes collaboration interesting, as the lack of single ownership allows ideas to develop in unexpected ways. Blanche always says that a successful collaboration should add up to more than the sum of its parts - a distinctive new thing should emerge that draws on the participants separate skills and experience, but definitely covers new ground.
Early next year, Blanche and I will be participating in a group show at Craft Victoria with the working title of 'Jewellery Collaborations'. We are developing a work which will firstly involve a collaboration between Blanche and I in the studio and then invite the audience to collaborate with us in the gallery...
Stay tuned for further developments...
Thanks for all those questions Anne!!
Glad that you enjoyed my latest work "Carte Blanche" at Craft ACT earlier this year.
I guess my response to your positive reaction to that new work is "WHY?" Why do you like it? What did you like about it? Was it what you expected?
For me it was a deliberate decision to make a definite break from the work that you are probably more familiar with - I wanted to leave the safe territory of being the "Bike Chain" jeweller - but the question of what to do next is always a bit scary at best, and a major block at worst - to move on from that bike chain work took me a long time.
Developing exhibition work is central to my practice - having a solo exhibition of new work can be very daunting but the ideas in exhibition work are central to the development of all my work - my production or "living" work draws on the conceptual research and design development critical to the process of making exhibition work.
My production work has evolved and developed since 1995, into a range of different jewellery pieces - pendants, rings, earrings... and a direct link can be seen between my exhibition and production work. My exhibition work is usually focused on the form of the necklace - I use the form of the necklace as a starting point.
Once I develop a production piece, it is part of my overall practice - I use it to experiment with scale, different materials... as my skills develop, I may think of better ways to do things, or, if I can afford to, I may outsource the making of some parts.
Not sure if I am answering your questions Anne, but I'm happy to keep discussing with you!
After almost a year of designing, building, adding and changing, last night my partner, Marcus, loaded up my new website - it's live!!!
Check it out at BlancheTilden.com.au
We are very excited, as it has taken so much work to get it up and running - lots of late nights and weekends for Marcus on the computer and taking photos - THANKS HONEY!! I am lucky to be married to a kick arse web developer.
And also lucky to have an ongoing working relationship with Ty Bukewitsch - a Melbourne based graphic designer. Last year, Ty did a fantastic job designing the logo and invitation for the launch of Studio Hacienda, and the stainless steel sign for our workshop front door.
He designed the graphic banner and overall look of the new site. I am about to start another project with Ty, designing some packaging and graphics for my Chain Jewellery production work. I am making him a piece of jewellery as payment - a glass bandolier, inspired by an Sunday afternoon at Ty's place watching Madonna's latest DVD - I am assembling it today - I'll take some shots of it as it grows - it is made of around 250 components and over a meter long- acid etched black glass, a few pieces of polished blue glass, and oxidised sterling silver - after making the components for a couple of weeks, today is the exciting bit, when it all comes together - and then the best bit, when I give it to Ty!!
Thats a picture of Nigel who is helping me to make the movies.
Hi, it's Tom, I just found some questions that were posted right at the start by CSA mudslingers: wondering what your intentions are for stop motion animations?
It all started with the idea to make an entertaining slideshow about my stuff for a conference, I initially only wanted the glass characters to blink and twitchso that they would seem alive. This was done digitally from still images using "flash". Some of these simplest and shortest animations remain amongst my favorites. These very quickly started to become much more complicated and to include some clumsy stop motion and live action messing about, with the things used like puppets. The movies were rushed to completion for the presentation deadline where they definitely spiced things up. I have shown the better ones several more times publicly and they have gathered significant interest contributing to me being invited to participate in exhibitions and events. I am planning to show moving pictures alongside the objects depicted in upcoming exhibitions.
How has your collaborative work affected your practise?
Collaborating with people working in other fields has enabled me to make different kinds of work, I am thinking about photography and film, usually I am paying these people to do what I like but they always come up with some good ideas that go into the mix. My colleagues give me ideas too. glass blowing itself is always a team pursuit so there is always some element of collaboration and the more i work with a sympathetic assistant the more I trust their decisions.
Have you found that it has then fed back into your private art practise?
I think you are talking about working with the Bohemian puppeteers, so far it has taken me in a slightly different direction by getting me to adapt my work into puppets, the real collaboration will occur when they get to play with the puppets.
In your experience how do you negotiate through the push-pull of decision making process and ownership of ideas? When I am working as a technician on other peoples projects I am happy for them to take my ideas but not concerned if they do not and this is usually how others are when it comes to helping to make my work. I like to acknowlege truly inspirational or weird conceptual input when I am talking about the stuff but at the end of the day i am the one signing the things. However, this kind of assistance is not truly collaboration. I like to work with people on short funny projects. I guess with true collaboration there is no single ownwership of ideas and decisions are by consensus.
It was great to spend some time with Tom last week and show him our workshop - Tom and I went to art school together at Canberra School of Art so it is always good to catch up on all of his news and show him what I'm working on
I have had a week off work with the flu - one of the downsides of working for yourself is that you don't get paid sick leave!
We just had some fantastic images taken by Melbourne based photograper, Rhiannon Slatter. These images will be used in a book being published by the Powerhouse Museum to accompany the exhibition "Smart Works - Design and the Handmade". Phoebe and I are going to be included in the exhibiton, and will also speak at a three day forum - which we are excited and already nervous about.
While I was a trainee at Workshop 3000, Susan Cohn gave me some great advice regarding photography - she told me think about people I knew who were interested in photography, and whose style of photography I admired. This advice can go for lots of different professional relationships - with photographers, graphic designers, toolmakers...and to keep in touch and work together on projects with people at the same level as you - as your career develops, so will theirs, and you can help each other at different times. You can also pay each other in different ways - sometimes cash - sometimes with an exchange of time, or with a swap of their time for your work.
In this way you can build and develop your own style of presentation, support your peers, and broaden your approach to your own practice.
It was fantasic to work with Rhiannon, she understood the "look" we were after with the images - we explained what they were going to be used for, and she took the time to listen to us - the result is a set of great images that we will have as a resource, and as a marker for the history of "Studio Hacienda"
Tom went to Melbourne to visit Blanche and Phoebe in the beautiful lightfilled workshop and had a tour of a boot factory and a prehistoric experience thrown in.
Now I am back in Adelaide, today I'll be doing some more animation, stringing together some more puppets and working on an exhibition proposal for a major show in 2008.
Thanks for your comments Catrina, in answer to your question... recieving the new work grant from Ozco will not exactly give me more time to develop work but it will help me to be more effective with the time I have. The projects I have on the go require help from skilled glassblowing assistants, filmakers and photographers aswell as some pricey materials for making and showing the objects. The funding will enable me to do all this on a much grander scale, I am excited.
It is often difficult for young craft practitioners to find suitable studio space to work on their craft. There are not a lot of areas available and rental fees can be an issue.
JamFactory has studio spaces available for annual lease and provide craft practitioners with the opportunity to develop their artistic work and professional careers in a creative environment.
The studios are available to emerging and established professional practitioners working in any craft and design media. The studios provide excellent spaces to work, but they also provide the opportunity for practitioners to be part of a busy and vibrant creative environment where inspiration can be sought from other practitioners and networking opportunities are available.
The studio tenancies commence in January of each year, and applications are open to individuals and groups. The applications are assessed on a competitive basis by an assessment panel.
Applications close on Monday 30th October 2006 and guidelines and application criteris can be found on the JamFactory website www.jamfactory.com.au
Hi Adrienne, I'm glad to hear that you have also had a positive mentoring experience. Hopefully more people will share their stories as the blog develops.
You asked to hear more about my business endeavours...
Makers that can produce jewellery are lucky in a way, especially in Melbourne, as there seems to be a supportive bunch of people who are willing to buy contemporary jewellery. I am still in the very early stages of establishing my business and at the moment I am trying to find a balance between working a part time job, making low volume production jewellery to sell and still having time to participate in exhibitions and develop new work. It's really hard to fit it all in!
I'm not sure if this answers your question...is there something more specific you wanted to know?
I mentioned that we had a photographer coming to Studio Hacienda to take some images of us working and some portraits. We decided to get a bit post modern and take some pictures of Rhiannon taking some pictures...
I'll be assembling some more marionettes later in the week.
Yesterday I made a banana wearing a tutu for a puppet body, an ampibious vehicle for the road movie and a very specific classic clear bottle for a fellow in sydney who puts miniature ships into bottles. It was a satisfying day of switching between various motives and methods of work.
The new generation in applied arts and technology will have the opportunity to show their
work in the international competition TALENTE 2007 in Munich/ Germany in course
of the International Trade Fair for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (IHM)
from 8 -14 March 2007.
In an area of 600 mē, the works will be shown to a wide audience, with an international
jury selecting the winners of the TALENTE prize. A catalogue will appear in print.
The aim of TALENTE is to promote young people with a particular manual talent. On the other
hand, the audience will be shown the enormous potential which lies in the new generation in
crafts and trades. The works will be the outcome of formal or technical considerations and
experiments, showing something new and exceptional.
Participants are chosen from any section of crafts and technology. They will have made the
artefact by their own hands. Age limit is set at 30 in the domains of crafts, and at 35 in the
domain of technology.
Deadline for all applications will be 6 September 2006 at JamFactory.
Talente forms can be obtained from Australian Mentor
It used to be easy... when I was training at JamFactory and making tableware and gifts, the in-house wholesale department did all the marketing and the goods went to lots of different craft shops round Australia.
For many years I have been developing exhibition work and occasionally showing in non-commercial craft galleries. It has taken a long time for me to get rolling with this...... and at the moment I am too tired to write clearly so I'm off to bed.
oh, have a look at the first marionette
Good question Gaida - the reality is that quite often a commercial gallery chooses you!
To be represented by a commercial gallery is a relationship that needs to be built and looked after. There are pros and cons in this relationship, and you need to be able to communicate and negotiate with the gallery owner and staff.
As far as research goes...go into the galleries you are interested in being represented by, and have a look around
- who else do they exhibit?
- are you on their mailing list?
- do you go to exhibition openings there?
- who else attends the openings? (gallery clientelle) do you think they would buy your work?
If the gallery you are intersted in showing with is interstate, or overseas can you do research by looking at their website, talking to other people who show with the gallery, asking the advice of a local Crafts Council, keeping up to date with exhibition reviews in craft publications.
Then the next step...
Tom might like to add in to this, as he has a few interesting commercial gallery experiences that he might like to share.
Yesterday I put the final touches on the set for a little animation about the torpedo shark on the truck. I'm working with Nigel Koop again. I think we got about ten seconds of footage yesterday - zooming down the highway. It is very early days yet, we are just working out what we are doing - but we've got the fancy storyboards to prove it, so we can't be all wrong.
We will be spending one day a week on the films.
Today I'm working on another project making glass marionettes of my characters for an exhibition run by CraftSouth involving contemporary artists working with traditional craftspeople from other cultures. I'm working with two crazy Bohemians.
Should have some work in progress images up soon.
Last week we had a team of seven people making a giant yeast cell at the JamFactory - that's not something you see everyday! I'll see if I can snatch a snap of this highly top-secret experiment.
Where is your passion taking you?
JamFactory Contemporary Craft & Design has Associate Positions available for 2007.
Apply Now for the opportunity to kick start your career as a craftsperson or designer/maker. Positions are available in our glass, metal, ceramic and furniture studios and provide amazing and unique opportunities to develop both professionally and creatively.
Applications close 30th October 2006, so get cracking!
If you need more information on the Associate Program you can check out our website www.jamfactory.com.au or you can contact the Creative Director of the studio of your choice:
Glass Studio - Matthew Larwood - firstname.lastname@example.org
Furniture Studio - Tom Mirams - email@example.com
Ceramics Studio - Philip Hart - firstname.lastname@example.org
Metal Studio - Sue Lorraine - email@example.com
JamFactory Contemporay Craft & Design
19 Morphett Street
Adelaide, SA, 5000
(08) 8410 0727
Monday mornings - groan! - whether you work for yourself or someone else - still, the best thing is to make a list and start at the top - somethimes that works - and sometimes it is easy to get distracted.
Walking to the workshop this morning there was a definite hint of Spring in air - which makes me think of Summer stuff - swimming, not having to wear layers and layers of clothes, bare feet, sun!!
Phoebe and I passed eachother at the door of the workshop - juggling a part time job with working in the studio is a reality for most of us
We are getting ready for a photo shoot this week - hoping for some sunny weather, so that we can have lots of natural light for the photos.
Anyway, Phoebe and I are up and busy - where is that Tom Moore bloke??
I guess he'll blame the time difference in South Australia
We are waiting for your questions...
It's Monday morning and it looks like it's going to be a busy week (as usual). I'm just about to head off to work at e.g.etal - a jewellery gallery/retail outlet in Melbourne city. Tomorrow I'll be at the studio to working on some production pieces and preparing for some photography happening later in the week. Rhiannon Slatter (photographer) is coming in to take some images of Blanche and I hard at work ... it's a bit daunting but hopefully painless.
We'll keep you updated and maybe even post some of the pictures...
Hi! I'm Tom Moore and I hope you enjoy my work and my blog.
By way of background I was raised by wolves behind the Joyrene Frock Salon and discovered my passion for making glass objects in 1990 when I started at the Canberra School of Art.
My undergraduate years allowed me to learn how to do things with glass. Since then I've done lots of research, made lots of glass objects and, more recently, have started making videos and animated works.
I went to the JamFactory in Adelaide straight after art school in 1995 where I worked with Nick Mount and others doing repetitive production work. Got pretty good at it too and it made me feel connected to the history of glass blowing.
As a result of winning a couple of awards I've spent time in both the USA and Japan allowing me to expand my repertoire.
Glass for me can be about humour and enjoyment as well as the glamour. My kooky creatures are now invading more and more spaces.
Hi! My name is Blanche Tilden and I make contemporary jewellery.
During my career, teachers, and friends have helped me along the way, and it's great to have the opportunity through this site to pass on what I know.
My work is constantly changing - who knows what you'll see when you check out my blog - you'll just have to jump on in and find out!
Hello there. My name is Phoebe Porter and I work at Studio Hacienda in Melbourne with Blanche Tilden. The Studio is located in a fabulous 1920s factory space which we set up after I completed a mentorship with Blanche.
Many people have generously shared their skills and experience with me and I hope I can begin to pass on that knowledge to others.
See your career take off with the JamFactory's two year studio based career development scheme. The JamFactory is Australia's leading contemporary craft and design centre providing emerging craftspeople and designer/makers with unique professional and creative development opportunities. Talk to the creative directors of the studios and see how this set up can help your practice.
Craft Australia gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance it receives from the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian government's arts funding and advisory body.
Craft Australia is supported by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian Government and all state and territory governments.