Monday, December 13, 2010

All I want for JamFactory

This year for Christmas if you are looking for something special, handmade and original, visit one of our two stores in order to choose from the very best craft and design from around the country. Our experienced staff offer knowledgeable advice - and they do gorgeous gift wrap. We are open 7 days a week and have something to suit every hip pocket, purse or credit card.


1. Peta Kruger, Earrings, $308.00
2. Zara Collins, Cuffe, $155.00
3. Hassa Hands, Salad Servers, $34.30
4. Ben Sewell, Glass Forms, small $230.00, large $290.00
5. Samantha Bosward, Woven Turnings, $341.00
6. Dale Roberts, Tumbler, $70.00
7. Rebecca Hartman Kearns, Urban Grass, small $110.00, large $143.00

On-Site Shop
Monday - Saturday 10am-5pm
Sunday 1pm-5pm
Extended Trading Hours in December: Open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
No longer open Public Holidays

Rundle Mall Plaza Shop
Monday - Thursday 10am-6pm
Friday 10am-9pm
Saturday 10am-5pm
Sunday 12pm-4pm
Extended Trading Hours in December: Monday-Thursday 10am-7pm. Sunday 12pm-5pm

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Generate '10 JamFactory Annual Graduate Exhibition

The annual exhibition of work by final year JamFactory Associates Andrew Bartlett, Hannah Carlyle, Caren Elliss, Sorcha Flett, Susan Frost, Michael Garrett, Nick Koschade, Peta Kruger, Jaan Poldaas, Danielle Rickaby and Vanessa Williams.
Capturing these young artists at a crucial moment in their careers, this showcase is a barometer of trends and emerging ideas in contemporary craft and design from within Australia’s leading studio centre for the development of design integration and hand craftsmanship.

"Like so many of the 150 or so alumni that have gone before them this group of 11 dedicated emerging designers will go on to establish successful and influential careers. Building on strong foundations, they will continue to refine their design, craft and business skills. They will create new opportunities for themselves, they will extend their networks around the globe and they will always be part of the JamFactory community." - Brian Parkes, Managing Director

Generate opens this Friday the 10th of December at 6pm in Gallery 1.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Canberra based artist Elefteria Vlavianos talks to us about her practice and the inspiration behind her work in the Momentum 18th Tamworth Fibre Textile Biennial opening at JamFactory 29 October

Tell us about yourself, how did you become a painter/printmaker?
I am not sure when I became a painter; because as far back as I can remember I have always painted and loved drawing. Having said this I have been painting on a full time basis for about 8 years. My earliest memories of printmaking are working with large scale silkscreen print in South Africa; however my adventure into etching and lithography came about in collaboration with the master print maker John Loane.

Which painters/ printmakers, craftspeople, writers, artists, musician, anyone do you find particularly inspiring?
I have a range of painters/ printmakers – craftspeople, writers, artists etc. that I find inspiring. The range is quite eclectic. In art historical terms, I am currently looking at the work of Eva Hesse and Arshile Gorky. My interest these artists is related to formal and transformation aspect of their work. My interest in their work connects to issues regarding, cultural displacement, translation and renewal. At the same time I am equally interested in the work of Robert Ryman, Barnett Newman and Agnus Martin

Within a contemporary – Australian context – I think that Australia has a huge wealth of artists so it is very hard for me to pick. So to mention a few artist whose work I am interested in include Bea Maddock, Hossein Valamanesh, Vivienne Binns and Juan Devila.

A key writer for me at the moment is John Berger – in particular his books – The Sense of Sight.

Have any of these people had a specific influence your way you approach to making? If so, how? For all artists the list of ‘artists’ they keep and return to time and again, each provide a little insight into approaches, processes and ways of thinking about art – in general – and practice specifically.

The work of Eva Hesse and Arshile Gorky is of current interest to me. Gorky’s late paintings fascinate me because I identify a translation of culturally specific imagery into a contemporary abstract context. In relation to Hesse’s work, I am interested in her investigation of materiality, structure and form beyond the limits of a modernist approach to formalism. I see her work as shifting the position and idea of the visual object from that of a statement to a question about art, culture and life. I find this approach appealing because it opens up all kinds of possibilities of what art might be, how it can be conceived and constructed. I am also fascinated by the way in which she investigated the materials she used in order to find new ways of making them speak.

Recently, I had an opportunity to meet the painter Juan Devila. We had this most amazing conversation about, tradition and transformation in painting - the move between representational and abstract work particularly in painting. This conversation was about carrying over a particular kind of cultural tradition and aesthetic into a contemporary context. This conversation will probably keep with me for a very long time.

Are there any specific quotes, ideas, places that influence this current body of work?
A current quote that I like very much is by Anni Albers – from “Material as Metaphor in Selected Writings on Design”

“How do we choose our specific material, our means of communication? ‘Accidentally’. Something speaks to us, a sound, a touch, harness or softness. It catches us and asks us to be formed. “

Is there any specific collections, museums that you have found inspiring and why?Last year I had an opportunity to visit the Benaki Museum in Athens. I was particularly interested in their textile collection form the Ottoman Empire prior to 1920’s. The collection was magnificent. It was the first time I was able to look at a large collection of traditional textiles form Anatolia and compare – motifs, colour, scale and techniques used and compositions employed.

Welcome us to your studio - where is it, do you share the space, if so what are the benefit of a shared space?
At the moment I have a studio at an artist run collective in Canberra known as ANCA or Australian National Capital Artists inc. I have a studio on my own, but there are 20 other studio’s in the complex which means that you can meet and interact with other artist. It’s an absolutely wonderful facility, and community.

My studio is quite big, and is filled with stuff. At the moment I am in the process of stretching and gessoing my next lot of canvasses. As a result the walls and floors are covered with white canvasses of differing sizes. I also have two tables that have works on paper on them that I am working on. There are normally a few things happening at once in the studio, which is the best way to be for me. I like to have things in a kind of progression.

The work for the exhibition: Can you describe the specific themes reflected in this body of work?
I made this work in 2008 and at the time I was interested in the way in which memory can be carried over though material tactility. I was interested in the relationship between the intimacy of work and how they might connect individuals to a particular time, place or event. I had this feeling to create something that was intimate, jewel-like as well as being expansive or a movement in time. This interest is connected to themes regarding time, rhythm, and regeneration. In addition I also wanted the works to be seductive and to slow the viewer down into looking.

Describe your method of production in this current work?
My methodology is process driven and highly detailed. I also wanted to straddle the boundaries between – drawing, printmaking and textile genres. So in relation to this, I was quite playful. At the time I did not want to think to hard about the result, it was more a matter of making, so that one work lead to another. There are 6 in this series, but they in fact are part of a much larger series of 14 works. They were installed in a single line so that the viewer would move from one to the next in a progression.

Melbourne based artist Vicki Mason talks to us about her practice and the inspiration behind her work in the Momentum 18th Tamworth Fibre Textile Biennial opening at JamFactory 29 October

Tell us about yourself, how did you become a jeweller?
A visit to Fluxus jewellery gallery and workshop in the mid 80s in Dunedin NZ when I was an arts student studying the classics helped get me hooked on the idea of a career in the crafts as a studio jeweller.

Which jeweller, craftspeople, writers, artists, musician, anyone do you find particularly inspiring?
I’m a greatly inspired by the work of Julie Blyfield along with numerous other wonderful jewellers like Otto Kunzli, Lucy Sarneel, Svenja John to name just a few.

Outside my field the works of Karl Blossfeldt, Paul Klee, Hundertwasser (Friedrich Stowasser), William Morris, Georgia O’Keefe, Margaret Preston, Lucien Henry and many others are always inspirational. Aussie writers like Kate Grenville, Alex Miller and Peter Temple... as well as garden writers like Richard Aitken and Peter Timms always leave me feeling refreshed.

Have any of these people had a specific influence your way you approach to making? If so, how?
I think I’ve been influenced by the clarity of vision that Julie Blyfield seems to convey in her work.

Are there any specific quotes, ideas, places that influence this current body of work?
My observing the curious nature of a Kumquat tree given to me by a family member many years ago that I have planted in my herb garden affected the development of some of the works in the exhibition. This tree’s stem is formed from two separate parts. Onto a root stock of some kind a Kumquat tree has been grafted and it is this join and the process undertaken in order for this to happen that intrigued me.

Are there any specific collections, museums that you have found inspiring and why?
A visit to the Powerhouse Museum as well as the AGSA in 2009 to view some Australian colonial jewellery as part of a fieldwork trip for my Masters study has been the most recent source of contact with collections of artefacts. The use of Australian indigenous flora in some of the works I viewed is really stimulating.

Welcome us to your studio - where is it, do you share the space, if so what are the benefit of a shared space?
I work from home in the suburbs of Melbourne due to family commitments. I get tonnes done but often miss the chatter of a shared space.

The work for the exhibition: Can you describe the specific themes reflected in this body of work?
This series explores concerns to do with place and belonging. I was thinking about hybridity and grafting, often associated with agricultural and horticultural practices to fuse two plants to achieve a desired outcome. The idea of grafting is used in some of these works as a metaphor for the migrant experience, where a fusing of sorts takes place. The series creates a sense of how disparate elements can be engineered and come together to create something completely new. I used motifs from a variety of historical sources as well as indigenous flora from the area where I live to try to generate new meanings and create new ornamental forms that speak to this concept of fusion.

The work arranged in a circle, relates to the ideas of systemisation and classification in the study of botany, to Petri dishes, and to the circular form of pots into which we put many plants.

Describe your method of production in this current work?
These works mix hand-fabrication processes with industrial processes. The combination of industrial techniques and processes with obvious craft processes brings together old and new technologies. These processes in combination with the choice to use an old established material (metal) with a new material (plastic) was aimed at reflecting the underlying concepts of the work with its mixed focus.

Patsy Hely talks to us about her practice and the inspiration behind her work in 'To There and Back' opening in Gallery 2 at JamFactory on October 29

Tell us about yourself, how did you become a ceramic artist?
My grandmother and mother had some quite lovely ceramic objects, English and Japanese mostly, that I always loved, but had never been curious about how they came into the world. Then one day in the 70’s in England I was wandering around St Ives with a friend and we passed a pottery workshop and - looking through the window - saw someone throwing a pot. It had never occurred to me that pots were made by hand – but I think I was hooked on the spot.

Which ceramic artists, craftspeople, writers, artists, musician, anyone do you find particularly inspiring?
I’m most influenced I think by the written word. The person who over a period of time has had the biggest impact on my thinking and, therefore, on my making, is the writer Phillip Rawson. His text ‘Ceramics’, written I think in the 60’s, is the most critically engaged reflection on pots I’ve ever read and I can still read it today, though I’ve read it many times, and still find new insights. Lately, I’m struck by the concentrated act of producing an extended imaginative text such as, for instance, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel or Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin – both bring a whole world to life.

I’ve just written an essay for an exhibition marking the 80th birthday of Les Blakebrough. I’ve come away from doing the research for that absolutely full of admiration for someone who has managed such a long and fruitful career and made a very tangible contribution to his field. The work I probably most love having at home is that of Kirsten Coehlo, it is just so perfect both to use and to see sitting on the shelf.

Have any of these people had a specific influence your way you approach to making? If so, how?
I think both Les and Kirsten have a strong sense of what they want to make and are very interested in trying to learn something for themselves through developing work. When I work for an exhibition I need to totally immerse myself in a set of ideas that I find valuable and that relate to issues I’m interested in intellectually – so I feel that I know more after I’ve developed a body of work, not just made more. Phillip Rawson’s view of ceramics as an art with a long historical trajectory has always informed my making. It’s given me a love of the history of ceramics and taken away any need to feel I have to make something ‘new’, I’m happiest making work that is connected to that trajectory, even if I’m the only one who recognizes it!

Are there any specific quotes, ideas, places that influence this current body of work?
It has grown out of previous work and a long held interest in intersections between souvenirs, the recording of experience and ideas about place and belonging.

Are there any specific collections, museums that you have found inspiring and why?
I spent a few days wandering the V & A last year - I think that is probably a craftsperson’s heaven. Seeing the collections there reinforces for me that imaginative acts, like making something, are worthwhile pursuits.

Welcome us to your studio - where is it, do you share the space, if so what are the benefit of a shared space?
I work alone in a small studio behind the house. I’ve shared studios in the past and enjoyed that but now – I much prefer working alone and have come to rely on the space it opens up for reverie.

The work for the exhibition: Can you describe the specific themes reflected in this body of work?
I’m interested in how experience of place is recorded both by myself and by others. There is a long tradition of this in ceramics, as both souvenir and document. I’ve been to Adelaide quite a lot over the last few years and spent quite a bit of time walking the city and taking photographs. Painting these images now is a way of thinking about place, of remembering experience - immersing myself in recollection. Many of the images are somewhat mundane, city streetscapes for instance, and it’s a challenge to make something visually interesting through the manipulation of materials.

Describe your method of production in this current work?
All of the work is slipcast porcelain painted with combinations of ceramic under and overglaze and ceramic lustre.

JamPacked speaks to Annabelle Collett, who's work is exhibiting in Momentum, the 18th Tamworth Textile Biennial, showing at the JamFactory, 29th October to 5th December

Tell us about yourself, how did you become a textile artist?
I have always loved pattern, it’s history and significance across all cultures, on all types of surfaces. At Art School, looking at modern and abstract painting, I always felt the designs would look great as printed fabric. From the early seventies I have been playing, experimenting and making patterns on material. Frustrated with the fabrics available commercially I have hand painted, hand printed and knitted textile designs for items that I have constructed to sell as fashion and soft furnishings. Over the last decade I have made art pieces as abstract coverings, intentionally unwearable, incorporating social comment reflecting current concerns. Over the years I have also collected a huge amount of patterned vintage textile lengths as a reference to textile designs from the 20th Century.

Which textile artists, craftspeople, writers, artists, musicians, anyone do you find particularly inspiring?
I have always loved artists whose work could be easily converted to textile designs. Artists like Jackson Pollock, Stuart Davis, Sonia Delaney, but there are also many others, too many to mention.

Welcome us to your studio - where is it?
I moved house and studio about 18 months ago into quite a large place. My studio is upstairs in a large room with fabulous natural light and a big balcony.

I have a room dedicated to my collection of vintage fabrics and another room referred to as the ‘inside shed’. I have been very productive in this studio space, as, for me, these elements of space, light and ordered accessibility enliven my creative energies.

The work for the exhibition: Can you describe the specific themes reflected in this body of work?
The work in this exhibition is from a much larger collection titled ‘Disruptive Pattern Syndrome’ which made up a solo exhibition that I have exhibited in many galleries around Australia in the past few years. With this body of work I have used many types of camouflage fabrics to convey the elements of visual disguise. In contemporary society camouflage sits in a broad arena from military application to fashion items. This has allowed me to explore, abstract and play with the principal themes of similarity and difference.

Describe your method of production in this current work?
For this work I wanted the opportunity to create my own ‘camouflage’ fabric, using the digital process of designing and printing, now readily available.

Playing with patterns and shapes that I created on the computer in Photoshop I developed many designs that followed the principals of merging and blending. I have had these designs digitally printed onto short lengths of cotton drill, in 4 different colour ways. The sewn garment plays with the notions of a military uniform and is placed in front of the panels of the same fabrics to create a chameleon pattern play that I’ve called ‘Neo-Camo’.

JamPacked speaks to Jane Bowden, who's work is exhibiting in Momentum, the 18th Tamworth Textile Biennial, showing at the JamFactory, 29th October to 5th December

Tell us about yourself, how did you become a jeweller?
I bought my first piece of jewellery, a small silver ring, when I was about 11 in Sydney. From the day I put that ring on I wanted to be a jeweller.

Which jewellers, craftspeople, writers, artists, musician, anyone do you find particularly inspiring?
I find so many things inspiring. I love architecture, Japanese furniture, well crafted pieces including well crafted jewellery. Pieces that you can’t work out, just by looking at them, how they were made. Detail…… Objects that make you want to hold them. Trips to other countries, different cultures are inspiring.

Are there any specific quotes, ideas, places that influence this current body of work?
These pieces are inspired by the process of weaving and the small central ring becomes the loom for my piece, and the beginning point. The ring forms have developed as I weave. My aim was to create that link between the internal and external form. I like the way the weaving is translucent and you can see the internal form if you look closely. I have been inspired by forms of the Aboriginal eel fishing traps.

Is there any specific collections, museums that you have found inspiring and why?
I love visiting galleries when I’m travelling. I love the history of the pieces. Who made pieces and when, and what happened to them. Who wore or owned pieces. I love the emotion and life a piece has.

Welcome us to your studio - where is it, do you share the space, if so what are the benefit of a shared space?
Our arcade - Gay’s Arcade, Adelaide SA

Our studio and gallery
Zu Design - Jewellery + Objects

Our Gallery

I work from my studio and gallery in Gay’s Arcade, Zu design - jewellery and objects. Gay’s Arcade is a part of Adelaide Arcade and is such a beautiful place to work in. Our Gallery show cases over 80 artists from across Australia. Roman and I run Zu design and we have access tenants who share our space. It’s great sharing a space with other jewellers. We share equipment and help with making solutions. I find it inspiring.

Our Workshop

The work for the exhibition: Can you describe the specific themes reflected in this body of work?
Woven ring series for MOMENTUM - My work for this exhibition is about the momentum and rhythm in the process of the weaving and construction of each of my pieces.

Describe your method of production in this current work?
I begin with a small central form and then add many pieces of silver wire which become the warp for my weaving. I use a very fine piece of silver or gold wire (0.3mmin diameter) as the weft and I weave my ring form. In these pieces I have varied the colour using different metals including sterling silver, 18ct white, 18ct pink gold, 22ct gold and beryllium treated sapphires.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

AirCraft gets set to take off!

JamFactory Metal Design Studio Creative Director Christian Hall prepares for his upcoming exhibition AirCraft: lights + mobiles + ornaments to be showcased in Studio Works Retail Gallery from
9 Sept - 31 Oct 2010

Hall presents this series based on the iconic, stylised emblem
of the aeroplane, with a knowing and boyish will, looking to
celebrate the symbol of mechanical flight and produce
objects that carry within them the daring of dreams. 

Whether 'caught in mid zoom' or in motion, the image of the aeroplane, present in Hall's work since 2003,  encapsulates a spirit of optimism that looks back on modernity as an object of nostalgia.

The design, a flat silhouette that is pressed and folded to 'pop up' into existence,  denotes one of the key sculptural concerns in Hall's practice, the spatial ambiguity of form emerging from flatness.

AirCraft highlights the allure of making and manufacture and questions the distinction between the utilitarian and the decorative, and pure and applied arts.These toy-like objects slip between product, artwork, design and craft, with multiple applications from large scale installation in commercial contexts to simple objects in the domestic environment.

AirCraft: Lights + Mobiles + Ornaments
is showcased in JamFactory's Studio Works Retail Gallery from 29 Sept - 31 Oct 2010


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Exhibition Opening Night : Making Waves, Metonymy: look both ways, Precious

Gerry Wedd Opened Friday Night's Exhibition to great applause, read his insightful speech below!

At exhibition of functional craft at JamFactory!
A concept- free zone! This is a real craft show full of craft of the ocean-going variety, but it’s also crafty. These are shiny objects of Cargo cult proportions. Perhaps Peter is using a different kind of craft in a bid to bring waves up the gulf and into Morphett street.

To help Peter along here is a Hawaiian chant to bring on the swell

Kumai !Kumai ! Ka nalu nui
mai Kahiki mai,
Alo po’i pu! Ku mai ka pohuehue,
Hu !Kai ko’o loa

 I come to this show as a surfer, of course I’m  impressed by the craft .They are lovingly and meticulously made, but all I’m really interested in  is how they perform. Where would I ride them,what do they feel like??

Surfboards are the example non pareil (parelle) of  archct Louis Sullivans dictum - Form follows function. Each curve, each edge, the width, the thickness, the weight, every aspect is considered with a view to it’s relationship with, and performance on an ever-morphing wall of water. There is no frippery in these forms. After spending countless hours of construction Peter has bravely handed over these beautiful abstract forms for others to leave their mark on : that is to ornament them.

What we have here is clash of sensibilities.

As that great taste-maker Adolf Loos pointed out in his essay ornament and crime "The evolution of culture marches with the elimination of ornament from useful objects" Loos introduced a sense of the "immorality" of ornament, said it was "degenerate", and that its suppression was necessary for regulating modern society. He took as one of his examples the tatooing of the "Papuan" and the intense surface decorations of the objects about him; Loos considers the Papuan not to have evolved to the moral and civilized circumstances of modern man, who, should he tatoo himself, would either be considered a criminal or a degenerate.

Of course surfboard making pre-dates Loos who was in his own way a design Calvinist,
Now…Australia has an interesting link with one of the earliest descriptions of surfing and surfcraft, Ship’s log, 1780, Captain King in the service of Captain Cook.

Whenever, from stormy weather, or any extraordinary swell at sea, the impetuosity of the surf is increased to its utmost heights, they choose that time for this amusement: twenty or thirty of the natives, taking each a long narrow board, rounded at the ends, set out together from the shore. As the surf consists of a number of waves, of which every third is remarked to be always much larger than the others, and to flow higher on the shore, the rest breaking in the intermediate space, their first object is to place themselves on the summit of the largest surge, by which they are driven along with amazing rapidity toward the shore. Captain King-Cooks voyages.

When Cook arrived in Hawai'i, surfing was the main deal. Beaches had been named after legendary surfing incidents. There were the kahuna (a kind of surf priest ) who intoned chants to christen new surfboards, to bring the surf up and to give courage. Hawaiians had no written language until the haole (white-skinned people) arrived, their history was oral, remembered and retold in songs and chants.

Hawai'i was ruled by a code of kapu (taboos). Kapu regulated almost everything from where to eat; how to grow food; how to predict weather; how to build a canoe; how to build a surfboard; how to predict when the surf would be good, or convince the Gods to make it good .A hierarchical system denoted who could ride which board. Commoners rode small paipo boards on their knees and stand up alaia boards as long as 12 feet.  Royalty rode waves on olo boards that were as long as 24 feet.The boards were hacked out of local timbersand laboriously shaped and finished with abrasive stones. Although the Hawaiians patterned their bodies and textiles, their boards seem to be largely un adorned.

After contact with stern Calvinist missionaries  Hawai'i was changed forever from the Eden which Cook had encountered. The missionaries drove surfing out along with any other lascivious activities. As the kapu system crumbled under Christianity, so did surfing's ritual significance within Hawaiian culture.

The Hawaiians weren’t the first surfers we know of but they were the ones that developed it into a cult. In the 1900’s surfing and surfboards began to spread afield and developments in design came thick and fast. The boards surrounding us in the gallery embrace those developments: from Tom Blake vegetarian,naturist,1920’s tore the rudder from a speedboat
and attached it to the bottom of a surfboard .
to Bob Simmons-1940’s who  studied hydrodynamics in an
effort to go faster than anyone else

In the 1960’s surfers were quick to embrace the counter culture and all it promised. For a brief time in the summer of love surfers embraced the idea of surfing as an artform and a life philosophy.
Counter cultural Guru and Acid head Timothy Leary saw surfing as a way of reaching an all-knowing Zen like state. And I quote…
“I want to have film of a surfer, moving along constantly right at the edge of the tube. That position is the metaphor of life to me. , the highly conscious life. That you think of the tube as being the past, and I’m an evolutionary agent, and what I try to do is be at that point where you’re going in to the future but you have to keep in touch with the past…that’s where you get the power… and sure you’re more helpless, but you also have the most control at that moment. And using the past … the past is pushing you forward isn’t it?”

Leary’s quote is apt with regard to Peters boards if not his whole practise.
These surfboards, like much craft are on the cusp, being propelled forwards into the future by the past. Now go and do some mind surfing of your own.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Interview with Associate Samantha Bosward

JamFactory talks to first year Furniture Design Associate Samantha Bosward about her JamFactory experience and the studios latest exhibition 'Product'!

Tell us about yourself, how did you become a furniture designer/maker?
Having always been interested in art and design I went on to study Interior Architecture at University for a short period of time. Needing to fulfil my want to make and be hands on I moved to Tafe to study furniture design and wood machining.
 Where do you go, look, research for inspiration?
I look at natural objects for inspiration. I photograph and collect seed pods, tree bark, leaves etc to study their forms and textures.


 What are your main objectives while undertaking the Associate Program at JamFactory?
To experiment! Use this opportunity to try out making techniques and use different natural materials.  
Can you tell us about the theme of the exhibition?
The exhibition's theme is "Product". It was an exercise to explore a concept - to develop processes and ideas for making items in a commercial environment. 

Could you describe your work from the show – the ideas behind the work you produced and your process of making?
I have used the process of gapped segmented turning to make my "Woven turnings". Essentially the idea was to replicate the delicate form and structure of woven bowls and baskets but in a more solid material.
Which crafts people, writers, musicians are inspiring?
I am quite the William Morris fan- the repetition and subject matter of his prints. 
Are there any specific Quotes; Ideas; Places; that have influenced this current body of work?
Patterns in natural objects and the movement and changing of their forms over time. 

Product  will be showcased in JamFactory's Studio Works Retail Gallery until 25 September

Monday, September 6, 2010

Making Waves – interview with Peter Walker

Tell us about yourself, how did you become a furniture maker?
I was born in Sydney and some of my early schooling was in South India. After high school I worked for four years in a variety of jobs including cleaning, oyster farming, sound recording and antique restoration. Around 1981, I was working in a boat-yard in Sydney for Ian Smith, potter, sculptor and boat-builder who introduced me to the world of craft and designand inspired me to study furniture design. The Tasmanian School of Art offered the most exciting education for me at that time so I moved there and ended up staying for 14 years, establishing my own studio and design practice along with having four kids, a goat, a few sheep, chooks and building houses in a small rural community south of Hobart. During this time I spent five years as a Design Consultant in the furniture manufacturing industry for Chiswell before moving to Adelaide to Head the Furniture Studio at the JamFactory from 1997 to 2000.

A quick 4 about inspiration?
Which furniture designers, craftspeople, writers, artists, musician, anyone do you find particularly inspiring?
Sculptor Martin Puryear, anthropologist Wade Davis, musicians Rodrigo y Gabriella, surf craft innovator Tom Blake, filmmaker Werner Herzog, authors Tim Winton and Haruki Murukami

Have any of these people had a specific influence your way you approach to making? If so, how?
Yes, all of them in a way, along with many others as I draw my influences from every aspect of life I encounter and these people are pertinent in my thinking at the moment.
Martin Puryear, for his subtlety of form and the relationship he has developed between materials and craftsmanship
Wade Davis for his global perspective, cultural respect and ability to connect ideas of ancient wisdom with today’s technological culture.Tom Blake as someone who created a “lifestyle” from observation and creative thinking and his ingenious innovations of the hollow surfboard and fin, life buoys, underwater camera, and the windsurfer.Rodrigo y Gabriella for their virtuosity and innate connection in collaborating with each other and Herzog’s obsessive dedication to his projects and attraction to extreme characters and the “obscure”.
Is there any specific quotes, ideas that influence this current body of work?
The momentum for this body of work started with some time in Dale Velzy’s studio in California in 2003 a couple of years before he died, around the same time that Grubby Clarke’s world wide foam blank monopoly came to an end.I was in San Diego again at the time of Velzy’s memorial and paddle-out with about 2000 surfers from around the world, which inspired me to get going seriously on the wooden boards. There are a number of ideas in this body of work from ecological considerations like material choices, production methods and quality through to lifestyle and the combination of art,craft and design coming together through a direct “hands on” process.To my way of thinking, there is valuable knowledge embedded in hand made objects to do with time, observation and the senses that cannot be communicated in any other way.

Is there any specific collections, museums that you have found inspiring and why?
The Herreshoff Museum in Bristol, Rhode Island USA, exhibits the evolution of hydro dynamics in boat hulls for the Americas Cup over more than 100 years through hundreds of wooden studies of scale model half hulls. I’m very interested in this aspect of surfboard design and the effects on drag, suction, uplift, flow and planning hulls.

Are there specific themes reflected in this body of work?
The things of interest to me that are part of this body of work are surfing history and the evolution of surfboard design, hydrodynamics, ecological considerations, hand skills, the combination of art, craft, design, and the process of collaborating with other artists which always introduces the un-expected and creates something that isn’t possible when working alone.

Describe your method of production in this current work?
Apart from one piece that uses a component of laser cut technology, every board is entirely handmade .I work from full-scale templates and build skeletal framesthat establish the transitional compound curves before laminating rails and skinning the decks and bottoms. Some of the surface treatment is incorporated during the making process and some applied after the board is shaped. The boards are fiber glassed by Mark Taylor at Mid Coast Surf.

In this series of works you have collaborated with a number of artist to add designs to the surfboards can you tell us who you have chosen and why they are suited to this project?
Gerry Wedd and Phil Hayes are both artists and surfers with a history of involvement in Australian surf culture from Mambo to the mainstream global giant of Quiksilver. Gerry is a ceramicist and image-maker and Phil is a painter and print-maker. Stephen Bowers‘ analytical illustrations combine the historical disciplines of Chinese Willow pattern with contemporary social commentary, while Quentin Gore, an industrial designer, brings artisan sensibilities to industrial technologies.

In this body of work you also have introduced the fire as a method to provide a new affect on the surface of the board,can you describe the process and why the use of fire was pertinent for these works?
The connection of fire with water as two of the fundamental natural elements pose a dynamic contradiction of forces that are an essential ingredient of the South Australian environment. The process of burning the boards is similar to surfing in that it is an immediate action taking place, and while it can be controlled quite tightly, I choose to work with it in such a way that it is somewhat unpredictable and I need to respond and adjust to the process as it happens. I love the excitement of taking a carefully designed and crafted finished object into a process that has the potential to go either way – either an inspired series of marks and energy transferred on to the surface, or maybe a blackened pile of charcoal.
In recent years you have spent part of your year in Australia and part in the USA teaching at the RISD has this travel/living between places affected the work you produce.
Yes, I have been doing this for 10 years now and am constantly questioning and evolving my ideas of creative practice while being challenged to expand my thinking as it is influenced by differing cultural perspectives. Running the Graduate Research Program at RISD’s Department of Furniture Design keeps me right in the thick of current thought enquiry in the design field, being involved in projects from North America to Europe and Japan. These are as varied as a sustainable lumber company in Maine, providing an entire community with a supporting industry of forestry, milling and production to developing future concepts and design strategies for technology giant Toshiba in Tokyo. These experiences are balanced with the physical development of work here in Adelaide where I concentrate on my own particular areas of interest which for the last six years has been wooden surfboards.

Peter Walker’s surfboards will be on display at JamFactory from 10 September – 17 October in Gallery 1