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 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Jam Packed interview with jeweller Linda Hughes

Tell us about yourself, how did you become a jeweller?
I've always 'made' things. I started out as a sculptor and just scaled down to jewellery objects.

Which jewellers, craftspeople, writers, artists, musician, anyone do you find particularly inspiring?
I admire Australian artists such as, Brett Whiteley, Rosalie Gascoigne, Jeffrey Smart and Clarice Beckett. I like street art; graffiti

Jewellers in particular are, Manfred Bischoff, Ramon Puig Cuyas, Katja Prins, Helen Britton and Rian de Jong

Have any of these people had a specific influenced the way you approach making? If so, how?
Jeffrey Smart's palette appeals to me obviously, his sense of composition.

Is there any specific quotes, ideas, places that influence this current body of work?
I've been obsessed with the streetscape for years and continue to be.

Is there any specific collections, museums that you have found inspiring and why?
I could sit for hours in front of Jackson Pollock's 'Blue Poles' at the NGA, it's a journey of discovery.  For jewellery, Gallery Marzee and the V & A.

Welcome us to your studio - where is it, do you share the space, if so what are the benefit of a shared space?
My studio is at home, isolated. Bright, warm with real coffee. However, I have contact with my peers at uni and in their studios when a friendly exchange is needed.

The work for the exhibition: Can you describe the specific themes reflected in this body of work?
Street signs and more street signs, subtle changes in pieces and hidden messages.

Describe your method of production in this current work?

Escherlike think parquetry and glue!