ca enews

A monthly newsletter from Craft Australia - Australia's craft & design network

Issue #67 - August 2011     view on the web | subscribe to newsletter | contact us |

1 Editorial

Indigenous craft - sustaining visual story telling

August is a month for the celebration and recognition of Australian Indigenous craft, arts and culture. Across Australia this month, from Cairns through Darwin to Perth, as well as at the British Museum in London, are award-winning exhibitions showcasing the vigour and freshness of Indigenous stories and craft.

Torres Strait Island culture is on show in Brisbane and in Cairns, reflected in sculptural works of headdresses, masks, fibre nets, metal cast dugong refined from wood carvings and digital printed textiles, ceramics and jewellery from mixed media including metal, shell and seed pods.

A key movement is the use of 'ghost nets', materials discarded and lost at sea. Indignenous craft has also positioned itself within contemporary art as a means to address the shared history of colonialism in Australia.

Enjoy the stories and issues raised within the interviews, reviews and tale of adventure as Indigenous artists and crafts people discuss their cultural practice across craft media, advocate for first class technical skills and present their conceptual investigations on sustainability.

2 Feature articles



sam juparulla wickman, glass in relation to my mothers country, interview
Since 2004 Sam Juparulla Wickman has led the Indigenous production of warm, slumped glass, opening up a whole new medium for Aboriginal artists to pursue. His craft was influenced by art as much as by working with Malcom Jagamarra, a Warlpiri man, part of the...
read more

Danie Mellor The Collector Blue Roo II, 2007, detail.


danie mellor, layering histories and replicating craft in indigenous contemporary art, interview
Danie Mellor discusses his contemporary art practice across different media including: ceramics, print-making, sculpture, mixed-media and object-based installations - as part of his conceptual investigation of colonial settlement in Australia. Mellor reflects...
read more



erub craft - sustaining land, sea and sky, interview
Erub artists - Maryann Bourne, Franklin Mye, Ellarose Savage and Florence Gutchen - give an insight into sustaining their Torres Strait Island culture as well as their experience in creating craft in new media. This includes the 'Ghost Nets' project, weaving a...
read more

Bull kelp water carrier Tasmania 1800s  Courtesy The Trustees of the British Museum.


colin martin, baskets & belonging - entwined lives
The exciting eye-opener in the British Museum's Australian season is a novel exhibition of historic and contemporary indigenous Australian baskets. The purity of form and function of indigenous Aboriginal baskets resonate with a spirituality that is beyond mer...
read more


top 10 library articles this month


3 Tale of Adventure - Lucy Simpson, Visual Storytelling and Gaawaa Miyay textile prints

Lucy Simpson Fabric bangles 2011

Lucy Simpson introduced her Gaawaa Miyay range of prints, through cloth, at the Matilda Australian design showcase at the London Design Festival in 2010, and at Design Made Trade fair at the Melbourne Design Festival 2011. Simpson discusses how connecting to a story, speaking to family and community members and reinterpreting what has been passed on to her is always the first step for her when considering a new design.




4 News from the sector

Discovery Indigenous scheme for Indigenous Researchers
The Australian Government is providing up to $800,000 a year over four years, through the Australian Research Council, to establish and support the new network, which will build the capacity and leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers. Indigenous Australian researchers and research students can join a new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers' Network, which will help them seize more research opportunities and advance their research in a supportive environment. Grants from the ARC are made to organisations, not individual researchers or research teams. Call for proposals will occur in coming months, for funding commencing 2012, to be advised by the Australian Research Council.

Lake Macquarie Possum skin cloak project wins NSW Local Government Cultural award
The making of a ceremonial possum skin cloak to revive Aboriginal cultural Practices was one of seventeen projects in NSW recognised at the 2011 Local Government Cultural Awards ceremony at Parliament House, Sydney. The possum skin cloak community project entered by Lake Macquarie City Council went on tour and exhibition at the Australian Museum until 31 July 2011 and will tour to national museums. Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery and its Aboriginal Reference Group are proud to be amongst the winners with this significant project.

New peak body for Aboriginal art centres in WA
The Aboriginal Art Centre Hub WA works with Aboriginal art centres across Western Australia as the only Indigenous visual arts peak body based in Western Australia. AACHWA provides professional support and development for art centre managers and artists. They advocate for the sustainability and viability of the centres and aim to sustain communities, artists and their stories. Current member art centres are located in the Pilbara, Mid West and Great Southern regions of WA. They include Martumili Artists, Mungart Boodja Art Centre, Roebourne Art Group, Tjukurba Gallery/Birriliburu Artists, Wirnda Barna Artists and Yamaji Art.

2011 Ranamok Glass Prize has been awarded to Masahiro Asaka
The 2011 Ranamok Glass Prize has been awarded to Masahiro Asaka for his entry Surge 12. The Award was announced at the exhibition's opening at the Canberra Glassworks, on the 17th August where the exhibition will remain on display until 22 September. The Ranamok Glass Prize is now in its seventeenth year. It encourages creativity, skill and innovation in contemporary glass from Australia and New Zealand and has become a pivotal event in the Australian visual arts and craft calendar.

5 Calendar

New Baskets, Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Photo courtesy JamFactoryBicornial basket of woven cane, from Queensland, early 1900s

New Baskets

17 August - 18 September 2011
Jamfactory, Adelaide
New Baskets is an exhibition of new fibre works by the Tjanpi Desert Weavers. Tjanpi Desert Weavers is a social enterprise of Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women's council enabling women on the lands to sell and showcase their fibre art.
more exhibitions

Baskets and Belonging

26 May - 11 September 2011
The British Museum, London
Baskets and Belonging exhibits objects from across the whole continent, and the earliest date from the beginning of European contact with Australia. Famous for their simplicity and economy, the painted containers are an important part of the history of the development of Indigenous Australian art.
more exhibitions

Ken-Thaiday-Snr-Beizam-Black-bamboo-triple-hammerhead-shark-headdress19992000Archie Moore, On a mission from God Paper sculpture

Land, Sea and Sky

1 July - 9 October 2011
Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art , Brisbane
Land, Sea and Sky embraces the cultural and practical significance of land, sea and sky to Torres Strait Islander people and its influence on their art. The exhibition celebrates the unique and diverse contemporary art from the Islands, and includes dance objects, prints, film, video, textiles, ceramics and installations
more exhibitions

Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award

11 August - 30 October 2011
Northern Territory Gallery and Museum, Darwin
The Award recognises the important contribution made by Indigenous artists and promotes appreciation and understanding of the quality and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art from regional and urban based Indigenous artists throughout Australia, working in traditional and contemporary media. The 2011 Telstra Art Award can be viewed through the online gallery.
more exhibitions

6 Research Centre

'Share your stories' survey

Craft Australia is again conducting the 'share your stories' survey to gather data about Australian crafts people and designers operating small businesses or creative micro industries. Craft Australia will collate these findings to advocate for small businesses in the creative industries sector.

Journal - Craft + Design Enquiry

This month sees the launch of Volume 3, Sustainability in Craft and Design, edited by Kevin Murray. This volume focuses on craft and design as critical in reforming relations to the environment.. There is a current call for papers for Volume 5, closing on 30 June 2012, to be published in mid-2013.

Metal-petal-at-Design-Made-Trade 2011

Simone Le Amon Lepidoptera chair 2008


7 National Forums and Projects

Right Way: the future of Indigenous craft, Forum

The online forum is based around key issues faced by the Indigenous craft and design sector . You are invited to have a look at what is being talked about, and view the images, videos and skype conversations. visit

Choosing Craft - Vicki Halper Speaking Tour

American curator, writer and historian, Vicki Halper visited Australia in April 2011 as an expert in contemporary craft and visual arts practice. Read her lecture 'Makers and Designers: Collisions and Intersections and her essay on Australian craft impressions.


Post-Fossil objects design or craft


8 Opportunities

Indigenous Arts Leadership program
The Indigenous Arts Leadership program provides an opportunity for up to 10 Indigenous Australians to travel to the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra and learn about the visual arts and museum sector over 10 days.
Closing date: Friday, 9 September 2011   more opportunities

Indigenous Ceramic Art Award 2011
The awards encourage and stimulate excellence in this sphere, providing cultural exchange opportunities for Indigenous artists from around Australia and regional Victoria. This biennale award exhibition surveys current Indigenous ceramic art practise, demonstrates current developments in the field including contemporary and traditional works.
Closing date: Friday, 26 August 2011   more opportunities

Clarence Valley Indigenous Art Award (CVIAA)
Entries are now open for The Clarence Valley Indigenous Art Award (CVIAA) This biennial award is open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists who reside in the traditional areas of the Yaegl, Bundjalung and Gumbaingirr nations. The prize pool of $6000 comprises the Open Acquisitive Prize of $5000 and the Highly Commended Prize of $1000. A further $600 in art materials is on offer to Baryulgil Public School for work in their Studio Gallery exhibition. The artwork winning the Open Acquisitive Prize is acquired into the Grafton Regional Gallery Collection.
Closing date: Friday, 7 October 2011   more opportunities

Kate Derum Award for Small Tapestries
The Australian Tapestry Workshop, Kate Derum Award has been established to honour Kate's memory and her contribution to tapestry. The award is open to all professional Australian and international tapestry artists with and award for emerging tapestry artists.
Closing date: Friday, 2 September 2011   more opportunities

Alcorso Foundation Italian Arts Residency
The Alcorso Foundation Italian Arts Residency is open to Tasmanian based practitioners working across all art forms including visual arts, music, performance, design, literature and architecture. It provides an opportunity for a self directed residency in Italy for up to three months. The residency is made available through a partnership with Arts Tasmania.
Closing date: Monday, 12 September 2011   more opportunities

SymbioticA Residency
Our physical location within the School of Anatomy and Human Biology exposes artists and researchers to the culture and practice of science providing a hothouse for developing new skills and knowledge for its residents. Residents practice lab work and are given training in scientific and technical knowledge related to the area of research the resident wishes to pursue.
Closing date: Wednesday, 21 September 2011   more opportunities


9 Connect News: Craft Australia has a new blogging site


  • Craft Australia blogspot.- to follow regular updates on Craft Australia's projects
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  • Flickr site - view images of Australian craft and design online including the National Historical Collection of over 25000 slides which are part of the Craft Australia Image Bank
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10 Support us

Australian basket Image No-1047020.jpg

The Craft Australia Image Bank aims to represent an historic slide collection of over 25,000 colour slides. Craft Australia is preserving these slides by digitising them and making them accessible online.

Craft Australia is a not-for-profit organisation and has been an advocate for the craft and design sector for 40 years. Your donation will assist us in continuing to promote and support the sector. Tax deductible donations can be made on-line.

Eleanor Piggott, Planter 1982, Exhibition: Some Australian Baskets 1982, Image No-1047020
Craft Australia Image Bank Historical Collection


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.

ISSN: 1838-0433

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