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Living Treasures: Masters of Australian Craft

Beth Hatton: Master of Australian Craft 2008-2010

30 November 2008


Curriculum vitae

After graduating from University in Canada I travelled and worked in Europe for eight years. Visits to Romania, exploring family origins, awakened interest in the textiles which I saw being made in the mountain villages, and I began to study weaving in London (UK). After migrating to Australia I worked at the Crafts Council of Australia (five years full time, 16 years part time), which gave me an overview of the very best Australian craft being made during this period.

My practice began in 1976 with the weaving of colour studies from recycled fabrics. Completion of a Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Art Studies at the College of Fine Arts in Sydney was important to the development of my work, as were various informal workshops. Also influential was my participation in two collaborative projects - Discerning Textiles (1993) and Below the Surface (1996) - organised by Goulburn Regional Gallery.

Since 1992 I have focussed on environmental issues, particularly the balancing of ongoing requirements for commodities such as fibre with our need to maintain healthy diverse ecosystems. My rugs in kangaroo skin offcuts and wool take inspiration from the famous tiger rugs of Tibet as well as early Australian floorcoverings, especially those made from rag fabrics or animal skins. Since 2003 I have also explored an Aboriginal stitching technique taught by Nalda Searles, which I use to shape native and introduced grasses into replicas of early settlers' tools. The tool shapes are presented as if unravelling, in a return to their natural state, to suggest our own vulnerability to environmental forces.

I have exhibited across Australia and overseas (Japan, Germany, America), received numerous awards including two grants from the Australia Council (1996, 2000), and am represented in major public collections including the National Gallery of Australia.


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