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Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre

Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre is supported by the ACT

Government, the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy – an initiative

of the Australian State and Territory Governments, and the

Australia Council for the Arts – the Australian Government’s arts

funding and advisory body.

Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre acknowledges the

Ngunnawal people as the traditional custodians of the

ACT and surrounding areas. We honour and respect

their ongoing cultural and spiritual connections to this

country and the contribution they make to the life of

this city and this region. We aim to respect cultural heritage,

Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre

Tues–Fri 10am–5pm

Saturdays 12–4pm

Level 1, North Building, 180 London Circuit,

Canberra ACT Australia

+61 2 6262 9333


Cover image: Photo By Lou Cresp


Erin Daniell | Mirjana Dobson | Bailey Donovan | Polly Dymond |

Daria Fox | Sam Gold | Alex Hirst | David Liu | Francesca Sykes |

Eloise White | Duncan Young

Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre

19 May - 2 July 2022


Erin Daniell | Mirjana Dobson | Bailey Donovan | Polly

Dymond | Daria Fox | Sam Gold | Alex Hirst | David Liu |

Francesca Sykes | Eloise White | Duncan Young

Collide + Divide is a discipline-bending

object based exhibition that will feature

eleven emerging JamFactory associates who

work in various mediums. Each artist has been

put into a group where they will

collaborate on creating a body of work that celebrates

interdisciplinary skill sharing, merging

both contemporary art and


JamFactory is at the center of craft and

design in South Australia and this

exhibition seeks to explore the

opportunities of a cross-discipline

collaboration between the four JamFactory studios

of glass, ceramics, jewelry and


The task of each associate is to gain access to

new insights and materialities as they undertake

this cross disciplinary focus. Collide + Divide is

an opportunity to

embrace the unique location of the

JamFactory, one of the few arts centers in the

world to house four separate studios for craft

excellence under one roof.

Image: Eloise White + Daria Fox + Alexandra Hirst. Photo By Lou Cresp



The Power of Hybrid Practice

Essay by Penny Craswell

Specialisation is a tightrope in many fields – stay

too general and you won’t master any skill, but

specialise too much and you might get stuck in

a rut. A new exhibition at Craft ACT by eleven

emerging JamFactory associates groups artists

across disciplines to spark creativity and create

unexpected results through hybrid practice. The

resulting exhibition, called Collide + Divide, shows

the work of five groups of two or three makers

from across JamFactory’s four studios – ceramics,

glass, furniture, and jewellery and metal.

The exhibition also has a conceptual framework,

asking each group to respond to the theme ‘bodies

holding bodies’. Examples of how this might

inspire the work include questions like: how the

maker’s hands and body act as a tool to create

objects, or how these objects can be held by a

body (for example, the hand) or can hold a body

(for example, as a piece of furniture holds a body).

The results are remarkable in their creativity and


Group One’s Sam Gold and Francesca Sykes

have combined a sculptural approach to

ceramics (Sam) with a furniture-maker’s skill

(Francesca) in a series of three works that

embraces the natural beauty of wood, blacked

using the Japanese shou sugi ban technique,

combined with a white clay half-sphere shape

whose pitted surface reveals light from within.

The work responds to the theme ‘bodies

holding bodies’ by exploring how hands can

shape clay, and also how timber can shape

the body: “Just as the hard wooden surface of

a chair stamps an outline into exposed skin,

so too can skin make impressions in the soft

surface of clay,” says the artists’ statement.

Another aspect of the work that ties together

the two contrasting disciplines is the use of fire

– on one hand to blacken the wood and on the

other to fire the clay.

Group Two’s David Liu and Mirjana Dobson

have combined their respective skills to create

the Orbicella Hall Table. Like Sam and Francesca,

this group has combined timber and

ceramics, with David’s furniture skills meeting

Mirjana’s ceramics expertise. Both David and

Mirjana have practices inspired by nature, with

David’s work communicating a sense of calm

found in the natural world, and Mirjana’s work

inspired by the complex ecology of

underwater reefs. Their combined piece is a

hall table whose minimal timber frame is inlaid

with stoneware pitted with repetitive marks

inspired by the Orbicella, a stony coral made

of rounded domes.

Polly Dymond and Duncan Young from Group

Three have also created a furniture piece –

this time combining Polly’s skills in jewellery

and metal with Duncan’s furniture experience.

The resulting works are the Collide stool and

Divide bench, both of which feature copper-frames

and woven seats. Here, Polly’s

expertise in metal can be seen in the luxe

brushed copper frame, which has an aged

green patina created by oxidisation through

the application of sea water from Willunga

beach, south of Adelaide. Meanwhile,

Duncan’s passion for designing with recycled

materials has resulted in a woven seat made

with reused hospital oxygen tubing. The

combination here is not as simple as adding a

metal piece to a furniture piece – the

makers have built on their expertise and

created something totally new.

Group Four is the only group with three

makers – they are ceramicist Eloise White,

jeweller Daria Fox and glass artist Alexandra

Hirst – and the resulting work is a marriage

of three distinct materials. Soma is a pendant

light with three elements, all in black, that

perfectly balance each other. At the top is

Daria’s contribution, a jeweller who has used

an enamelling technique to create a cupped

disc with subtle surface decorations. Next is

Eloise’s ceramic piece, an egg-shaped smooth

object that is reminiscent of a river stone, and

lastly is a glass shade by Alexandra in rippling

black glass. All together they create a subtle

sense of rhythm as geometric shapes that

evolve along the pendant’s cord.

And Group Five is Erin Daniell and Bailey

Donovan, with expertise in jewellery and glass

respectively. Their combined series of works is

called Common Thread and consists of a

pairing of bronze rings and blown glass

vessels in sea green. Here the theme ‘bodies

holding bodies’ can be seen in the way the ring

sits on the finger and in the touch of the hand

on the vessels. In the artists’ statement, Erin

and Bailey describe the works as nostalgic

keepsakes: “Each colour and pattern

combination is chosen to elevate and embrace

the domestic.” The pieces are paired together

so that the rings become a lid for the vessels,

or they can be used separately as jewellery

pieces. Both artists also stress that the

techniques used – lost wax casting and glass

blowing – are traditional, “evoking a reverence

for the past”, but used to create completely

contemporary designs.

None of us is an island and staying within our

specialist silos can only lead to

stagnation. That’s why projects like this, that

actively encourage individuals to come

together and cross-pollinate ideas, materials

and techniques, are so valuable. When Andy

Warhol teamed up with Jean-Michel Basquiat

in the 1980s, the two artists created 150 joint

works over a two-year period. Basquiat

recalled that Warhol “would put something

very concrete or recognisable, like a newspaper

headline or a product logo and then I

would sort of deface it” (Quoted on Artsy). The

results are legendary, pushing the creativity

of both artists, and the collaboration has now

been dramatised in a new play and an

upcoming film. Similarly, Collide + Divide is an

exhibition that proves the power of opening up

your creative vulnerability to another person.

As for working across craft disciplines, it also

proves that the risk of a hybrid practice can

bear incredible fruits.

David Liu + Mirjana Dobson

Within their artistic practices, both David Liu

and Mirjana Dobson employ forms, textures

and compositions found in Nature as design

elements for their work.

Drawing on a preoccupation with the complex

ecology of our wondrous reefs, Dobson’s detailed

hand-made ceramic tiles fuse an abstract

reference to the recurring rippled surfaces

found on underwater corals. In contrast, the

unpretentious contours of Liu’s work imbues a

sense of calm and order that exists in Nature,

which echoes his belief that the made objects

contain a soul.

Their collaborative timber and ceramic object,

the Orbicella Hall Table juxtaposes Liu’s minimalist

design style with Dobson’s decorative

repetitive mark-making. The inlay of stoneware

within the simple angular contours of the timber

frame binds the natural elements of clay

and wood, highlighting the fundamental relationship

that co-exists between earth and tree

in the natural world.

Bailey Donovan + Erin Daniell

Daniell and Donovan combine their respective

crafts to create a pairing of small sculptural

rings and functional vases. The fragility and

coldness of glass and bronze are softened by

the organic forms and woven details that make

up these nostalgic keepsakes. The paired

forms intentionally fit together to reflect the

unique beauty in its companion. Each colour

and pattern combination is chosen to elevate

and embrace the domestic. The traditional

working of glass blowing and lost wax casting,

re-worked in a contemporary setting, evokes

a reverence for the past and creates personal

meaning regarding physical and spiritual heritage.

Alex Hirst + Daria Fox + Eloise White

Soma is a collaborative manifestation of Fox,

Hirst and White in their respective crafts; metal,

glass and ceramics. Fox is a contemporary

jeweller, incorporating enamel into wearable

and sculptural pieces. Hirst is a glass artist

that spans glass blowing, casting and installations

that encompass utilitarian and sculpture

artworks. White is a ceramicist who focuses on

hand-built sculptural and functional biomorphic


The three artists have created a dynamic

collection of pendant lighting, uniting their

individual practices in a design that is suspended

between the timeless and the contemporary.

Soma draws parallels between the fluid

forms of each artist’s individual practice and

celebrates the natural beauty of the contrasting

surfaces of the combined materials and

their contrasting. Using the repetition of three

throughout the work, Soma is held together

in a symbiotic balance of shape and form, the

bold tones of black creating a striking silhouette.

Each form of the pendant is purposely

individualised to create a moody and delicate


Polly Dymond + Duncan Young

Combining traditional woodworking and metal

smithing techniques with contemporary applications

Dymond and Young have created

a pair of prototype copper framed stools with

woven seats. A shared focus on materiality

has combined to elevate the classic functional

form, reminiscent of mid century school chairs,

into elegant contemporary furniture by use of

luxe brushed copper and aged green patina,

created with locally sourced sea water from

Willunga beach, south of Adelaide. The contrast

in weaving materials show the intersection,

and departure of the individual maker’s

practices; seagrass reflecting Young’s classic,

natural aesthetic while reused hospital oxygen

tubing speak to Dymond’s preoccupation with

single use waste plastics.

Sam Gold + Fran Sykes

A collaborative new body of work with Fran

Sykes and Sam Gold explores the dichotomous

qualities of clay and wood by seeking

to create a unifying element in the production

processes of furniture making by Sykes and

ceramics by Gold.

In response to the exhibition theme “Bodies

holding bodies”, artists Gold and Sykes looked

at the marks imparted by pressure and movement

of one surface against another. Just as

the hard wooden surface of a chair stamps

an outline into exposed skin, so too can skin

make impressions in the soft surface of clay.

Utilising the softness of clay and the solidity

of wood as two contrasting materials requires

opposing forces to create the same aesthetic:

Build clay out into a shape, cut wood away to

achieve the same effect.

The Japanese shou sugi ban technique is

used to burn, wash and erode wood, mimicking

the passing of time to polish finger markings

deep into wood and allow this material to

impart prints - timber leaving a mark in stone.

The use of fire as a finishing tool for both clay

and wood surfaces - gas kiln “fired” ceramic

and flame “fired” wood - binds the two distinct

practices of furniture making and ceramics

together with a common thread.

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