Monday, October 31, 2011

Sebastian Clarke: Musing on a sustainable practice





Sebastian Lights

I'm an independent industrial designer focusing on lighting. I drew inspiration for 'Stadium' table/wall light from industrial waste, It was when I stumbled across discarded light globes once used in football stadiums that I realised their potential. These large beautiful glass bulbs were destined for landfill and I have since sourced a consistent supply of discarded bulbs and up-cylce them into decorative wall and table lights.

























I find people connect with the product due to the interesting glass shape, once they find out it is re-used it gives the product more depth and meaning, small imperfections become a mark of character and integrity. I am now working toward making a full collection using these glass pieces, For now I have a table and wall light, a pendant and floor light will be resolved in order to complete the range.


























Inspired by the Dadaist movement and artists like Marcel Duchamp, the pioneer of "Found object" artwork, I will continue to experiment with found objects and industrial waste. The blend of old and new creates a beautiful juxtaposition of materials and this mix is undoubtedly paramount to my products success. I believe that experimentation, trial and mostly error are the foundations of innovative design.















 
















Images: supplied by Sebastian Clarke 

Links
Sebastian Lights website
Tongue and Groove  website
Sustainability Stories Link
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Save Craft Australia


  Craft Australia Defunded by the Australia Council

Craft Australia is challenging this decision and is also seeking your support. 

What will you lose if Craft Australia is lost to the Australian craft and design sector. 

 The ramifications of not having a national peak organisation representing the craft and design sector are significant.
  •  There will be no visible national portal to represent the work of the many artists, designers, gallerists, curators, writers and researchers working in this field.
  •  Australia will be the only OECD country without a dedicated agency to advocate and promote the work of this area of practice.
  • The many initiatives that Craft Australia has been advocating for that link craft and design with innovation and industry will be lost.
  •  Substantial digital content about this sector will be lost, creating a significant knowledge gap about our cultural traditions.
How you can help: 
  1. Sign our petition
  2. Forward to petition to friends and interested parties 
  3. Write to the Visual Arts Board, Chair Ted Snell email
  4. Write to the Minister for the Arts Simon Crean MP contact details
  5. Write to the Shadow Minister for the Arts George Brandis SC contact details
  6. Write to your local Minister

MEDIA RELEASE


Craft Australia Defunded by the Australia Council

The Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council announced in October that it would defund Craft Australia, the national peak organisation for the craft and design sector.  Without its financial support Craft Australia will be forced to close by December 2011 and its significant 40 year legacy will be lost. The network of Australian Craft and Design Centres, (ACDC), support Craft Australia in seeking to revoke the Visual Arts Board, (VAB) decision.
Craft Australia believes the decision by the VAB is unjustified and was made without proper consultation either with Craft Australia or the craft and design sector. The decision has not followed due process or due governance and is in breach of its own documented guidelines. Craft Australia is challenging this decision and is also seeking immediate interim funding from the Australia Council.
Robert Reason the President of Craft Australia said:
“The interim funding would allow Craft Australia to restructure in a responsible manner and manage its significant heritage assets and active programs appropriately. It would also send a clear message to the craft and design sector that the Australia Council and through it the Australian Government remains committed to the preservation of our cultural heritage”.
He also said,
“Craft Australia delivers a dynamic and diverse program that promotes and supports Australian craft and design practice nationally and internationally.”
Craft Australia’s website, www.craftaustralia.org.au, has over 1 million unique page visitors annually and provides access to events, exhibitions, and commissioned articles on craft and design. The organisation also engages with readers so they can actively respond to issues through Craft Australia’s social media sites on twitter, facebook and the CA blog, www.craftaustralia.blogspot.com
Some of Craft Australia’s recent achievements in support of the sector include the newly  established craft + design enquiry online journal, an international forum for practice based research; the Selling Yarns conferences for contemporary Indigenous craft and design practices and attracting funding to digitise its unique collection of images.
Significantly, Craft Australia ensures that the craft and design sector has a voice on national decision making organisations such the Australian Design Alliance (AdA), ArtsPeak, the National Visual Arts Craft Network (NVACN) and the Council for Humanities Arts and Social Sciences, (CHASS).
Without a national organisation there can be no concerted advocacy position for the Australian craft and design sector. This could leave the sector vulnerable to further erosion of funding.
For more information about the decision to defund Craft Australia, contact
Robert Reason, President of Craft Australia on 02 6273 0088.

Sign the Petition
For more details on the Save Craft Australia action please see the Craft Australia website www.craftaustralia.org.au

Wilma van Boxtel: Musing on a sustainable practice






Deseos Design – Dutch Design Down Under

Deseos design wants to design and develop producible, attractive and functional products for commercial success and make the world around us better at the same time by introducing sustainability. With innovation, creativity and systematically working we can create extra value for our clients. 



 
















Deseos Design combines an extensive experience in European industrial design with the knowledge of Australian resources.
Being the o2WA liaison since 2007 I take my work very seriously especially the impact on the environment. o2 is a global network for sustainable designers.  I am a freelance product designer and it’s my duty to inform my clients about the possibilities to improve their product in a sustainable way. During the design process I design to minimize materials and standardize production methods.  I work paperless with the best digital programs available and I cycle everywhere, my clients are used to me coming in in my cycle gear with a helmet in hand and the memory stick in the other hand.
One example is the use of EST, Engineered Solid Timber, instead of the full solid local hardwoods like Jarrah and Marri. EST board has a 4mm outer layer of hardwood and a centre of plantation pine which makes it still solid wood but you use less of the precious hardwoods which are getting scarcer by the day. Another advantage is that the wood stays straight even if you use mitered edges like I did in the Space range. 



 



















Another example is the Zeopod, a pouf made from biodegradable plastic. Zelfo is a plastic made from industrial hemp and therefore very strong and natural. I sourced all materials consciously, the textile is GECA certified wool from Sustainable Living Fabrics and the foam is also GECA certified. I had thought about using a natural material for the pouf but I opted for sustainable produced foam instead because of sit comfort and durance.
As a sustainable designer you continuously have to weigh your options and improve your knowledge about materials and production methods. There are not many products which are 100% safe and good for the environment but important is to make the right choice in the right situation. If you know for example that a product is going to be used for a very long time and will become a heirloom you can safely use beautiful timbers but if you know it will only be used for a couple of years you look at it in a different way. Here comes reduce, reuse and recycle. Design cradle to cradle so the materials stay in the loop. 

























I teach sustainable design at Curtin University and the best compliment I had was a student telling me he didn’t want to use any virgin material in his whole future design career as there were so many materials available which already had been used but still in perfect order to reuse. I believe in a sustainable future!

Links 
Deseos Design website 
02 Global website
Sustainability stories link
Be in the know for sustainability updates subscribe

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Craft Australia Defunded

Dear friends and colleagues,

On Thursday, 12 October, Craft Australia was officially notified that it has been ‘defunded’: it will receive no more triennial funding from the Australia Council for the Arts beyond the end of 2011.

While Craft Australia and the broad constituencies it represents and supports would dispute this decision, the result effectively means the organisation has no funds to operate beyond 31 December 2011. This decision comes at a point when the sector is poised to make some significant developments in relation to craft, design, innovation and the creative industries, and in which Craft Australia has played and would have continued to play a significant role.

More information about how you can help Craft Australia will also be sent to you next week and will be posted on the Craft Australia website and Blog.

Catrina Vignando
General Manager
21/10/2011

Ellie Mucke: Musing on a sustainable practice







My appreciation of the handmade stems from a childhood of macramé wall hangings, patchwork quilts and handmade mud bricks.  My love of design was instilled later, studying Fashion Design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.  A passion for people and the environment in which they live is something, for me, that just is and always will be.

In 2007 I established the brand MüCKE, a womans clothing and accessories label creating everything from re-used garments.  It was this love of design and a passion for a more sustainable future that inspired me to launch the label.  Old clothing is collected, un-picked, draped, re-cut and restitched daily, in my East Brunswick studio.  Each piece is created as part of an ‘on-going’ collection, whereby the fabrics are forever changing, but the styles vary only every six months to two years.



Image by Tobias Titz: MüCKE, Waste-tee earrings, 2010. Reclaimed cotton/ elastane T-shirt scraps and sterling silver wire.

I am a 'collector' at heart, so by the pure natural order of things, the waste I create from cutting new styles, is collated and stored ready for a new use later down the track.  Evidence of this can be seen in the 'Waste-tee' collection, of earrings and necklaces made from the reclaimed scraps of t-shirts used for another of my accessories lines.





Image: MüCKE, ForwardsbackwardsTOP,(Front) 2011 Reclaimed mens shirt and ladies shirt. Shoes by Phong Chi Lai Handcraft




Image: MüCKE, ForwardsbackwardsTOP,(Back) 2011. Reclaimed mens shirt and ladies shirt. Shoes by Phong Chi Lai Handcraft
 
Combined with my efforts to do less harm in the manufacturing process, is my passion for interactive design application. Workshops, exhibitions and teaching are examples of this.  Consolidated in the MüCKE collections I purposely fuse wit with style and invite the wearer to engage more with the individual pieces. The engagement process is a significant part of my design practice, as I believe so many of our social and environmental problems stem from limitations of mind.



Image: MüCKE, Long HalfSKIRT and Short HalfSKIRT with ButtonvestCARDI #2, 2011. Two reclaimed mens shirts and reclaimed mens cardigan. Shoes by Phong Chi Lai Handcraft



Image: MüCKE, IntersectionTOP, 2011. Two reclaimed mens shirts.  Shoes by Phong Chi Lai Handcraft

My latest collection to be continued… explores this idea.   Skirts sold by the half, and tops split down the middle with the capability of being worn in three ways explores the idea that clothing does not have to be consumed the way we are all used to.  Select pieces are now available from Blondies, Melbourne and Strelitzia, Sydney.



Ellie Mucke website
Ellie Mucke blog
Wear it Blog 
Blondies website 
Steliitzia website
Ellie Mücke, Textiles longevity, interview

Sustainability stories link
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Chunk Design: Musing on a sustainable practice

Will Wansey

Chunk Design is a collaborative design company in Sydney that engages in a diverse range of design, engineering and manufacturing projects. We realise that as the designers and producers of things that the decisions we make at the design and specification stage can have scaled environment and social impacts at the manufacturing and consumption stage of the products life cycle.

Many of our one off and low volume projects involve the re-use of unwanted materials. The Tooth Stool (by Hugh and Andrew) for example used recycled packaging foam that was laminated and shaped into a new form.

























 Image: Tooth Stool, Chunk Design

Another way we try to reduce the negative impact of our activities is in the careful selection of suppliers and the specification of responsible products in new product developments. It is almost always possible to find a more responsible ways of archiving a certain result.


















Image: Old growth Logging,  image courtesy GreenPeace 
Telapak (www.telapak.org ) for example promotes the responsible cultivation and harvest of Indonesian timers. Telapak's commercial timber products are not only environmentally sustainable, they are socially responsible also. They provide welfare and employment to many, and take market share away from the illegal old growth loggers. 
Designers and makers are in a unique position to support such initiatives through their design activities have a responsibility to do so wherever possible.

The British Council and LRQA are currently sponsoring Chunk's latest urban sustainability project that recycles old Honda Postie bikes into retro electric custom motorcycles (www.e-idea.org).
At Chunk we do everything in our power to ensure our products are useful and desirable to the user for as long as possible. Our project involves creating a new motorcycle from an old one and hopefully will create a desirable bike that people will want to own for the long term.


 Image: Will Wansey Chunk

As product designers we are sometimes seen as being comfortable with our role in feeding consumerism's need for new products. It is after all what we are trained to do.
At Chunk however, this is not the case.

Chunk Design Website 
Sustainability stories link
Be In The Know for Sustainability Forum Updates Subscribe

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Craft Australia Defunded



Dear friends and colleagues,

On Thursday, 12 October, Craft Australia was officially notified that it has been ‘defunded’: it will receive no more triennial funding from the Australia Council for the Arts beyond the end of 2011.

While Craft Australia and the broad constituencies it represents and supports would dispute this decision, the result effectively means the organisation has no funds to operate beyond 31 December 2011. This decision comes at a point when the sector is poised to make some significant developments in relation to craft, design, innovation and the creative industries, and in which Craft Australia has played and would have continued to play a significant role.

More information about how you can help Craft Australia will also be sent to you next week and will be posted on the Craft Australia website and Blog.

Catrina Vignando
General Manager
21/10/2011

Bird Textiles: Musing on a sustainable practice



Rachel Bending 

Whilst living in London in 1998, I heard about an amazing garden situated on a desolate part of the coast in the south of England. The creator of the garden was the (in)famous filmmaker and gay rights activist Derek Jarman (1942-1994). 














 Photographs of Derek Jarman and his garden taken by Howard Sooley

Jarman was best known for his films Sebastiane, Jubilee and Caravaggio but he was also one of a handful of public figures who spoke publically about HIV and AIDS. By the time of his 1993 film ‘Blue’, in which Jarman describes his life and vision, he was losing his sight and dying of AIDS related complications. 
He was in fact, a very private man, and chose to live out the remainder of his life at a tiny fishermans cottage called ‘Prospect Cottage’ in Kent. The solitude and silence attracted him to what was in all reality one of the most harsh and barren landscapes possible ....within a stones throw of Dungeness nuclear power station.
Out of this desolate expanse grew Derek Jarmans Garden. 



 Photographs of Derek Jarman and his garden taken by Howard Sooley

Later that year, some close friends and I made the daytrip to Dungeness to visit the garden. There was something terribly romantic about visiting the place a great man had chosen to rest. But for me, as for many, the beauty was in what Jarman had created from found materials, in a place where really nothing should grow. 














 Photographs of Derek Jarman and his garden taken by Howard Sooley

The garden, four years after his death, was exquisitely beautiful, even in its weathered and unkempt state.
Moments like this, my understanding of the intensely personal art practice of another, bound by the fragility of circumstance, interaction with nature and a deep awareness of environment. These moments are the inspiration for my design practice. 






















Image Bird Textiles, Photographer Fran Flynn


























Image Bird Textiles, Photographer Fran Flynn

Rachel Bending is the Creative Director and Founder of Bird Textiles. Rachels work focuses on sustainability in design. Heralded by Time Magazine in 2007 as ‘one to watch’, Bird Textiles range of organic fabrics, homewares, fashion and gifts is available from retailers around Australia, and through a comprehensive e-commerce site to a global marketplace. Widely recognised for its environmental consciousness, Bird Textiles is regarded as one of Australias premier sustainable design brands.

Links
Bird Textiles website
Bird Textiles blog 
Sustainability stories link 
Be In The Know for Sustainability Forum Updates Subscribe

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mark Vaarwerk: Musing on a sustainable practice







When I think about sustainability along with my jewellery making I wonder how the two have come together. I dont think sustainability has ever been the goal of my practice yet my work does commonly get described by this term.




Image: Mark Vaarwerk, brooch blue 57mm materials: expanded polystyrene packaging, stainless steel, sterling silver

Thinking back to the beginning of my practice, to before the beginning even, I realise my focus has always been to make most use of what is immediately available. Doing a student research project on hand-spinning of natural fibers i was partly frustrated by the unavailability of materials - to a city dweller, sourcing standard raw fibers such as cotton and wool was difficult and expensive. Once the project was submitted and I was able to source materials more intuitively and experimentally, I quickly realised that in the city there were many immediate sources of fiber, adaptable to the traditional spinning techniques I had just learned. The raw material that I adopted was the plastic bag, because it was freely available, colourful, and relevant - relevant in the sense that it is a material that I was familiar with, which I could relate to. Even more, its a source of material with a story which sometimes could be retold, or just imagined, as the bags were a byproduct of peoples real shopping trips and the colours of the bags would sometimes be recognisable as belonging to a particular brand or outlet. It also makes great string. 

























Image: Mark Vaarwerk, brooch bronze 57mm materials: expanded polystyrene food box, colouring  pencil, stainless steel, sterling silver

I had found a material that was free, easily available and had intrinsic value because of its previous use - a win-win-win -  so it was natural to continue in this thread.  A range of handspun plastic bag necklaces were soon joined by plastic bottle rings and brooches - all with a focus on utilizing throwaway materials. Currently I am using expanded polystyrene to make brooches. Again it is a material which is freely available - any day (or night) I can within a few blocks from home find a few piles of used food boxes or packaging useful for my jewellery. I also collect other discarded plastics - broken household appliances, broken car light covers off the streets, used cigarette filters even, to use to coat the polystyrene and add colour. Again, these familiar everyday sources of materials adds an extra layer of interest and meaning to the finished pieces which their owners can connect with. 























Image: Mark Vaarwerk, brooch red 68mm materials: expanded polystyrene food box, acrylic car brake light covers, stainless steel, sterling silver

On a personal level, to me,  sustainability still takes a back seat.  What comes first is the fun involved in scrounging and collecting something for free, the immediacy of the source and the chance to play mad scientist/inventor in my workshop to reshape these materials which are such a real and useful part of our day to day lives.

Links 
Mark Vaarwerk website
Mark Vaarwerk on Supercyclers
Sustainability stories link 
Be
In The Know for Sustainability Forum Updates Subscribe

Monday, October 17, 2011

Amber Ward: Musing on a sustainable practice






Kietsu: Creating with joy - a commitment to wholistic creative practice

Japanese for "joy", Kietsu embraces the notion that beauty is experienced through use and use imbues memory over time. With this has evolved a sustainable art + design practice committed to a wholistic approach to sustainability and the production of finely crafted, functional works. In this case, ‘sustainability’ includes environmental, social and economic considerations. Examples include sourcing local, non-museled wool from ethically bred sheep, the use of organic detergents and minimal water for handmade felt produced at my home studio. The use of alpaca fibre provides beautiful textiles from animals who tread lightly on the earth and produce lustrous natural colour palettes. It also includes the use of GECA (Good Environmental Choice Australia) certified Echo Panel for interior screens and the use of Eco Wool, hemp, organic cotton and ethically sourced silk from commercial suppliers with environmental credentials.


















 Image: Midnight Rock Pool Rug, Handmade felt using non-mulesed West Australian Merino wool and Alpaca

Does commitment to sustainability present limitations to creative practice? I believe we have been offered a gift as artists, designers and craftspeople with the ability to create – and creativity is as unlimited as desire, passion and ability to find solutions. Driven to produce works that bring us closer to the beauty of nature, thereby awakening our desire to care for it, visual presentation explores organic forms and surface design, inherent soothing tactile qualities of natural fibres for finely crafted felt rugs and blankets, warm radiance of felt lighting and dynamic shadows cast through hand sculpted Echo Panel screens.





















Image: Ascension, Hand-sculpted Echo Panel Private residence, Perth

Commitment to sustainable production processes requires either self-production of work, or working with contractors for larger scale projects who share a commitment to sustainable production processes. This can present challenges, which from my experience and geographic location, is symptomatic of a mining-centric economy where sustainability, craftsmanship and ethical design are not inherent priorities to industry. The technological production process may itself be sustainable, however, when the focus remains on a cost per minute profit basis, contractors may employ less than sustainable production methods to achieve quicker results. So therein lies the challenge of keeping watch over each part of the production process and maintaining the search for the right collaborators, or upholding a manual, designer-made practice regardless of project size.

This year has presented the opportunity for interesting collaborations with other designer makers and commercial partners, developing the hand made and experimenting with digitally designed work. The current project sees me working with International sustainable textiles company, Woven Image where I have been invited as an Imagination Partner to create work using their new Echo Panel ‘Mura’ product. Nurturing an inherent affinity with the hand made, evoking an essence or aura different to that which is digitally producted, the work will result in 22sqm of hand cut textiles to create an interior spacial installation, with the cutouts also being used within the work. The installation explores an underwater grotto of corals and the elusive leafy seadragon, paying homage to Metis, the mythological ocean nymph and mother of Athena, who name means wisdom, skill or craft.



















 Image: Conch Pendant Light Handmade felt using non-mulesed West Australian Merino wool

With a portfolio ranging from the small, soft and tactile to large, rigid and fixed, the joy lies in creating functional works for private use and public installation which will hopefully in time become heirlooms, or at the end of their lifecycle be readily upcycled/recycled into new materials for future use, or harmlessly returned to the earth.

Kietsu Studio website
Kietsu on Facebook
Sustainability stories link 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Craft Australia invites you to take the Share Your Stories survey





 


Craft Australia invites you to take the
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 establish a picture of micro businesses. This data will be the basis of information to advocate for small businesses in the creative industries sector. Please take 5 minutes to take the Share Your Stories survey.

All participants go in the draw to win a KINK oil bottle designed by Deb Jones, hand-made by the JamFactory Glass Studio and donated by the Canberra Glassworks.
 

The winner will be notified by email and an announcement made on the Craft Australia website,  and Craft Australia blog,  

Craft Australia thanks the Canberra Glassworks for donating the KINK oil bottle.

Links
JamFactory

 

Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre celebrates 40 years

















 Image: Jane Burns opening speech to gathered friends and members of Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre

Over 100 friends, colleagues, members and supporters came together to celebrate the Centre's 40th birthday party.
Ms Joy Burch MLA, Minister for the Arts, opened the festivities giving a warm and heartfelt welcome. Craft ACT Craft and Design centres' Patrons Margaret Williams and Emeritus Professor David Williams AM along with Members of the ACT Legislative Assembly and valued friends of the Centre Dr Chris Bourke MLA, Mrs Vicki Dunne MLA and Mr Brendan Smyth MLA joined us to celebrate this momentous occasion. 
Guest speakers Jane Burns and Meredith Hinchliffe regaled guests with tales of the organisation's origins and the history of the craft and design movement in Canberra and Australia. Read full story

















































Image: L to R Jenny Deves, Catrina Vignando (past CEOs), Louise Doyle and Gillian McCracken 
Images supplied by Craft ACT Craft and Design Centre.


Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre website