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Monthly Archives: May 2014

Colony 2010. Photography Jon Linkins.

Colony 2010. Made in Agathis Australis (New Zealand Kauri or Kauri). Photography Jon Linkins.

After touring Australia for the past year for WOOD: art design architectureColony 2010 came home to Queensland this month and is presently on show at the QUT Art Museum. The Kauri used for Colony 2010 is very old, has passed through many hands and travelled countless miles. In the 1800’s Kauri Pines, tens of thousands of years old were felled in Northern New Zealand and shipped to Australia.

The Making of Colony. Photography Christina Waterson.

This complex work was made possible through working with a highly skilled artisan based near Mapleton, Queensland. His knowledge of making and respect for the wood is evident in the final piece. The precious wood was used as efficiently as possible. Photography Christina Waterson.

This timber was used for bridges, boats and storage vats because of its strength and natural resistance to rot. During this time the Kauri used in Colony 2010 was shipped to Sydney and made into rum vats for the Pyrmont distillery that began operation in the 1890’s. In the early 1990’s the distillery was closed and the Kauri staves from the vats were salvaged.

I grew up in Bundaberg (Queensland) where sugar and rum production were the main industries. Large Bundaberg rum vats similar to those at Pyrmont Distillery. Photo courtesy of Bundaberg Rum.

I grew up in Bundaberg (Queensland) where sugar and rum production were the main industries. Pictured here are large Bundaberg rum vats similar to those from the Pyrmont Distillery. Photo courtesy of Bundaberg Rum Ltd.

Traces of the timber’s previous use have been kept in Colony 2010. Some panels still have the rum visible in their surface: appearing as darker lines and shades. The rum soaked staves wafted of rum as they were machined. Colony 2010 is an experiment. It is a lesson in what not to do with wood. The wood staves have been cut to reveal the patterned end grain of the Kauri to show the age of the original tree. While the timber is very old and stable this type of cutting and tapering has really pushed the material to its limit.

Colony 2010 (Detail). Photography Jon Linkins.

Colony 2010 (Detail). Photography Jon Linkins.

The finite nature of Kauri Pine: the tree and the wood, have informed the work’s arrangement. Colony 2010 is made up of like, repeated parts grouped together for strength, protection and support. At the edges is where the work is vulnerable but also where it is most likely to grow, multiply and seek out new ground.

Colony 2010. Photography Jon Linkins.

Colony 2010 silhouette. The edge holds the greatest potential for growth or vulnerability. Photography Jon Linkins.

At the edges of society, culture and thinking this dichotomy also exists. At these edges creative endeavours, new ideas and ways of thinking push forward into unknown territory or pull back to safer ground. At the edge there is the potential to succeed and grow, or risk everything, fail and retreat. Colony 2010 holds true to this condition by pushing material, form and ideas of function. Its existence is a result of pure belief and a will to strive for something more. Seeing this work again reminded me just how lucky I am to still be on this journey, despite all odds.

WOOD: art design architecture is on show at the QUT Art Museum until 29 June 2014. Check out there website for public programmes, events and workshops related to wood (the material and the exhibition). WOOD: art design architecture resulted from a collaboration between JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design and Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, where it was presented in February through early April 2013, with the exhibition continuing its national tour throughout 2013 and 2014. Take a closer look at my review of the original exhibition here.

 

 

 

 

 

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WOOD: art design architecture exhibition view at Jam Factory Contemporary Craft and Design. Photography by Christina Waterson.

WOOD: art design architecture exhibition view at Jam Factory Contemporary Craft and Design. Photography by Christina Waterson.

The national touring exhibition WOOD: art design architecture opened in Brisbane at the QUT Art Museum last week. I thought I would share with you my review of the exhibition written originally for ArchitectureAU online on the occasion of the exhibition first opening at JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design, in February 2013. And so not to ruin the experience of seeing the work in QUT’s generous sequence of exhibition spaces, I have only included photos of the original JamFactory installation that accompanied the text below. Enjoy!

Greer Honeywill’s This housing estate is not to scale #2 (foreground) and Boot Lace by Sherrie Knipe with Colony by Christina Waterson, behind. Photography by Christina Waterson.

Greer Honeywill’s This housing estate is not to scale #2 (foreground) and Boot Lace by Sherrie Knipe with Colony by Christina Waterson, behind. Photography by Christina Waterson.

WOOD: art design architecture celebrates our long relationship with wood and presents its diverse properties and qualities, along with the multiplicity of ways it can be worked. The exhibition includes work from twenty-eight Australian exhibitors who either work directly with wood, or with skilled crafts-people. The pieces relate to each other on several levels to form an overall vision for the exhibition based on figure and form; pushing material limits; craftsmanship and our eternal connection to wood – through place, nature, use and memory.

Interior and architectural projects are part of the showing. These are often difficult to appreciate in an exhibition context without directly experiencing the made place in real-time, but each project is presented in a distinct way to give an insight not available in the experience of the actual project.

Brian Hooper and m3architecture’s Tree of Knowledge Memorial 2009 is presented through a single key image alongside one of the recycled hardwood elements used to reinstate the aura around the remains of the Tree of Knowledge. This allows an intimate experience of these elements (that hang out of reach in the actual project) and thus enables an appreciation of the hardwood’s age, materiality and previous life as telephone and electrical poles. A simple scale model of March Studio’s Baker D. Chirico on the other hand emphasises the contour like nature of its interior plywood ceiling and wall strata.

John Wardle Architects’ Jewellery Box with form studies of the Shearers Quarters project. Photography by Christina Waterson.

Small massing and form models of John Wardle Architect’s Shearer’s Quarters project are displayed in an elegant spruce jewellery box with sliding drawer. The Jewellery Box is crafted with the same care and attention to detail as the office’s architectural projects and represents a key part of the practice – the relationships formed with highly skilled craftsman to achieve complex architectural ideas. The fruit of these key relationships is found in the joyful and intimate experiences that punctuate life lived in and around this practice’s buildings.

Piti, 2012 by Billy and Lulu Cooley uses river red gum burnt with design, displayed alongside Clipped Wing Bench in Tasmanian Blackwood by Simon Ancher. Photography by Christina Waterson.

Piti, 2012 by Billy and Lulu Cooley uses river red gum burnt with design, displayed alongside Clipped Wing Bench in Tasmanian Blackwood by Simon Ancher. Photography by Christina Waterson.

Hossein Valamanesh’s Breathe 2012, bronze cast from assembled twigs and branches, celebrates the life-giving force of nature, forests and trees. Architect Drew Heath’s spaces are warmed by light that has been warmed by wood’s hue. Developed within the experimental confines of his own home, Heath’s light lintels (on display) and layered ceilings incorporate marine plywood to warm our modern-day fluorescents.

Amore mio chair in American black walnut by Jon Goulder with Tom Miram’s The Memory Keeper, 2012 (background). Photography by Christina Waterson.

Amore mio chair in American black walnut by Jon Goulder with Tom Miram’s The Memory Keeper, 2012 (background). Photography by Christina Waterson.

Tom Miram’s The Memory Keeper 2012 is made from the trunk of a fallen coastal grey box, and marks his connection to the place of his childhood, and the history of change along its river valley. Other works show the process of realising work in wood.

Requiem (spirit of the beehive) by Lionel Bawden (right) with Greer Honeywill’s This housing estate is not to scale #2 (left) and Plantation Chair by Alexander Lotersztain, behind. Photography by Christina Waterson.

Requiem (spirit of the beehive) by Lionel Bawden (right) with Greer Honeywill’s This housing estate is not to scale #2 (left) and Plantation Chair by Alexander Lotersztain (behind). Photography by Christina Waterson.

Alexander Lotersztain’s marine plywood Plantation Chair prototype (a step to the final design with adjustment marks and cuts) is displayed beside a standard plywood sheet nested with the assembly elements of four Plantation Chairs and accompanying Eggcups. Sherrie Knipe’s patterned Boot Lace and John Quan’s incredibly thin Flexible Desk Lamp push timber veneer to its limits, while offering playful outcomes.

Visitors appreciate the detailed pattern in Boot Lace by Sherrie Knipe. Photography Christina Waterson.

Visitors appreciate the detailed pattern in Boot Lace by Sherrie Knipe. Photography Christina Waterson.

Brief 2012 (my favourite work in the exhibition) by Damien Wright, is a large dining table made using ancient petrified Red Gum and Ringed Gidgee. Its honesty, logic and refinement exemplifies Wright’s adept skill and the unique techniques he has developed to form these hard to work timbers. The undulating drawer fronts of Khai Liew Julian Chest 2011 invite touch and use to appreciate the solid American black walnut. It is made with care and exactitude and will age gracefully over generations to come.

Up close with Khai Liew’s Julian Chest 2011, solid American black walnut with patinated copper inlay. Photography by Christina Waterson.

Up close with Khai Liew’s Julian Chest 2011, solid American black walnut with patinated copper inlay. Photography by Christina Waterson.

Throughout my visit to this exhibition, I felt a strong desire to touch the works – to get up close, to see the grain and smell the scent of the woods used. Our long, close up and personal relationship with wood is kindled by this heart-felt exhibition and beautiful accompanying publication. Wood is warm to touch, alive and ever-changing and continues to find a place within our lives and memories.

WOOD: art design architecture resulted from a collaboration between JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design and Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, where it was presented in February through early April 2013 with the exhibition continuing its national tour throughout 2013 and 2014. The exhibition at QUT Art Museum continues until 29 June 2014. See their website for details.

Mastercut at Burleigh. Photography Christina Waterson.

Mastercut at Burleigh show me their intricate photo etching process applied to stainless steel shim for the electronics industry. Mastercut is pretty amazing! Photography Christina Waterson.

The past few weeks have been full of researching and sourcing a rich tapestry of beautiful materials. Many of my works respond directly to a material’s properties and nature. Sometimes it’s a material’s translucency, figure or friction that I am working with. At other times it may be weight, thinness, shadow, structure or simplicity that I am drawn to. A search for a natural rhythm coupled with a responsive intuition to materials means that my work is never finished and the process of understanding and exploring is never over.

I am always on the hunt for interesting materials, processes and passionate people with unique knowledge of the materials they work with. I travel to some far and distant places and form important relationships with craftsmen, stockists and suppliers. Here are a sample of a few of the places I have visited to source materials for upcoming projects.

Pottery Supplies Milton. Photography Christina Waterson.

Pottery Supplies Milton. Photography Christina Waterson.

Uncovering some of my ceramics vessels made while study Visual Arts at QUT back in 2001 spurred me to see if Pottery Suppliers Milton, the local shop I used to frequent, was still based in the same location. To my delight it was and still stocked a full range of clays, glazes, reference books, and tools while also offering firing services.

Maclace Leather. Photography christina Waterson.

At Mac-lace leather supplier. Photography Christina Waterson.

I have also been spending a lot of time at Mac-lace, a leather supplier. My Nanna used to visit Mac-lace and Jolly & Bachelor in the 1940s and 50s when they were based in South Brisbane. My mum (who taught me leather work) shopped there in the 60s and 70s. I was lucky enough to visit Mac-Lace in its South Brisbane home in the early 90s just before it moved to East Brisbane then Capalaba. Great to see it’s still going strong!

A visit to The Big Red shed's recycled timber Yard. Photography Christina Waterson.

A visit to The Big Red shed’s recycled timber yard, at Darra, to source timber for a client. Photography Christina Waterson.

The Big Red Shed’s been supplying recycled timber for as long as I can remember. On walking in to their timber yard I was transported by the scent of freshly sawn hardwood, the sight of each unique piece of timber and hearing provenance and previous life story.

Vinyl Signage ready to go at Brand Productions. Photography Christina Waterson.

Vinyl signage sheets waiting to be cut at Brand Productions, Brendale. Photography Christina Waterson.

In the process of designing an exhibition for a client I have been working with Brand Productions for the fabrication of the exhibition’s display devices, signage panels and custom vinyl signage. I have worked with Brand over the last ten years on projects for the Museum of Brisbane as well as for my own exhibition signage installations. Every time I visit they are making interesting things and are always on the go!

Staff at Brand Productions form custom signage letters in Acrylic. Photography Christina Waterson.

Staff at Brand Productions form custom signage letters in acrylic. Photography Christina Waterson.