Tag Archives: people

These are but a few of my favourite things that have made me smile the last few months…

An afternoon drive in the Victorian Countryside with dear friends.

An afternoon drive in the Victorian countryside with dear friends.

Eucalyptus caesia subsp. magna

Every part of Eucalyptus caesia subsp. magna against a blue sky…

The gum nuts of Eucalyptus caesia subsp. magna

…the gum nuts…

Eucalyptus caesia subsp. magna

…and the glorious blossoms. One half expects Australian author May Gibbs’ ‘Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’ to emerge from behind the leaves at any moment.

'Gestures with a Vehicle' Diptych OR 'When Bogans celebrate the Full Moon', near Sippy Downs, Queensland.

‘Gestures with a Vehicle’ Diptych OR ‘When Bogans celebrate the Full Moon’, near Sippy Downs, Queensland.

$2.99 Happy Dolphin shower curtain I picked up from my corner store. I know you must be saying to yourself 'Aren't you a designer'. The dolphins are smiling!

The $2.99 Happy Dolphin shower curtain I picked up from my corner store. All I know is the dolphins are really smiling at me!

Consulting as Exhibition Designer at Supreme Courts Library QLD Sir Harry Gibbs Legal Heritage Centre. throughout August and September 2013.

Consulting as an Exhibition Designer to the Supreme Courts Library Queensland Sir Harry Gibbs Legal Heritage Centre throughout August and September 2013.

Walking from work to catch a bus home with the setting sun making the sky electric!

Walking from work to catch a bus home with the setting sun making the sky electric!

I wish I could say I'd been Bungy Jumping! But I haven't lately. Rather I have been working with the talented Simone Barr from Daarc - Design and Architecture on the concept development for the Sochi Skypark Interpretive Centre, Russia. ig thank you to Daarc for getting me involved. Photo Courtesy of AJHackett International.

I wish I could say I’d been Bungy Jumping! But I haven’t lately. Rather I have been working with the talented Simone Barr from Daarc – Design and Architecture on the concept development proposal for the Sochi Skypark Interpretive Centre Interior, Russia. Big thank you to Daarc for getting me involved. Photo Courtesy of AJHackett International.

Watching the talented Anna Varendorff share her beautiful Jewellery.

Watching the talented Anna Varendorff share her beautiful Jewellery.

Brake lights from my balcony.

Dancing brake lights through my balcony.

The delicate Ranunculus.

… and the beauty of the delicate Ranunculus…

…Oh and Haloumi cheese! Especially when the auto correct wants to change ‘Haloumi’ to Helium?

All photos by Christina Waterson unless otherwise credited.

Let the SpeedMeet +Folio Review commence. Photography Elliot Fooks.

Let the SpeedMeet + Folio Review commence! Photography Elliot Fooks.

The latest instalment of Tarmac’s SpeedMeet + FolioReview (presented by DIA Queensland Branch Tarmac Student Council) was held at The Queensland Museum and Sciencentre on 30 July 2013.

Using the format of speed dating, but with a whole lot more style and design intent, Industry Professionals sat down with passionate students, reviewed their work and offered advice about landing that all important first job. Students received folio feedback, made some important contacts, and gained insight into the industry.

Students mingle before the event starts.

Students gather before SpeedMeet + FolioReview event starts. Photography Elliot Fooks.

Every five minutes (or so) a bell rang to mark the time for participants to stand up and swap tables (and therefore mentors). This format made for an exciting event with a fast and furious pace, and interesting and to the point discussion.

Folio review and feedback. Photography Elliot Fooks.

Folio review and feedback. Photography Elliot Fooks.

Attending students were from a broad range of creative industries including Interior Design, Architecture, Graphic Design, Illustration and Industrial Design, as well as hybrid and interdisciplinary mixes of all of the above.

Julian Munro (Derlot) talks shop with an avid audience. Photography Elliot Fooks.

Julian Munro (Derlot) talks shop with an avid audience. Photography Elliot Fooks.

The industry professionals, who mentored for the event, included Jason Bird and Benjamin Breitenstein (Luxxbox), David Shaw (Street and Garden), Marc Harrison (Husque), Julian Munro (Derlot), Natalie Wright (Lecturer Interior Design, QUT), Christina Waterson (yes thats me), Beck Davis (Design Department, Griffith Uni), Kasia Jarosz (Jarosz Design), James Luu and Melissa Tooley (PDT), Philip Bugden (One Alliance) and Eddie Maksoud (Edwards Advertising).

Check out upcomingTarmac Events (including Speedmeets and Design Crawls) on the DIA Tarmac Facebook page or get in touch with DIA Tarmac directly and be a part of their next great event!

A SPECIAL THANK YOU to Vanessa Parker (President of the DIA Qld Tarmac Student Council) for inviting me to be a Guest Professional for the event! Gratitude to Elliot Fooks (3rd year Industrial Design student, QUT) for the great photography.

Tracelet (Limited 777) Editions 1 (Salmon - Lemon Aqua) and 2 (Scarlet - Vanilla - Baby Blue) released in 2012.

Tracelet (Limited 777) Editions 1 (Salmon – Lemon – Aqua) and 2 (Scarlet – Vanilla – Baby Blue) released in 2012.

It’s been just over a year since the Tracelet Project (777 Limited) was launched at Brisbane’s Saturday in Design 2012 (SID). Over that time two colour editions have been released and I have personally given more than 700 Tracelet sets to people in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Singapore.

That’s a lot when you think each time I give a set I also share the story behind the inspiration, the maker and the process. Tracelet can only be given in this way.

Sharing the story of the Tracelet Project at SID Melbourne 2012.

Sharing the story of the Tracelet Project at SID Melbourne 2012. Photo James Braund.

Something quite magical happens each time. Tracelet ceases to be a bracelet made of Injection moulded food grade plastic and instead becomes a talisman about the gift of sharing knowledge.

Tracelet has travelled all across the globe and found homes with inspired individuals. Sometimes they run into each other while wearing Tracelet and say ‘You must have met Christina!’. Such beautiful stories keep flowing in from all over the world.

Beautiful messages, images and thank yous continue to keep me inspired!

Beautiful messages, images and thank yous continue to keep me inspired!

I have received hundreds of thank you emails accompanied by images of people loving their Tracelets; wearing them for special events or in their everyday, or finding new ways to use them (drawing patterns or playing with them as earrings and crowns).

Over the next few weeks tracepattern will be announcing some beautiful news! Until then a massive THANK YOU to all of you for sharing your love, thoughts and belief in the Tracelet Project.

Keep it flowing!

Lately people have asked me why I don’t include more posts about me or my current work. They ask “Isn’t it your blog? Shouldn’t you just use your blog to present your work?”

Maybe! Sometimes my blog does include posts about my latest projects, media reviews, events, exhibitions, awards or successes. But you know as well as I do that creative people do not live in an isolated bubble. We are in the world and are informed by the things around us – the people we meet and the places we visit.

I find joy when I shine the light on other people’s creative pursuits – be it within Australia or further afield overseas. I openly share my moments of inspiration – personal meetings with gifted people and experiences in unique and moving places.

Toto shows me the feeling of Karakami.

Toto guides me through the beautiful process of Karakami at Karacho.

Delicate pressure applied to the Washi.

Delicate pressure applied by Toto to Washi and wood block.

Special people like Aiko and Toto from Karacho in Kyoto. Never a day goes by that I do not think of my experience with them and the personal feeling of Karakami with Karacho.

Mr Ohashi San

Mr Ohashi San weaving in his studio, Beppu (Japan).


Keiji at his Bunkyo-ku Studio, Tokyo.

Eastern Weft Textiles

Eastern Weft Textiles shared with me by Samorn Sanixay, Sydney.

I treasure being welcomed into Mr Ohashi San’s practice and the process of weaving bamboo. Meeting inspiring practitioners like Japanese Architect and Designer Keiji Ashizawa, and Australian based Samorn Sanixay co-founder of Eastern Weft was very special.

The Beautiful Arda Gokger

The beautiful Arda Gokger guided me through Istanbul.

Bruce and I talked surrounded by colour and pattern

Bruce Lepere and I talked surrounded by colour and pattern (London).

John Quan

Designer John Quan, Jam Factory (Adelaide).

I was transformed through unique experiences like those with Arda Gokger at The Rustem Pasha Mosque (Turkey); Conversations with Bruce Lepere from Oriental Rugs at Liberty of London or more recently visiting JamFactory and spending Sunday afternoon with Designer John Quan.

Byon Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Byon Temple, Siem Reap (Cambodia).

Aya Sofya Wow

Hagia Sophia (Turkey).

An amazing sunset!

An amazing sunset at my place!

There are personal moments at Byon Temple and Angkor Wat (Cambodia), Hagia Sophia (Turkey), or simply sunset at my place and moments of nature. I can share these moments through a personal frame. It means the world is a richer place through further cross-pollination.

The key thing that I learnt through my Winston Churchill Fellowship Travels was that creatives across the globe have similar challenges and joys. We use a common language of making that transcends cultural borders. We are all part of a creative tribe.

Think of the special people who have inspired you in your life or work. Get in touch with them. Write them an email, a postcard or message on Facebook. Say hello and thank them in your own special way! It will keep the creative energy flowing and growing and make a positive difference to their day!

My list of inspiring people gets longer with every day. When I get in touch with them, often they are unaware of the difference they have made and just how much they have affected me!

I cannot say THANK YOU enough!

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design. Founded in Adelaide JamFactory has ensured some of Australia’s most talented craft and design practitioners have realised their full creative potential. On any given day the quality and diversity of practitioners working within JamFactory’s walls are a reflection of its contribution over such a long period of time.

It’s Monday and I decide to visit JamFactory Studios to see who is at work.

Natalie Gock working at her bench within JamFactory’s Metal Design Studio, Adelaide.

Natalie hand sawing copper sheet into test forms.

Natalie’s previous work – Black Cockatoo Neck piece. Image Courtesy of JamFactory.

At the Metal Design Studio, I find Natalie Gock hand sawing copper sheet into fine petal like test forms. She is working on an exhibition piece for Maker/Wearer/Matchmaker – part of Art Month Sydney 2013. The necklace will be made in silver for one of the Directors of Nine Galleries (at 2 Dank St) to wear and be displayed at Studio 20/17 from 26th until the 28th March 2013. Natalie is an Alumna Resident having completed the Associate training programme in 2012.

Nadja Maher working on a new collection in JamFactory’s Metal Design Studio.

Nadja works the prototypes on JamFactory's anvil.

Nadja works her small earring prototypes on JamFactory’s anvil.

Nadja's previous work - Overnight Earrings.

Nadja’s previous work – Overnight Earrings. Image Courtesy of JamFactory.

Jeweller Nadja Maher (a 2nd Year JamFactory Associate) is working on a new collection. Nadja, having cut and annealed her little silver earrings prototypes, is now gently working them on the JamFactory’s prize anvil. The JamFactory structures the Associate’s week by engaging them to work with staff in the making of Studio pieces for wholesale and retail sale and contributing to public program’s via workshops, exhibitions and talks, while also enabling them to work on their personal practice and commissions.

Kate Sutherland making finishing touches to a commission.

Kate Sutherland, is finishing a special commission.

Kate’s bench within Jam Factory’s Metal Design Studio.

Kate's Previous work. Image Courtesy of JamFactory.

Kate’s previous work. Image Courtesy of JamFactory.

Diversity in material and form is encouraged in the Studios. Second year Associate, Kate Sutherland, is finishing a special commission. Kate’s fluid forms draw on the Art Deco and Art Nouveau periods as well as the relationship between metal elements and the human body.

Alice Potter and Christian Hall (the Metal Design Studio’s Project Manager and Creative Director, respectively), are running errands the day I do my rounds. Luckily I sat down with Christian Hall a few days earlier and discussed the history of JamFactory.

“JamFactory is very much like building an aeroplane while it is in flight…you can’t stop the plane, it has to keep going and is always in a state of incremental change…it has been built little by little over time. To start something like JamFactory today would be such a massive undertaking… it would be near impossible.” Christian affirms, “JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design is in a unique position.”

What may have started 40 years ago to support craftspeople and change the manufacturing production industry has evolved into a place that bridges tertiary study and practice. Through the large-scale commissions the JamFactory wins, Associate’s are exposed to different scales of working – often working in teams and combining many of the Studios (Glass, Metal, Furniture and Ceramics) together in one project. Associates and Staff also attend special master classes given by National and International visiting artists-in-residence.

Eddie Ferguson in Studio 3 – sourcing materials.

Window Jug and Tumblers by Andrew Ferguson.

Window Jug and Tumblers by Eddie Ferguson. Image Courtesy of Eddie Ferguson.

Down stairs in Studio 3 is Eddie Ferguson (2nd Year Associate) who spent the day before in the Glass Studio blowing his elegant Window Vase for stockists around Australia. When I call in he is sourcing materials and designing work that embraces the limitations of the glass blowing process.

Jeweller Regine Schwarzer sets a ring with a stone.

Jewellers Regine Schwarzer and Jessamy Pollock are hard at work in Studio 5. With a passion for the rocks and minerals of Australia, Regine is setting a ring with a stone as we speak. She trained in jewellery making and metalwork at the Zeichenakademie Hanau, Germany, moved to Australia in 1993 and has exhibited in countless exhibitions nationally and internationally.

Jessamy Pollock making paper and aluminium tests in Studio 5.

One of Jessamy's previous works.

One of Jessamy’s previous works Fold Brooch in anodized aluminium from her recent exhibition Shrink and Explore – a beautiful collection of wearable and unwearable sculptures.

Jessamy Pollock (Alumna in Residence) invites us to shrink within our imagination and explore her work at an architectural scale”. Jessamy has just embarked on designing a new wearable range of brooches and neck pieces and is in the process of testing her ideas in paper and aluminum. It’s great to see Regine and Jessamy working side by side on their individual work.

The JamFactory’s studio model is unique and sees experienced professional practitioners working alongside Associates in a studio environment. The program equips them with business knowledge, sustainable practice guidelines as well as all of the OHS of the technology they have grown up with. Alumni often stay on and work from rented share studio tenancies. They contribute to the depth of knowledge and strength of the JamFactory programmes.

Andrew Bartlett in Studio 6.

Furniture Designer/Maker – Andrew Bartlett greets me in Studio 6.

Andrew applying finishing coat.

Andrew applying finishing coat to a commission before final assembly.

In Studio 6 is furniture designer/maker Andrew Bartlett (Alumnus) applying finishing coats to a furniture commission. After installing the WOOD: art design architecture exhibition Andrew is content to be in the studio. We discuss his great respect for clients in the commissioning process and the importance of collaboration on such projects as the Penfold’s Ampoule Project. John Quan (Furniture Designer Alumnus) shares Studio 6 with Andrew but is out sourcing electrical supplies for his new lamp design when I visit.

Meeting in the Furniture Studio.

A meeting in session within JamFactory’s Furniture Studio.

Furniture Maker – Daniel Guest having a break from the workshop. Admin is a necessary part of any business.

Next-door a meeting in the Furniture Design Studio headquarters is in session. Furniture Maker Daniel Guest (2nd Year Associate who also assisted on the WOOD: art design architecture install) is quietly working away on a computer. Daniel moved to Adelaide to become a JamFactory Associate and sharpen his skills after completing fine furniture design and construction at the Australian School of Fine Wood in Western Australia. Like Daniel many practitioners are prepared to move cities and live in Adelaide to attend JamFactory.

Associates today differ from those attending the JamFactory 40 years ago. Then the practitioners were generally older with a diverse wealth of life experience and travel under their belt – as well as their own sense of identity and practice. Today’s Associates are more likely to be in that process while completing their JamFactory Associate training programme.

I sit down with Karen Cunningham (Glass Studio Creative Director) as the other glass practitioners including Tom Moore (Production Manager) stop for the day to enjoy frozen cordial and time away from the hot furnaces.

The resources that go into glass making are costly and finite. The Glass Studio’s Program emphasizes training through production while supporting the distinct parts of practice (experimental exhibition work and highly resolved production pieces). It encourages practitioners to think of glass in new ways such as through computer-based technology and sustainable practice.

The practitioners work together to form the Tumbler with tools.

Step by step – the practitioners work together to form the piece.

At times there have been up to 50 independent glass artists who regularly hire the hot glass studio. Making glass objects is a creative pursuit that needs to be undertaken with someone to assist throughout the process.

The glass form goes into the furnace again.

The glass form goes back into the furnace.


Further forming – the process is repeated until the glass tumbler form is perfect.

The process is mesmerizing to watch. I particularly enjoy the movement of the practitioners working together as they glide around each other to transfer the glass back and forth from furnace to forming area. On this day Liam Fleming is completing the Tumbler Exercise with Katie–Ann Houghton assisting, as George Agius prepares coloured glass with Alex Valero.

Glass Studio - Liam Fleming completing the Tumbler Exercise with Katie–Ann Houghton assisting.

View to Glass Studio from the Observation Deck – Liam Fleming completing the Tumbler Exercise with Katie–Ann Houghton assisting.

As I make my way from the Glass Studio to the JamFactory Office I pass members of the public enjoying the glass process from a special observation deck. They have just come from JamFactory Store which stocks the objects made on site. JamFactory successfully connects people to the power and energy of making.

In the JamFactory Office its late afternoon and Claudine Young (Executive Assistant) and Anne Fenech (Administration Assistant) are holding the fort. With the exhibition launch and public programmes for WOOD: art design architecture held the previous week, many staff have gone home a little early today.

I caught up with Brian Parkes CEO, after the WOOD: art design architecture exhibition opening and discussed how he sees his role in the organisation.

“JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design has a strong and meaningful history and an ever-growing community of esteemed Alumni. I see my primary role as spreading the word about JamFactory’s uniqueness, contribution and longevity with a wider audience”.

Brian Parkes sharing.

Brian Parkes opening the WOOD: art design architecture exhibition at JamFactory.

This is apt, because the day I visit, Brian is doing just that – spreading the word at an interstate presentation. I have to agree with Brian – there is no other place in Australia like JamFactory. The diverse practitioners I met working on this one day within JamFactory’s 40-year history are the true testimony to this.

A special exhibition entitled Designing Craft/Crafting Design: 40 Years of JamFactory opens on 19 April 2013 at JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design, Adelaide.

MARMALADE – JamFactory’s annual publication with designer profiles, special features and reviews has just been launched.

For all details including information about JamFactory’s Studios, Associates and Staff, Store and upcoming events visit JamFactory’s Website.

Depot Part of Adelaide Festival 2013

The Depot – part of Adelaide Fringe Festival 2013

On a hot Adelaide Saturday I ventured out to get an ice coffee and check out what was happening in my local area for the Adelaide Fringe Festival. A few blocks from Jam Factory I came across The Depot – located at the old bus depot on Franklin Street. For the Fringe it had been transformed into a shipping container pop up city boasting market stalls, live music, food and late night short film festival.

Market stalls full of all sorts of goodies housed in The Depot’s pop up shipping container city.

I grabbed a seriously good pour over ice coffee from BAR 9’s pop up coffee stop and headed into one of the market sheds to escape the heat.

Phoebe Lamps Discovereed

I spy with my little eye…through the crowd…

In the distance I saw a glowing light and like a moth to a flame I was drawn to this soft glow. Then I realised – hang on it’s PHOEBE… PHOEBE LAMPS!

Phoebe Lamps at DEPOT

…something beginning with “P”… Phoebe Lamps.

Phoebe Lamps are the brainchild of Adelaide based duo Åsa Jonasson (Designer) and Peter Harding (Architect/Designer). A beautiful concept realised in an accessible way – Phoebe Lamps enable you to personalise and change the pattern of light that lights your world. The insert panel means paper, posters, photographs, maps, news-clippings, or fabric can be inserted into the lamp shade.

Asa with Phoebe Lamps

Åsa Jonasson with one of the beautiful Phoebe Lamps.

I met Peter Harding back in 2008 during the Springboard Entrepreneurship Programme and also witnessed Peter and Åsa’s launch of Phoebe Lamps at Small Australian Projects, Brisbane in 2009. So you can imagine my joy on stumbling across their stall at The Depot.

Phoebe Lamp Stall

Phoebe Lamps Stall at The Depot.

Since the 2009 launch Åsa and Peter have further developed the Phoebe Lamp range – adding different sizes; rationalizing packaging to ensure its compactable; stream lining the way the light is mounted within the lamp shade and also establishing relationships with a range of stockists throughout Australia and online.

Passionate Åsa describes the potential of their idea.

They have also expanded their range of select patterns for use in Phoebe Lamps. CONGRATS guys! Check out their philosophy and range online at Phoebe Lamps.

Beautiful Range

Pattern range expanding.

It was so great to run into Åsa, Peter and of course Phoebe. After a long day we all enjoyed a cool beverage together as we watched the Short Film Festival at The Depot.

Short Film Festival at DEPOT

Staying cool, connected and inspired!


On the road.

An unexpected day of joy. THANK YOU Adelaide! I headed home In the cool of the night. On leaving The Depot I met some musicians making a get away with their instruments.

The Depot runs until 17 March 2013 check out full program here.


John in his Jam Factory Studio.

On a hot Sunday afternoon in Adelaide I caught up with Designer, Maker and friend – John Quan in his Jam Factory Contemporary Craft & Design studio.

Woven Structure - European beech veneer - by John Quan 2007.

Woven Structure – European beech veneer – by John Quan 2007.

Stackable Serving Set - American walnut, walnut veneer & rare earth magnets - John Quan 2007.

Stackable Serving Set – American walnut, walnut veneer & rare earth magnets – John Quan 2007.

I met John back in 2008 through the Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Awards Program. His Woven Structure and Stackable Serving Set, on display for the award, had an elegant simplicity. They were paired back to only essential elements and used a minimal palette of materials.

Since 2008 John has completed a Jam Factory Associateship, been shortlisted for high-profile awards including the 2010 Bombay Sapphire Award and Launch Pad Program and has also taken up residence in one of the Jam Factory studios available to practitioners across ceramics, glass, metal and furniture design and making.

On this afternoon John’s working on one of his prototypes for a new desk lamp as well as production pieces for Jam Factory. His project Flexible Desk Lamp is on display as part of WOOD – ART DESIGN ARCHITECTURE at the Santos Museum of Economic Botany within the Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

Flexible Desk Lamp - European beech veneer, aluminium, SMD LEDs, lithium batteries - by John Quan 2010.

Flexible Desk Lamp – European beech veneer, aluminium, SMD LEDs, lithium batteries – by John Quan 2010.

Flexible Desk Lamp is  a minimal expression of material and form. Wafer thin – I and many like me are in awe of how he has integrated LED lighting, a thin aluminium strip and contact point within the lamp’s veneer and elegant form to connect the light to its power source.

Flexible Desk Lamp all lit up - John Quan 2010.

Flexible Desk Lamp all lit up – John Quan 2010.

It is beautiful and intriguing. The balance of these elements comes from John’s direct experience of working with the materials intimately.

Drawing upon my training in industrial design and fashion design, I endeavour to further the understanding of my own craft through ongoing experimentation with materials and processes. All my experiences have culminated in a very pragmatic approach to design and I believe that good design is something that people should be able to live with day to day. John Quan


It was so good to catch up with John again, see his studio and check out all of his great new work. Thank you John! Enjoy John’s body of work at his website.


The Qld Smart Design Fellow Nominees ( L > R): Anne-Marie Willis, Christina Waterson, Shane Thompson, Natalie Wright and Kevin Finn. Photography Darcy Clarke.

The Queensland Smart Design Awards recognise the importance of design to business, lifestyle and innovation through the presentation of A Queensland Smart Design Fellowship and an Emerging Design Leader Award. The Queensland Smart Design Fellowship is given to an individual who has significantly contributed to developing a design culture within Queensland. Entrants may be from any industry or sector.

I personally believe that you are only as good as the people around you. It was therefore an absolute honour to be shortlisted for the Design Fellowship alongside such committed Queensland individuals. Each of the Nominees have an undeniable passion for design-led thinking and an openness to share, tempered with direct experience and intellect. The nominees were  Kevin Finn, Shane Thompson, Christina Waterson (Yes that’s me!), Anne-Marie Willis and Natalie Wright.

Architect, Shane Thompson was awarded The 2012 Queensland Smart Design Fellowship at a special event held at The State Library of Queensland on 28 June 2012. Shane is someone who I have always admired. He is a strong design advocate and talented individual with a down to earth character and relaxed way. Congratulations Shane!

Congratulations to all of the Nominees! Such a pleasure to know you!

Check out the full story at Queenslandersign and Arts Queensland.

Making Plexa#1 at SLQ. Photo by David Sandison

Design’s true contribution to the wider community is something money just can’t buy.

Beyond fashion, sales, price point and the hottest-newest item for sale, there is the intrinsic worth of design that transcends market forces.

Can you buy the true belief and passion, ingenuity, and provenance built into projects over time? Can you measure the value of direct relationships and knowledge grown through design process and investigation? What’s the current asking price for meaningful places of experience that grow within the memories of future generations? What is the creative capital that creative thinkers bring to the wider community?

We may be able to buy the products and projects of design thinking, but that doesn’t ensure the acquirer values their meaning and concept. Many Australian Retailers, Designers and Architects have conveyed their clients’ focus on price rather than an understanding of the background story to products and projects. Especially since the GFC, clients and buyers are caring more about price.

At some point in the recent past sell overtook soul.

How much do you sell those for? Where can I buy one? How much did that cost to make? When one answers the barrage of questions with ‘Actually you can’t buy these anywhere”, “That’s the only one in the world”, or ‘Our business plan for this product is not to sell it’.

There is an understandable silence. And then there is a smile and often a nod, and a ‘Wow’ exclamation. I have witnessed this response through the Tracelet Project.

Personal experience and connection. Photography by George Dedic.

Tracelet is a symbol, a talisman. It took about ten years for it to evolve into its present form. You can’t buy it anywhere. These are personal gifts that are not sold. You can only receive Tracelet once the story of its origin has been shared. Yes it’s a bracelet that’s meant to be worn.

But above all, Tracelet is to be treasured and to remind the wearer of the gift of knowledge, of process and a connection with the designer/maker.

So far I have personally given 400 Tracelet sets to people. In doing this I get something far more important than a few dollars in the bank.

Giving Tracelet at Brisbane Indesign 2012. Photography by George Dedic.

I get to share Tracelet’s story directly, witness peoples’ responses, hear what they see and connect in a way that is not possible within the normal retail model.

It is my personal belief that a designer’s true gift rests not just in the physical objects and places that they have made through out their career. These are merely the perspiration from an endeavour to make everyday experiences better.

INSPIRATIONAL MOMENTS! Array Installation for the 2007 Qld Architecture Awards Event: a collaboration between Christina Waterson and Cox Rayner Architects. Photography by CFC Photography.

Our biggest contribution is the opportunity to inspire and move others (professionals, students and people from not only the design sector but all areas of the community) to think differently.

Our philosophies, sharing our process and knowledge and (yes) how these ideas are embedded in the environments and things that we design in the world, are integral to creating a spark; a spark that challenges people to think differently about what and why they do what they do in life, work and business.

Passionate chats at Why We Create’s Queensland Launch. Photography Joshua Thies.

Making connections at Why We Create’s Queensland Launch. Photography Joshua Thies.

Our true value is not the price that we get for our designs or the number we sell over time, but rather the relationships between people and personal connections made within all of our thinking.

Written for DESIGN ONLINE, The State Library of Queensland’s new online resource.

Design Online is delivered and curated by the State Library of Queensland’s Asia Pacific Design Library. The Asia Pacific Design Library is a shared space (physically and digitally) for industry, academia and the public to come together in the generation of new knowledge around design in the Asia Pacific.

Check out Design Online and the also fantastic Design Minds!

Guests start to arrive for the launch of the Why We Create series within TRACE at Pin-Up Project Space, Melbourne. Photography James Braund.

Invited guests from a diverse range of fields including Art, Design, IT, Engineering, Law, Media and Education joined the How We Create team for the Lunchtime Launch of the Why We Create Series.

The Why We Create initiative (founded by How We Create and I) seeks to spark a wider conversation about the process and value of design-led thinking in Australia. Interviews, discussions and public forums are occurring parallel to events that will take place across Australia over the next 12 months. The Launch of this series was held within TRACE at Pin-Up Project Space in Melbourne, on 16 May 2012, and marked the close of the exhibition.

Yes that’s me passionately speaking at the event. Photography James Braund.

Norman Johnson from How We Create and Palamont: art in manufacturing launched the series. I gave an intimate presentation into why I create, and the importance of creatives engaging with the wider business community.

Nicholas Rogers (Parameter Space) and Alexi Freeman (Alexi Freeman). Photography James Braund.

Fleur Watson in conversation (Pin-Up Project Space). Photography James Braund.

Gini Lee (Melbourne University) through Scale Screen. Photography James Braund.

Matt Ward with Martyn Hook (background). Photography James Braund.

Joanna Bosse, Gini Lee (Back) and Christina Waterson. Photography James Braund.

Simone LeAmon in focus. Photography James Braund.

Patricia Lee (Back)( Palamont), Alexi Freeman (Alexi Freeman), Norman Johnson (Back) (Palamont and How We Create) and Nicholas Rogers (Parameter Space). Photography James Braund.

Guests enjoyed good conversation and a beautiful selection of light tastes created by our special local friends Cibi (head, hands, heart) accompanied by refreshing organic apple juice and Pimms cocktails all served by the fabulous Boys and Girls team.

Special Thanks to Melbourne based photographer James Braund who documented the event exquisitely and of course to the team at How We Create.