Tag Archives: Winston Churchill Fellowship

The Forbidden City

Dream Walking. At the heart of Beijing lies China’s Imperial Palace (from the Ming to the Qing Dynasties), now known as The Forbidden City; home to The Palace Museum. Photography Christina Waterson 2011.

I woke this morning to vivid memories of my visit to The Forbidden City in Beijing. My thoughts were settling on the entry courts and more intimate details all around in screens, soffits and artefacts. I was privileged to visit the Forbidden City as part of my Winston Churchill Fellowship in 2011.

Over the past few weeks I have had flashbacks from this life changing time and thoughts about each person I spent time with; visiting Keiji Ashizawa and his Tokyo studio; my friends at PolyU and SCAD in Hong Kong; Mr Ohashi San in Beppu; Arda in Istanbul… I spent time with such talented and passionate people.

It dawned on me that it’s three years this week since I embarked on my Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship Research. It’s three years since I started TRACEPATTERN to record and share the experience. The Fellowship broadened my practice. It dared me to dream large and have more belief in my direction and work.  It encouraged me to open out and through this process connect with highly skilled, intellectual and generous practitioners across the globe. Three years on I draw on this experience and knowledge as it continues to resonate through my life and work.

How the time has flown! To celebrate Tracepattern’s Anniversary I’ll be sharing previously unseen photography of the experience and re-sharing a few special posts made during my Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship.




Plexa#1 screen from The Komodo Series 2008. Photography Aidan Murphy.

Plexa#1 Screen from The Komodo Series 2008. Photography Aidan Murphy.

I always find it insightful to receive feedback and hear what other people draw from my artworks and designs. Recently Christopher Hill, online editor of DETAIL daily, posted about my work. Here I share with you a portion of the post:

“…Interpreting this ancient knowledge with her contemporary design sensibilities, gives her work a particular quality. No doubt informed by her architectural training, and knowledge of three dimensional geometry, it is also spatial.

The weavings and foldings of hard materials that she creates, are beautiful, full of skill, and utterly mesmerising.

The artist often finds beauty in repetition. It is this that transports the viewer deep into the spatial and rhythmic qualities of her work. It is almost impossible to resist being drawn into a kind of groove, an aesthetic state of bliss that involves being lost in their often delicate complexity…”

X-Screen part of the Komodo Series 2008. Photography Jon Linkins.

X-Screen from The Komodo Series 2008. Photography Jon Linkins.

Thank you Christopher Hill for your unique insights! Visit DETAIL daily for the full post.




Her Excellency Ms Penelope Wensley AC, the 25th Governor of Queensland (Australia) presenting Christina Waterson with a Winston Churchill Fellowship in July 2010 at Government House.

It’s that special time in the calendar when the new Churchill Fellows are announced by The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was founded in 1965 to assist Australians in their search for excellence overseas. It aims to encourage them to gain experience; foster international relationships and cultural exchange; and share this knowledge within Australia as well as the wider global community. The research supported by The Winston Churchill Trust is independent. One hundred talented Australians are awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship annually.

In 2010 I received a Churchill Fellowship. My fellowship took me to Japan, China and Turkey to research the origins or (as I put it) the space within the ancient patterns of these cultures. My experience through the Fellowship propelled me creatively and professionally to another level and continues to inform my practice every day. It was a life changing experience!

This year we welcome 19 new Queensland Churchill Fellows, each following research as diverse as their experience and backgrounds. Their areas of study include research to improve the treatment of head and neck lymphoedema; the economic integration of refugee women at risk; experience of the craftsmanship of men’s costume tailoring; plaster conservation in significant buildings; and the study of unmanned aerial vehicles. Pretty diverse don’t you agree and that is but a snap shot!

Each extremely talented and passionate new Churchill Fellow will undertake their unique overseas research in the coming year.

Salutations to the 2013 Churchill Fellows. Read the list of Fellows and the details of their research here.

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!

My Winston Churchill Fellowship Adventure

My Winston Churchill Fellowship Research took me to Japan, China and Turkey to investigate the origins or (as I put it) the space hidden within the ancient patterns of these cultures. By space I mean:

– physical space (scale, depth, color, dimension, composition)

– non-physical space (accumulated knowledge through history; belief, meaning and intention; culture and way of life; nature and need; technology and local materials; the individual maker’s touch, and contribution)

– and the space of experience (built environment or architecture) in which the patterns are experienced as part of a greater whole.

Therefore my research was very rich and multi-layered, as my focus encompassed not only art, design and architecture but also the essence of the places visited and people met.

The space of experience at The Forbidden City, Beijing China.

Looking through my photographs of the intricate carpets, engravings, metalwork, carving, mosaics, ceramics, and textiles from each of the places I visited, one can only be inspired by the craftsmen and the objects of their making. When you experience them first hand you can feel their life and energy and see the imperfect marks made by their hands. The small discreet deviations from the ordered structure and repetition of the patterns made them human and importantly showed the mark of the individual in the transmission of stories, beliefs and skills from generation to generation, across materials, processes and culture.

Details that make the whole, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul Turkey.

Colours and Patterns of Nature, Colours and Patterns of Place; Oriental Rugs at Liberty of London.

Materials and colors are of the place. They stem from the original natural environment of the time. The artefacts were made from these materials by people out of need in their everyday lives. The primitive patterns experienced record ancient man’s connection and dependence on nature and season. The meaning of the motifs, colors and significance of a pattern subtly vary from country to country, workshop to workshop, and artisan to artisan. There is a strong relation between purpose, material, and technique with place, and the realized form of the patterns.

Beautiful Spatial Bamboo Weaving with Ohashi-san, Beppu Japan.

The relationship between nature, making and beliefs in each of the countries was paramount to understanding their patterns. In Japan in particular patterns were based in simplicity, subtlety and beauty. Within the objects of their craft they ritually captured and used materials and processes that revealed the transient nature of their life and surroundings (the passing of seasons, light in the morning, a spider’s web under a new moon). This revealed their deep understanding of the imperfect and impermanent qualities of space and objects with the passing of time and through nature’s forces.

Very moving and personal experience of Karakami with Toto and Aiko from Karacho.

One of my key recommendations that came out of my research was to Foster further research and practice that reflects our own Australian natural environment and identity through our history, native materials, process and way of life. My exhibition entitled TRACE at Pin-up Project Space in Melbourne, was an opportunity to Explore these concepts in a series of new studies.

Trace maps and connects the underlying conceptual ideas that thread through the practice of Brisbane-based architect and artist Christina Waterson. By physically surveying the origins of her work, the new collection embodies a 3-dimensional ‘trace’, sketch or echo of past trajectories. A softening of material and a simplification of line results in Waterson’s return to essential forms and qualities. Like a stone smoothed by the tidal waters of the ocean, sharp lines soften to tactile curves and arabesques. A palette of materials that range from rubber, leather and felt resonate with a return to artisan values within the traditions of leatherwork, sewing, beading and macramé. A collection of work within the exhibition is informed by Waterson’s recent Winston Churchill Fellowship Research experiences… extract from Trace Exhibition Floor Sheet

The main body of text within this post includes key extracts from my Winston Churchill Fellowship Report.

Trace Opening Speeches: Norman Johnson (How We Create and Palamont), Fleur Watson (Pin-Up Project Space) and yes that's cheeky me. Photography by Tobias Titz.

Pin Up Project Space. Photography Tobias Titz.

I was so excited to finally share the works in Trace at Pin-Up Architecture and Design Project Space, Melbourne.  This opportunity to exhibit was made possible through the team at Pin-Up Project space. The generous support of How We Create (in mentorship, feedback, prototyping and sponsorship) ensured an amazing exhibition that is truly my best and most inspirational to date. After completing Official Duties I was able to enjoy catching up with the guests who attended the Trace opening.

Dear friends and colleagues Pawel Zab and Brett Duke. Photography by Tobias Titz.

New Scale Screen in the foreground was assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. Photography by Tobias Titz.

Norman Johnson (How We Create and Manager of Palamont) and Patricia Lee (Talented Product Design Officer at Palamont) also prototyped TRACE bracelet for the exhibition...Stay Tuned for details! Photography by Tobias Titz.

The beautiful Amy Hoffman (Light Project) with Simone Steel (Pin-up) who assisted in the lighting and installation of Trace respectively. Photography by Tobias Titz.

Ewan McEoin (Studio Propeller), Kate Rhodes (RMIT Design Hub) and Laura Sullivan (Pin Up). Photography by Tobias Titz.

Looking back through the space. Photography by Tobias Titz.

A very special thank you to Tobias Titz who captured the opening Night beautifully. Please see more of Tobias’ great work at his website.

TRACE invite

I hit the ground running on my return to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Meetings….Studio Work… Submitting my Winston Churchill Fellowship Report… Working with Pin-Up… Receiving awesome sponsorship from How We Create…THANK YOU SO MUCH AGAIN!!!

Playing with Rubber… asking myself Who am I? Who do I think I am after all of the experiences with amazing people from all over the globe… And of course, Lots and Lots of MAKING…

Well the last few weeks I have not blogged much. That’s because I have been in full prep mode for my SOLO exhibition TRACE at Pin-Up Project Space in Melbourne Australia…

TRACE maps and connects the underlying conceptual ideas that thread through the practice of Brisbane based architect and artist Christina Waterson. By physically surveying the origins of her work, the new collection embodies a 3-dimensional ‘trace’, sketch or echo of past trajectories. A softening of material and a simplification of line results in Waterson’s return to essential forms and qualities. Like a stone smoothed by the tidal waters of the ocean, sharp lines soften to tactile curves and arabesques. A palette of materials that range from rubber, leather and felt resonate with a return to artisan values within the traditions of leather work, sewing, beading and macramé.

A collection of work within the exhibition is informed by Waterson’s recent Winston Churchill Fellowship Research experiences.

I am so excited about the new work I may explode at any moment! Stay Tuned!!!

Taking Flight 2011
Christina Waterson pictured with Taking Flight 2011, photography Jon Linkins

I can let you in on a LITTLE secret…

…In March 2012 work informed by my Winston Churchill Fellowship research will feature in a solo exhibition at Pin-Up Project Space in Melbourne. The exhibition is called trace and is part of the L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival’s 2012 Cultural Programme.

“Trace maps key moments within the diverse practice of Australian artist, designer and maker, Christina Waterson. Through an ever-evolving investigation into scale-play, materiality and making, Christina’s work continues to push and pull at the junctures of art, fashion design and architecture. It makes us aware of the depth of space and connects us to the qualities that make the rich world around us including light, texture, materiality and colour. The variations release the potential of ideas, allowing us to envision their possibilities as a piece of jewellery, a wearable textile  or an immersive environment. New works informed by her recent Winston Churchill Fellowship research will be showcased in the exhibition, alongside a selection of works from the Bloom, Komodo and Ocular Series.”

Pin-Up Project Space, Collingwood (March 15 – April 21, 2012)

Curated by Fleur Watson and Christina Waterson

I AM TRULY EXCITED! Check out details at L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival’s 2012 Cultural Programme and STAY TUNED!!!!!

August 25, 2011, Shinjuku-ku,Tokyo!

‘Never never never never give up.’ A misquote from Winston Churchill address to Harrow School England October 29, 1941.

I stepped out for the first time into Shinjuku’s streets. It was hot and the cicadas’ chants  deafened. A young girl on a bicycle whizzed past me. She was wearing a bright yellow T-Shirt with large red writing ‘NEVER GIVE UP’. And so my day begins. The girl disappeared before I could snap a photo.

Japan is so resilient. People have not given up even in the wake of the tsunami that destroyed many lives and much of the city of Minamisoma, in Fukushima prefecture. There is much work that still needs to be done in Fukushima prefecture and assistance greatly needed from the world; at so many levels!

With this in my mind I headed to Bunkyo-ku, to meet with Designer and Architect; Keiji Ashizawa, from Keiji Ashizawa Design.

Correct Quote:

‘Never give in — never, never, never, never — nothing great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. …’

Taking Flight 2011

Taking Flight 2011 (Folded Aluminium wall relief commissioned by Aurecon). Photograph Jon Linkins.

I am an Australian Artist, Designer and Maker about to embark on a Winston Churchill Traveling Fellowship. My Fellowship looks at the origins of patterns and their connection to traditional craft, design and architecture.

I will be traveling to Japan, China and Turkey meeting artisans and designers: also visiting Museums and amazing historical temples that show their craft. I can’t wait to experience the space within the patterns of these cultures. So stay tuned to be inspired!!!