Women in Design at Design Tasmania

By Penny Craswell

This is the third year of Women in Design, a conference with an all-female line-up of speakers held in Launceston by Design Tasmania. Attending for the first time this year, my expectations were high – those I’d spoken to who attended previous years had given glowing reports. And I was not disappointed – this conference is inspirational and empowering in a profound way. This year’s theme – design for social engagement – may have added to the overall sense that this group of women are not only inspirational, but also highly authentic, hard-working and intelligent. Each shared her research, design practice, business or personal experience with a level of truth and dedication to the subject that was outstanding.

Women in Design was held in Launceston. Photo: Bruce Moyle, Joffre Street Productions

The whole event began with a beautiful welcome to country by Tasmanian Aboriginal Elder Aunty Patsy Cameron who led a smoking ceremony – the coals from the fire warmed the cold Tasmanian air and sent up clouds of smoke from the burnt eucalyptus leaves. Cameron then prepared a bowl of ochre, painting a moon and two stars on the hand of each woman present, while the men were asked to dip their thumb in the ochre. After moving back inside and a presentation on local produce from Kim Seagram from Fermentasmania and Harvest Market Tastings, a panel discussion was led by Karina Clark, CEO of Design Tasmania and mastermind of this year’s Women in Design event. Clark interviewed two of the makers who worked with Kirsha Kaechele on the Pro Paradox exhibition currently on show in Design Tasmania’s gallery. Sabrina Evans (Sabia) discussed her textile and fashion work including the kimonos she made for the project, while Nana Bayer shared the story of her ceramics, including a series with shapes inspired by the vulva. Kirsha Kaechele, artist and art curator, wife of David Walsh of MONA fame and larger-than-life personality around Tassie, was on hand to describe how the pieces fit into the puzzle – a performative feast-as-installation that evolved from her fertility-themed wedding feast. Read more

Shelter Hacks event as part of Fugitive Structures

This post is really more of a thank you note for the Shelter Hacks event I curated on Wednesday – to the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation‘s Gene Sherman who is a continual inspiration, and to Danielle, Sophie and the rest of the team for being great to work with. Also thanks to the speakers: Fenella Kernebone for being a wonderful moderator, NSW Architects Registrar Timothy Horton for giving his time and expertise (as well as a good dose of humour) and Heidi Axelsen and Hugo Moline of MAPAA, the artist/architecture duo behind Owner Occupy at SCAF for sharing their ideas which were the inspiration for the evening’s discussion.

Tim Horton, Hugo Moline, Heidi Axelsen and Fenella Kernebone at Shelter Hacks. Photo: Penny Craswell
Tim Horton, Hugo Moline, Heidi Axelsen and Fenella Kernebone at Shelter Hacks. Photo: Penny Craswell

The panel discussion turned out to be a fantastic opportunity to throw around ideas about shelter, new housing models, how cities grow, the role of architects and policy-makers in creating human-centred dwellings. Read more

Invitation: Shelter Hacks art and architecture discussion

By Penny Craswell

I’m pleased to announce that, as part of The Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation’s Fugitive Structures series, I am curating a series of art and architecture forums, exploring some of the ideas relating to the Fugitive Structures pavilions and installations. The first is on Wednesday 16 September at SCAF in Sydney and is called Shelter Hacks. This discussion is based on Owner Occupy by Hugo Moline and Heidi Axelsen currently showing at SCAF.

Hugo Moline and Heidi Axelsen: Owner Occupy, 2015, Timber dowel, Downee pipe fixings, copper saddles, cotton duck fabric. Prototype installation view, commissioned by Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation.
Hugo Moline and Heidi Axelsen: Owner Occupy, 2015, Timber dowel, Downee pipe fixings, copper saddles, cotton duck fabric. Prototype installation view, commissioned by Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation.

This “conversation curated by Penny Craswell” is moderated by TV and radio presenter Fenella Kernebone and includes four speakers: Tarsha Finney, Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture, UTS; Timothy Horton, Registrar, NSW Architects Registration Board; and Hugo Moline & Heidi Axelsen of MAPAA, architecture-artist duo, creators of Owner Occupy. Read more

Reproduction, Replica or Rip Off? Launch sparks furniture debate

Reproduction, Replica or Rip Off? Launch sparks furniture debate

“Replica, reproduction or rip off? It’s likely what you call a fake piece of designer furniture depends on if you would have one in your house or not. Over the last few years designer fakes have been seen as big issue in the Australian interior design industry. For example Authentic Design Alli ance was set up a couple of years ago to petition government for change and educate both the design industry and consumers.

“The topic of fakes or copies came up last week I attended the launch of Penny Craswell’s The Design Writer blog at Stylecraft. The panel consisted of 3 Australian furniture designers – Keith Melbourne, Helen Kontouris and Greg Natale. The issue of copying was raised by Penny as part of the panel discussion and certainly dominated the audience comments at the end of the night. Whilst none of the designers present had yet had the (dubious) honour of having their pieces copied, all are aware of how prevalent cheap (and even not so cheap) reproductions are – and that they seem to be are comprising a growing segment of the furniture market in Australia.”

Interior designer and blogger Ceilidh Higgins has published a fantastic article sparked by the debate on replicas at the launch of this blog last week.

Thank you Ceilidh for the thought-provoking article from an interior designer’s perspective.

Read more here.