On Craft Cubed

Craft Cubed Festival is an annual celebration of the handmade and the biggest coming together of the craft and design sectors of its kind in Australia.

Craft Cubed launched in 2009 as a new festival of public events, workshops, residencies, exhibitions and forums focused on considering the practical and conceptual elements of craft. Previously known as ‘A Month About Making’, it reflected Craft Victoria’s commitments to contemporary craft and design. Funded by the City of Melbourne, the festival has grown to numbers of just under half a million when the window walk is running. Key creatives who have been involved in the festival in the past 8 years include Michael Doolan, Julia deVille, Nathan Grey, Kate Rohde, Simon MacEwan, Beci Orpin, Katie Somerville, Susan Cohn, Troy Emery and Vicki Couzens. This year’s theme is Craft in Communities and features Linda Hughes, Bianca Mavrick, Penny Modra, Tim Ross, Nathan Jurevicious, Glenda Nicholls, Penny Byrne, Prue Venables, Annie Goebel, Mark Cedro, Anna Varendorff plus many more.

Tim Ross

Tim Ross Photo Credit: Diesel Kang

Craft & Design as a Career 2017 was held over 2 days at The Gallery, previously known as 1000 Pound Bend. The remarkable speakers were varied in experience and perspective on what it means to practice in today’s craft and design community.

Anna Ross spoke from a business manufacturing perspective and also gave great advice about meditation and manifestation in your practice. She intertwined business philosophies with positive thinking and meditation, incorporating great antidotes about her journey. Canada’s Nathan Jurevicius spoke about storytelling and narrative, and how to build on your obsessions and ideas to create meaning in your work. Rayna Fahey gave an unflinching presentation about economics, politics and exploitation in craft. Lucy Simpson told meaningful stories of vision and success with an Aboriginal perspective, featuring family and community. Bianca Mavrick spoke with raw honesty about finding her way and working so hard for success it almost destroyed her. My talk focused on good practice for artists with curators and galleries. Mae Finlayson spoke of her journey to England and back in the last 22 years and what she did to eventually find herself as a lecturer in contemporary textiles living in Launceston. Cath Hope spoke about her journey as retailer and manufacturer. Tim Ross discussed his career journey and passions, giving comical advice like ‘ignore your friends because your friends don’t believe in you the way they should’ and using social media in a respectful way. Penny Modra, gave advice on writing about your art and craft, creative practice, and practical tips when approaching media. Maryann Talia Pau ended the conference with an unforgettable talk about her 1000,000 Stars to End Violence Project that reached 1 million stars last week. A powerful project in real communities who face violence all over the world.

Sophia Cai

Sophia Cai Photo Credit: Diesel Kang

Break out workshops and advice clinics were hugely popular. These included: Instagram Score Card by Anthea Abell of Full Tilt Nana and Kat Kazanis of The Nitty Gritty; a Product Panel by Beck Jobson, textile artist and author, Sarah Weston, Retail Manager at Craft Victoria, and Cath Hope from Douglas and Hope; and a ‘generating ideas’ workshop ran by Nathan Jurevicius. The Reading Corner curated by Sophia Cai gave visitors an intimate corner to quietly contemplate craft through books, and Craft commissioned zines whilst being immersed in craft installation by artists such as Tai Snaith, May Finlayson, Holly Leonardson and Freda Cheung.

My top 5 picks for the second half of the festival:

Linda Hughes - Striped Inference - 26 August - 16 September

Complete Me presented by Junior Space - until 23 August

Dancing Together presented by e.g.etal - 21 August - 2 September

Narrative to Object: Anna Dixon, Amy Kreitals & Hilary McAllister - 26 August

Wowee! Podcast Live - 19 August

Olivia Poloni is Exhibitions Manager and Curator, Craft.

Main Photo Credit: Diesel Kang