The Craft of Carnival.

Elaborate Costumes Send a Message of Breaking Free from Slavery and Racism with Optimism and Hope.

It all began in the summer of 1958 in West London when racial tensions grew in the Afro-Caribbean community. Riots went on for three days with over 100 people getting arrested over the bank holiday weekend.

In 1959, the human rights activist, Claudia Jones who was also a Trinidadian journalist, decided to organise an indoor Caribbean carnival to bring all the communities together. That’s when the ‘concept’ of the Notting Hill Carnival came about.

Fifty-four years later, it is the second largest street festival in the world attracting up to 2 million visitors from all over the globe and contributing around £93 million to the UK’s economy, annually (but not this year, as the Carnival is cancelled in 2020).

Every year, around 15,000 costumes are handmade for the carnival parade. Taking over a million hours to create, the main message behind these elaborate costumes is breaking free from slavery and racism, while the music represents the life left behind by the Caribbean community after the emancipation of the freed African slaves from the Caribbean.

This short film The Craft of Carnival, commissioned by the Crafts Council (UK), goes behind the scenes with Mahogany Carnival to discover the craft that helps make it a success each year.

(Photo: @mahoganycarnival ; Text derived from and courtesy of thelondonnottinghillcarnival.com )

The Craft of the Carnival was featured in the 2017 edition of Reel to Real: The Craft Film Festival.

Submit your short film for the Makers’ Film Festival 2021 – and tell your community’s story. Calling now for submissions from all countries of the Indian Ocean, Australia and New Zealand.

Reading + Listening + Learning + Watching

Some craft and inspiration links

During your ‘COVID-19 Residency’, you might enjoy some of these articles, podcasts, videos and online courses in the list of links below.  It’s an unashamedly random collection.  Some fun, some inspiring, not exactly ‘pd’* and certainly not paid endorsements! Scroll down for podcasts, online tutorials, and access to the world’s archives…
(*A ‘Useful Craft Resources’ page is coming soon.)

We’ll keep adding to this, so please share your links too, by commenting below or emailing us.

Reading

  • Coronavirus offers “a blank page for a new beginning” : The coronavirus epidemic will lead to “a global recession of a magnitude that has not been experienced before” but will eventually allow humanity to reset its values, according to trend forecaster Li Edelkoort. See also podcast of interview with Li below.
  • What is Crafts Role in a Fast Changing World: Crafts Council UK: a discussion about the issues fuelling craftspeople today, from gender politics to migration.
  • American Craft Inquiry, Volume 2, Issue 2  : Read the online magazine. Full of fantastic visuals and in-depth writing.
  • Garland Magazine: thoughtful articles about beautiful objects made today across the Indo-Pacific; produced by the World Crafts Council – Australia. Explore some of the 877 stories on the platform!
  • The Australian Ceramics Association offers a digital archive of the first 56 years of its Journal publication to everyone, FREE! Browse over 150 issues full of articles, technical information on glazes and kilns, in-depth profiles and critical opinions on Australian ceramics.

Listening

Time Sensitive features candid, revealing portraits of curious and courageous people in business, the arts, and beyond who have a distinct perspective on time. Trend Forecaster Li Edelkoort on Why Doing Less Is More

Soul Traders podcast: two West Australian chicks’ new podcast about working as a creative freelancer. It’s just started but we know it will be gold. Photographer Bo Wong & writer Amy Snoekstra. (This link is to Spotify but also available on other pod platforms.)

Web TV

Craft America – various episodes:  Artists explore issues of gender, race, culture and place, offering true expressions of their experience in this world on film.

Hermes Documentaries including ‘Luxury is that which can be repaired’, ‘The Story of an exceptional saddle-maker’ and ‘Manufacto: Shaping One’s Life by Making Objects’.

Learning Online

  • Around 30 free or near free short uni courses from around the world available online in art and design. Including ‘Innovation through Design:Think, Make, Break, Repeat’ from Sydney and ‘The Power of Podcasting for Storytelling’ from Wollongong.
  • Craft Club: on the Crafts Council website, look for the Downloads on the right hand side of this page for lots of at home craft projects – suitable for beginners and experts, such as knitted jewellery and a cardboard automata.
  • Woolmark Learning Centre: I nearly wept when I saw the opportunity to learn more about the beautiful material of wool (it’s an ancestry thing) – courses for industry and tertiary level, as well as the plain interested.
  • How to Weave a Basket with Tjanpi Desert Weavers, who also have a learn to weave kick-starter pack. Tjanpi Desert Weavers is a social enterprise of the NPY Women’s Council, working with over 400 Anangu/Yarnangu women artists from 26 remote communities in the remote Central and Western desert regions, who earn an income from contemporary fibre art. ‘Tjanpi’ means grass in Pitjantjatjara language.
  • Stop Motion School: Free online course to keep you and the kids busy. The instructor, Trisha Zemp (@trishazemp) says she “will help you create your very own stop motion videos. Whether you are 7 or 107, this class is sure to be a blast!” [untested]
  • Learn how to maximise your craft business via Pinterest: Learn about how Pinterest could help your business with local WA entrepreneur and strategist Kate Wilkinson.

Free patterns for the stitch and yarn community

  • Rose Megirian of Many Peaks Assembly has provided links to FREE sewing patterns and created some instructional videos on sewing techniques, such as ‘Sewing French Seams’. Rose is a locally based Fremantle designer maker and entrepreneur.
  • Rowan Yarns produces some of the most beautiful yarn shades and patterns for crochet and knitting, as well as patterns in collaborations with UK top designers; based in Huddersfield, Yorkshire. Many of the patterns suitable for beginner to intermediate to expert are free online, as well as crochet and knitting tutorials in their tips and tricks. Their magazine is also full of knitting inspo, available via their new app.
  • The Australian Yarn Company – free knitting patterns from the stable of Cleckheaton, Panda, Patons and Shepherd.
  • Yarnspirations – free knit, crochet and quilt patterns and video library of tutorials. Based in Georgia, USA.

Fun stuff 

Browsing Binges

With Google Arts & Culture, you can tour over 500 art institutions worldwide, including the V&A, the world’s leading museum of art and design in London, where you can browse exhibits and over 5000 objects. Also other art museums such as the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, and many others.

The Internet Archive has literally billions of resources. There is so much in this Archive, that we may lose you for years. It is a not-for-profit digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artefacts in digital form. It provides free access to researchers, historians, scholars, the print disabled, and the general public. Their mission is to provide Universal Access to All Knowledge. Explore The Smithsonian and Guggenheim catalogues, look out for ‘how-to‘ books and videos about crafts, vintage films, and so much more.

COVID-19 Residency Opportunity

Every day we hear about another craft market, art fair, and exhibition opening being cancelled and it’s going to be a while until normal activities resume. It’s time to stay at home and in the studio. To hunker down, stay safe.

This enforced ‘residency’ provides us with some opportunities to focus on our practice, we can literally practice more, hone our skills, explore new designs and techniques, do many of the things we never seem to have the time to do.

As some say, embrace isolation – ‘it’s what we’ve been training for’.

Here are just a few ideas, please add more in the comments below,

  • Be resourceful with materials, reuse, recycle, try something you haven’t dared to before
  • Try a new technique, experiment, learn something new
  • Prepare work for exhibitions, fairs and events; be ready when things start to boom again – which they will, when folks are eager to get out and engage again
  • Spend time zooshing up your online presence, write your bio, tell us about your work
  • Engage online with other makers, get in touch, converse on VOIP, explore collaborations and opportunities
  • Tidy your studio
  • Get your admin in order, do your dreaded tax return
  • Stop. Think. Read. Research. Play.
  • … and above all be thoughtful, be kind to others and those who are worse off than you. Share.

See our other post with some links to interesting and fun stuff: READING + LISTENING + LEARNING + WATCHING

 

Regional screenings of Real to Reel

Hi all,

Real to Reel – coming to a screen near you soon. See our events page for upcoming dates in March 2020 for screenings in regional centres in South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales.

Real to Reel adds more dates to its Australian tour

‘Real to Reel: The Craft Film Festival’ is touring Australia with more dates being announced…

The next screening will be on Friday 1 November 2019 in Cowra (NSW), hosted by Cowra Regional Art Gallery and showing at Cowra Civic Centre Theatrette. Here’s the ticketing link and see our Tour Listing for more details.

It’s really empowering to see, in our second year hosting this short film festival about craft, that interest is growing – we’ve had several enquiries from regional centres and craftspeople about hosting a screening of the 33 films. As a result we are looking forward to announcing more dates soon – likely in Northern Territory, South Australia, New South Wales and regional WA.

If you are interested in hosting a screening – let us know ASAP, as time will run out in March 2020 for this international selection.

The Makers’ Short Film Festival 2020 – an Australian selection of films about craft and makers.

We’ve said it out loud, so we are now charged with compiling an Australian film festival about craft in 2020. The UK Crafts Council is taking a break, so we’ve hopped into the gap and decided to give a platform to some of the amazing films we know are out there about makers in Oz. We will announce the call-out for submissions soon – so subscribe to our newsletter for first info.

Until then – and as it’s suddenly winter again out there – keep making!

ABC Arts – Ed Ayres interviews Justine Bonenfant

Justine Bonenfant shares some of her experiences as a couture embroiderer working for international designers and celebrities with Ed Ayres on The Art Show on Radio National.

We are delighted to host Justine in Perth to deliver Hand & Lock‘s introductory classes in some haute couture embroidery techniques.

You can download and listen to Justine at your leisure, using the link on the ABC  Radio National website.

[ https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/the-art-show/justine-bonenfant/11371352 ]

We are currently on the second day of a Hand & Lock Goldwork class with Justine, at the Midland Junction Arts Centre, on the outskirts of Perth. It is a delight to learn from such an experienced teacher and along the way to hear tales of couture ateliers, designers, celebrities – as well as Justine’s international life, living between, London, Chennai and Lille, her hometown.

This weekend* Justine will teach a three-day class in Tambour Beading at Calico & Ivy in Mosman Park (Perth). It is another exacting technique, not often taught outside the ateliers, such as The Lesage School in Paris. However, Hand & Lock London run a variety of classes and with whom we are delighted to collaborate to deliver classes in Western Australia.

Achieving skill in Goldwork and Tambour Beading requires hours of practice, but the basics can be taught in two-three days as an introduction only. Both involve significant set up of your base fabric on stretch frames, to set a good foundation for your detailed work.

Selected students from Edith Cowan University, North Metro TAFE and South Metro TAFE have been able to enjoy Maker&Smith sponsored places to extend their skills and to augment their final year collections. Congratulations to those students: Orli, Bridie, Jill and Jess. We wish you all the best.

If you are keen to learn such techniques as delivered in this year’s Maker & Smith masterclasses – let us know.

*Sat 10, Sun 11, Mon 12 August 2019

Rare embroidery skills to be taught in Perth

Justine Bonenfant will join us in August to deliver extraordinary workshops in Goldwork and Tambour Beading. She ordinarily works at the Hand and Lock atelier in London where the British Royal Family and many eminent fashion designers commission embroidery projects of the highest calibre.

We are delighted to partner with Calico & Ivy in Mosman Park and Midland Junction Arts Centre to host these amazing workshops.

About Justine

Justine Bonenfant, originally from northern France, is an embellishment designer and embroidery artisan. Following a fashion degree at Esmod International, Justine assisted designers in Marrakech and London. Whilst researching fabric in Milan and Paris she developed a fascination with handcrafted textiles. This led her to the prestigious Lesage School in Paris to improve her knowledge in hand embroidery, from Luneville to silk-shading. In 2010 Justine received the QEST Broderers’ Company grant enabling her to follow a six-month apprenticeship at traditional embroidery company Hand & Lock.

At Hand & Lock she mastered the couture embroidery technique Tambour Beading, the traditional ceremonial embroidery technique of Goldwork and monogramming. She is now one of the highly skilled teachers at Hand & Lock specialising in these techniques. Through her work, Justine experiments to translate these timeless embroidery techniques into contemporary design, for example combining plastic with precious gold.  Justine has also worked with luxury design houses, including Ralph & Russo and Jasper Conran.

About Hand & Lock

Hand & Lock has produced the world’s finest embroidery since 1767. Their clients include the Royal Family, the forces, international fashion houses, emerging designers, interior designers, PR companies and costume designers for theatre, film, and television.

INFO & BOOKINGS

Please go to our event listing for dates and how to book.

Real to Reel returns to Perth and tours to Sydney and Melbourne

Craft on Screen! The international film festival with a difference is back again in Perth.  Real to Reel celebrates the diversity of craft, materials and makers in 33 short films shown across two screenings.

We are delighted to continue our partnership with the Crafts Council UK to again host ‘Real to Reel: The Craft Film Festival’ in Australia.

The festival is a unique opportunity to witness craft in action and the narratives, passion and skill inherent in the creation of works. It provides a global perspective and again, the programme unites some unusual and perhaps unexpected tales of making – from miniatures, to replica birds’ eggs, to a human powered bakery – along with animations that bring to life fibre, wool, clay and found objects.

This year we are stoked that three films in the international selection are from Australia – featuring Tjanpi Desert Weavers’ animations and the working life of WA woodturner Neil Turner, filmed by Fremantle-based Rae Fallon.

To find dates and info, read more and more importantly buy tickets (please), via our Event Page: Real to Reel: The Craft Film Festival 2019.

Real to Reel: The Craft Film Festival is produced by the Crafts Council and Crafts magazine.

Why we run workshops

At Maker&Smith we set out to inject energy into the craft sector, here, in Western Australia. As well as bringing in skilled makers from overseas to share techniques and networks, we also run workshops and talks delivered by local makers and smiths.
We’ve spent quite a bit of time lately with the good people of Joondalup (a suburb in the north of Perth, WA), thanks to the ‘Adorn program‘, which we contributed to. As we developed a short program of talks and workshops to complement an exhibition of the members of the Jewellers & Metalsmiths Group of WA, we had the good fortune of getting to know local studio jewellers and smiths. So much so that I’m confident we can say many are now our best friends!
[Image above left to right: Claire Townsend, Katherine Kalaf, Sarah Elson, Alister Yiap, Susannah Kings-Lynne,  Melissa Cameron, Bethamy Linton.]

Adorn Workshops

Last weekend Claire Townsend and Sarah Elson delivered workshops on Enamelling and Cuttlebone Casting. We feel very strongly about the power of workshops like these to instil an appreciation and understanding of what it takes to be a skilled maker.

Years in the Making

Years in the making, these artisans are artists as well as makers and teachers – their design training, creative concepts and personal narratives combine with their knowledge of materials and techniques to take their work to a high level. It becomes apparent as participants delve into the basics of these techniques in a 6-hour workshop how hard it is to perfect skills and also the endless possibilities of materials, and their limitations. Making mistakes and failing repeatedly make for good learning. In that short time you realise the long hours, dedication and resilience it must take to be an accomplished maker.
Both Claire and Sarah are also professional teachers. Beyond their art, craft & design training, they’ve been teaching at a tertiary level for over 25 years, each. They have also perfected how best to impart the basics in 6 hours! Not everyone can do this; we get that.

Sadly, the degree and certificate courses that Claire & Sarah taught are gradually being cut from our education systems. The times are changing. The depth and rigour of the design, creative and technical skills that we once had access to, are becoming hard to find in the institutions. We watch and wait to see how this will affect the quality of skills and products in our region. (More on this at our Craft Conversations.)

Rigorous Education

Sadly, the degree and certificate courses that Claire & Sarah taught are gradually being cut from our education systems. The times are changing. The depth and rigour of the design, creative and technical skills that we once had access to, are becoming hard to find in the institutions. We watch and wait to see how this will affect the quality of skills and products in our region. (More on this at our Craft Conversations.)

Our Pledge to You

As well as workshops – we know the power of films, talks, demonstrations and open studios too (… to promote a wider understanding of the many years it takes to not only be proficient but to be an outstanding maker.)

We pledge to do our best to engage experienced teachers and accomplished makers. And we hope that in this small way we can generate better skills and greater appreciation of craftspeople.
We are so full of ideas for our program! If only time and budgets can make it all possible.
Soon we will announce our Winter Program – which we are certainly excited about and we hope you will be too.
We love to hear from you about your ideas, so talk to us.

Melissa Cameron: 1.1.2017

Meet Melissa Cameron and learn more about her contemporary jewellery practice at the Adorn: Contemporary Craft Conversations on Sunday 24 March 2019.

Melissa won the 2017 Raphael Prize and the film by Michael Pisano (Pisano Films) gives you a hint as to some of what Melissa will share with us on Sunday 24 March in Joondalup. She will describe a lot more to do with technique, materials and the complementary inter-activities that emboldened this series of work:

“Cameron’s winning artwork “1.1.2017” catalogues one day of gun violence in the USA. A total of 62 fatal gun incidents happened in 55 places throughout the U.S. on January 1, 2017 with 66 guns involved and 73 people impacted.”

YouTube link to film: https://youtu.be/04qzKouZCO8

Featured: Melissa Cameron, GUN. Art work by Melissa Cameron, depicting through the motifs used and numerical data, the 2012 Sandy Hook mass-murder perpetrated by Adam Lanza.