New to the Walsh Bay Arts & Commerce business community is Craft NSW at an all-new gallery, exhibition and education space in Argyle Place. The gallery is a vibrant conversion of a heritage terrace house, designed by flamboyant fibre and textile artist Pam de Groot. It features several viewing rooms where the bespoke creations of member artisans are showcased – from textiles and fashion to jewellery, ceramics, glass and more. Artist installations are hosted in the upstairs exhibition space while a feature window on street level is regularly refreshed with members’ work.
Celebrating 113 years of continuous handicraft in Australia this August, Craft NSW is a unique, creative collaboration, originally founded in 1906 by a group of craft makers who wanted to share their artistic passions and talents. The movement grew organically until its modest studios were no longer large enough to accommodate the many artisans who wanted to take part. For the past 11 years, The Coroner’s Court in George Street has been home to the society and its gallery.
Craft NSW members are excited to be sharing their skills and knowledge with other creatives and the community through the gallery which also hosts regular workshops. Among techniques you can try are wood spoon carving, weaving and basketry to felting and 3D knitting.
“The workshops are engaging and nourishing for anyone open to being enriched by acquiring a new skill or simply enjoying some time in the company of creative,” Liz Gemmell says. “No experience is necessary. Our approach speaks to each person’s way of learning.”
Craft NSW is a Not For Profit charity so individual members volunteer their time to keep the gallery operating and offer visitors unique insight into their techniques and inspiration. Their philosophy holds true to the ideals of the founding members – excellence in hand work and contemporary design, exploration of Australian themes and motifs and promotion of heirloom techniques and crafts through exhibition and demonstration.
More than 60 local artists and craft makers are represented. Experience the magical world of Elaine Farrington, whose captivating
‘little birds’ are delightfully fashioned kaleidoscopes of coloured glass and medallions of native flannel flowers. Discover the delicate hand painted silk creations of Jane Hinde who uses foraged Australian flora and an innovative combination of batik technique, watercolour painting and fibre-reactive dyes to colour and texture exquisite designs inspired by the Australian wilderness. Ceramicist Sue Fraser takes inspiration from calligraphy and Tang Dynasty sculpture and channels her equine passions into whimsical works that portray horses as ‘auspicious symbols of economic prosperity, vehicles of conquest, messengers and mounts of the gods and visions of beauty whose spirit crosses cultural divides.’
Craft NSW is the longest standing arts and crafts organisation in Australia. The possibility of not just looking but learning direct from Australian artisans is what attracts the interest of international visitors, from Asia, the US and all over the world. The gallery is a rare haven for authentic designs and techniques that have been handed down through the generations.
Walsh Bay Arts & Commerce are very excited to now have this local treasure in our own backyard.
Find Craft NSW at 12 Argyle Place. The gallery doors open daily from 10am-5pm.
For more information and details of workshops and exhibitions visit www.artsandcrafts.nsw.com.au