Monthly Archives: September 2015

Spring ChinWag Out Now!

Our latest issue of ChinWag features The Briar Rose! 

chinwag spring

Briar is a gorgeous Maremma puppy who came into care earlier this year and found her perfect home at Gunning Bum Nuts free-range egg farm doing exactly what Maremmas should be doing—flock guarding 5,000 chickens!

Briar and some of 'her' chickens at Gunning Bum Nuts free-range egg farm.

Briar and some of ‘her’ chickens at Gunning Bum Nuts free-range egg farm.

Read what the The Canberra Times Gang Gang had to say about ARF and our latest issue here, and download your copy of ChinWag from our website at www.fosterdogs.org.

If you would like to help or donate to ARF you can find all the information on our website.

Advertisements

An Amazing Body of Work!

Bodywork: Australian Jewellery 1970 – 2012

It’s on and it’s worth a visit. A fascinating exhibition, Bodywork: Australian Jewellery 1970–2012, has opened its doors to the public here in the capital. This unique and must-see travelling exhibition showcases the work of 42 of the country’s most influential, contemporary jewellery designers. By Wendy Johnson.

 

Sunrise and shade, brooch 1981, by Elizabeth Olah. Using sterling silver, 18 carat gold, porcelain, and opal National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Crafts Board Collection donated by the Australia Council 1982

Sunrise and shade, brooch 1981, by Elizabeth Olah. Using sterling silver, 18 carat gold, porcelain, and opal
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Crafts Board Collection donated by the Australia Council 1982

Bodywork has worked its way through five states, inspiring and intriguing thousands of visitors, and has now come home for its last show. Even though the collection is owned by the National Gallery of Australia (NGA), the exhibition is at Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre, as part of its outreach program. Each piece of jewellery in Bodywork was hand-selected by Dr Robert Bell AM, Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design, NGA, who wanted to ‘inspire, intrigue and inform’. The work is beautifully displayed in six specially designed cases.

And Canberra can hold its head high. Four jewellery designers from here were selected for Bodywork; Robert Foster, of Fink + Co, Simon Cottrell, Head of the Gold and Silversmithing Workshop at ANU, both Accredited Professional Members of Craft ACT, and Helen Aitken-Kuhnen and Johannes Kuhnen of Bilk Gallery in Manuka.The jewellery is grouped under six themes— Romanticism, Interpreting the Vernacular, Encapsulating Nature, Technics, Social Message, and Sculpture for the Body. All pieces come from the NGA’s jewellery collection, which is the largest collection in the country.

Sheep, pendant c.1979 sterling silver, carved quartz by Eléna Gee National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Crafts Board Collection donated by the Australia Council 1982

The diversity of design, materials and technique used to design and create each piece in this stunning collection is fascinating and so too is the short film featuring Dr Bell, which provides deeper insights. Pieces include brooches, arm bands, lockets, rings, bangles, and pendants created out of a wide range of materials such as gold, sterling silver, copper, coral, aluminium and polypropylene.

 

Image left: Sheep, pendant c.1979
sterling silver, carved quartz by Eléna Gee
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Crafts Board Collection donated by the Australia Council 1982

 

 

Some pieces will take you by surprise, like Brenda Ridgewell’s Space edifice armband (2002), made of silver and carat gold. Brenda’s jewellery is architectural in form and often articulated and adjustable, allowing it move with the body.

Brenda Ridgewell Space edifice, armband 2002 by Brenda Ridgewell, using 925 silver and 9 carat gold National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 2003

Space edifice, armband 2002 by Brenda Ridgewell, using 925 silver and 9 carat gold
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 2003

The superb Ocean blue necklace, by Canberra’s Helen Aitken-Kuhnen, is made with finely crushed glass mixed with other materials to form a paste. The glass paste is then put into a mould and heated to fuse it together.

Ocean blue, necklace 2009 in sterling silver, cast glass pâte-de-verre, and stainless steel by Helen Aitken-Kuhnen National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 2009 with funds from the Meredith Hinchliffe Fund

Craft ACT was a natural fit for the last show of Bodywork. “The National Gallery and Craft ACT are both the same age, having opened in the 1970s,” says Dr Bell. “Craft ACT has been part of the national scene for a long time. It’s appropriate that Bodywork’s final showing is in its home town and with our friend CraftAC.”

 

Image right: Ocean blue, necklace 2009 in sterling silver, cast glass pâte-de-verre, and stainless steel by Helen Aitken-Kuhnen
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Purchased 2009 with funds from the Meredith Hinchliffe Fund.

 

 

 

Bodywork: Australian jewellery 1970–2012 is on until Saturday 24 October 2015.

Also showing at the same time at Craft ACT Gallery is Table Tools, a solo exhibition by gold and silversmith Alison Jackson, who is also Craft ACT Accredited Professional Member.

 

10 Vessels in 10 Days

Following on from our Scoop on scoops, LFW learnt of another project by gold and silversmith artist Alison Jackson, who undertook the ultimate challenge of designing and making ‘10 Vessels in 10 Days’. By Wendy Johnson

Artist Alison Jackson - photo by Christine Pobke

Artist Alison Jackson – photo by Christine Pobke

Tucked away in her fully functioning studio, Alison Jackson makes tinkering sounds—falling somewhere between bells and glass crystal singing—as she hand raises her objects using stakes and hammers.

These are the words of Mel George, who has curated a new solo exhibition by Canberra’s gold and silversmith Alison Jackson. The words describe perfectly how this young gold and silversmith works. And they describe what happened over 10 days in April when Alison challenged herself to create one vessel per day. Alison wasn’t working to a deadline set by anyone other than herself for 10 Vessels in 10 Days, and the results of the challenge forms part of Alison’s Table Tools exhibition, on now at Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre.

“It’s a project I had wanted to do for some time. I set myself the challenge of creating one vessel each day, all within working hours. Some days were busier than others. Some days I was tired and some days I really focused and could spend a lot of time on a vessel,” says Alison. “So each vessel has its own character about it.” But why pursue such a high-pressure project?

AJ all ten vessels

“It was an avenue for me to explore different ideas and processes ticking over in my head, a sort of three-dimensional sketch if you like,” says the artist.

For this series, Alison worked in both fine silver and copper. She created the vessels using a technique that has changed little over the centuries. She started each with a flat sheet, sinking it into a hollow of a tree stump to give the metal some shape. Each sheet was then annealed—heated to a critical temperature that returns the metal to its soft state so it can be worked again.

AJ two vessels

Next came the raising process. “Raising is a traditional silversmithing technique, which is a becoming a dying art. It’s intensely time consuming and labour intensive, but is also an incredibly rewarding process,” Alison says. “It’s amazing what you can achieve with a sheet of metal and a hammer. Each day I began with a rough sketch, a scribble on a piece of paper or sometimes just an idea in my head. As the day progressed so too did the vessel. Some ideas changed and evolved through the making process and it became apparent that I needed to be open to these changes.”

But how did Alison deal with the perfectionist burning within, given the time constraints and challenges she set herself for the project?

“Often things didn’t quite turn out how I wanted, drill bits broke in the vessel, shapes weren’t quite as I thought they would be and holes weren’t always centred. It was a challenge to work with these hiccups and still complete pieces I was happy with. Where I usually would re-make a piece, I actually needed to persevere and work with these bumps in the road to achieve a result at the end of the day,” she says.

AJ vessel4

In the end, Alison has developed a special relationship with the set of 10 vessels and is over the moon with the results, saying, ‘they’re quite playful and interesting—each with its own character—perhaps shaped by my thoughts on the day’.

Many bowls in the set are roughly the size of a hand. Some are polished, while in others the patinas contrast with the silver. In some, steel wire—normally only used to secure an object while being made—is used as a feature on the finished work.

AJ three vessels

Alison works full-time out of her own fully equipped silversmithing workshop, called Pocket Studio. She studied at the Australian National University of Art, Gold and Silversmithing Workshop and spent six months studying in Germany at the University of Applied Sciences, Gemstone and Jewellery Design in Idar-Oberstein. She has exhibited throughout Australia and Germany.

Table Tools, including 10 Vessels in 10 Days, was made possible in part because of an Australia Council 2015 New Work Grant and artsACT project funding.

Alison has also just produced two new lines of jewellery, available at Agency, Ori Building, Braddon, along with some of Alison’s more permanent retail range of tableware and cutlery. You can explore Alison’s work on her new website http://www.alisonjackson.com.au

AJ vessel3

All vessel photographs by Angela Bakker

Table Tools, including 10 Vessels in 10 Days runs from 11 September to 24 October at Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre, Level 1, North Building, 180 London Circuit, Canberra City. Tuesday to Friday 10 am to 5 pm and Saturday 12 pm to 4 pm

The Scoop on scoops!

or ‘Art for Foodies’ by Wendy Johnson

Brass scoops by Alison Jackson photo by Christine Pobke

Brass scoops by Alison Jackson – photo by Angela Bakker

It’s not every day that a famous chef, restaurateur and judge of a multiple award-winning television show gives the big tick to the work of a Canberra artist. But that’s what MasterChef’s Gary Mehigan did this week for the gorgeous pieces in Table Tools, a special exhibition by gold and silversmith Alison Jackson. And a mighty big tick it was, with Gary saying Alison’s new work is ‘the ultimate art collection for foodies’.

Artists Alison Jackson - photo by Christine Pobke

Artists Alison Jackson – photo by Christine Pobke

It’s no surprise when you think about it. This is Alison’s first solo exhibition and she is destined to become a star. “It only took me seven years to get around to doing an exhibition,” she says. “It’s amazing that it’s now here.”

The exhibition features about 48 high-end pieces, made from materials such as fine silver, silver, copper, brass, and steel wire. Alison has created spoons of varying shapes and sizes, scoops, pouring vessels, whisks, bowls and more. Each piece has been handcrafted using traditional and intense silver smithing processes and techniques, both of which require a high level of skill. Alison starts with a flat sheet and hammers the metal over many stages and through many processes to create a whole new form.

Photo by Christine Pobke

Artist at work – photo by Christine Pobke

While it takes oodles of time and patience, this rather primitive process is near and dear to Alison’s heart. “It’s a way for me to explore different ideas and processes that are ticking over in my head,” says the artist. The result with Table Tools is a series of one-off designs that will be treasured by those who ultimately own them, forever and a day.

Stainless steel pourers - photo by Alison Jackson

Stainless steel pourers – photo by Alison Jackson

Alison describes all of her work as simple, refined and pared back. Don’t be fooled, however. This is contemporary work that is highly functional, and beautiful. “I create for people to use my pieces every day,” she says. “They’re great for special occasions, but not just for special occasions. And they’re made to stand the test of time.”

Assorted utensils - photo by Christine Pobke

Assorted utensils – photo by Angela Bakker

Mel George, Curator and Exhibitions Manager at Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre, says Alison’s work doesn’t just happen. “Her work is informed by research and she’s extremely focused and dedicated to her art, fusing traditional silver smithing handcraft techniques with contemporary industrial processes,” says Mel. “Alison is intrigued by the way people interact with their objects as well as how objects shape a space, influence an environment and become part of experience.”

While all pieces in Table Tools have names, Alison doesn’t want to dictate how they should be used. “Pieces are designed to be flexible. I want people to be inspired by their imagination and not restrict themselves to one use,” she says. “I want the objects to transform everyday experiences—like eating out of a bowl—into something special.”

Ladles - photo by Christine Pobke

Ladles – photo by Angela Bakker

Alison works full-time out of her own fully equipped silversmithing workshop, called Pocket Studio, where she also teaches short courses. She studied at the Australian National University School of Art, Gold and Silver smithing Workshop, working part time at Australian contemporary design firm, Fink and Co. Alison has also spent six months studying in Germany at the University of Applied Sciences, Gemstone and Jewellery Design in Idar-Oberstein. She has exhibited throughout Australia and Germany. Table Tools was made possible in part because of an Australia Council 2015 New Work Grant and artsACT project funding.

Alison has also just produced two new lines of jewellery, available at Agency, Ori Building, Braddon, along with some of Alison’s more permanent range of tableware and cutlery. You can explore Alison’s work on her new website: www.alisonjackson.com.au

Table Tools opens tomorrow at Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre and runs until Saturday 24 October.

 

 

Table Tools—11 September to 24 October, Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre, Level 1, North Building, 180 London Circuit, Canberra City. Tuesday to Friday 10 am to 5 pm. Saturday 12 pm to 4 pm

Hot Diggity Dog!

Just because we’re in the Year of Eating Healthy doesn’t mean we miss out on the cool stuff—including Hot Dogs! Can a hot dog be healthy? Yes, it can! By Emma Dowling

Basic hot dog sausage and mixed salad

LFW healthy hot dog with mixed salad of cherry tomatoes, mixed leaves, and feta

Hot dogs are traditionally made with Frankfurters which, let’s face it, are pretty ‘blerk’. Quite aside from the fact that they’re made from chicken offcuts (not pork) after all the good stuff has been cut off—they’re also stuffed full of sodium (salt), preservatives, flavouring (to make them taste like pork), and E120 red colouring (carmine/cochineal) before being squeezed into a tube. Add to that they’re ‘bulked out’ with carbohydrate starch (potato, wheat flour, or rusk) and powdered milk. They are, in fact, one of the most processed and least natural foods on the planet, and let’s be honest they taste marginally better than the plastic wrap they come in! And if that doesn’t put you off we don’t know what will!

So in the interest of still enjoying a hot dog, and still eating healthy we came up with a few alternatives using ‘proper’ sausages, gluten-free wholegrain buns, and heaps of yummy extras!

Yummy hot dog sausage with home-made cole slaw

Classic LFW hot dog with home-made cole-slaw

Now we’re not advocating you make your own sausages but we strongly suggest that you start your healthy hot dog with a good quality sausage, and we can’t stress enough that you read the label to find out what’s actually in your humble sausage. Country Pride brand (available from selected supermarkets and gourmet butchers) are a good choice and most are low-fat, low-salt and some are gluten-free. There was a rumour going around at one time that this brand couldn’t really be sausages because the product contained too much meat! Seriously!

Spicy hot dog with Asian pickles and green chilli

Give your hot dog a kick with spicy Asian pickles and green chilli

This article in Choice recommends that you look for a sausage with:

  • less than 5g saturated fat
  • less than 450mg sodium (salt) per 100g
  • as few processed ingredients as possible.

If you’re choosy about your sausages, you can enjoy the occasional hot dog without guilt. Enjoy!

Hot dog with bacon and avocado salad

Super-tasty hot dog with bacon and avocado salad. Yum!

In all our hot dogs we used low-fat GF beef sausages, Pure Bred GF rolls, and heaps of salad.