A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

Craft ACT’s new online exhibition Wayfaring features work by four artists who have created carefully crafted jewellery and objects about walked journeys, memory and place. Meaning ‘to travel by foot’, Wayfaring is a creative collaboration tour three Australian cities and featuring work by artists with close associations to Tasmania: Bella Dower, Sara Lindsay, Sarah Stubbs and Zoë Veness.

“In light of COVID-19, many of us have been forced to slow down and have found a renewed appreciation of walks around our own city and surrounds. With the very real prospect of this freedom being taken away, wayfaring is more precious than ever,” said Craft ACT Programs Director Kate Nixon.

Former lecturer at Canberra’s ANU school of art and design, Jan Hogan has written an essay for the exhibition, explaining how the pace of travelling by foot changes how we see and experience our surroundings. It is contemplative and physical and an appropriate metaphor for making objects by hand: “Making is a slowing down of time and the senses. Matter of all kinds can capture the imagination, allowing the body to remember other times, other places. Whilst in varying techniques and approaches, the works all stem out of the sensual body; the touching and gathering, walking and balancing body, situated in place and time,” explains Hogan, who now heads up the school of creative arts at the University of Tasmania.

The first iteration of Wayfaring took place at the influential Radiant Pavilion, Melbourne in September 2019. The second instalment of Wayfaring at Craft ACT builds on the Melbourne show with new work developed by each artist to test materials and processes, combinations of objects and display configurations. The Canberra exhibition will allow the artists to further explore and refine curatorial methods for the final exhibition in Hobart, where the artists first met and discovered their shared interests in making objects.

With social distancing measures firmly in place, Craft ACT has embarked on its own journey – to take exhibitions online to a virtual audience. Although visitors cannot physically visit the gallery, the Wayfaring exhibition can be enjoyed online at craftact.org.au and social media platforms.

“Although Craft ACT's gallery has closed to help slow the rate of infections of COVID-19, we continue to energetically and creatively support our community of artists, designers and contemporary craftspeople. We have refocused our work to digitally connect Australia’s high-quality studio practice to the world and are delighted to host the work of these talented and thoughtful artists in the ambitious Wayfaring exhibition,’ said Rachael Coghlan CEO/Artistic Director of Craft ACT.

A beautiful online catalogue features essays, artist reflections and biographies, photographs and a complete list of works. Most of the works in the exhibition are available for purchase, and artist interviews and video tours will simulate the gallery experience.

Image: Zoë Veness, Wayfaring Vessel 15, 2020. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.