Anniversaries are a good time to reflect on the changes brought about by the passage of time.
In 2016, we proudly celebrated the ten-year anniversary of the Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre annual artist-in-residence program that gives a leading craft artist, designer or writer the opportunity to immerse themselves in the environment of Namadgi National Park. This remarkable collaboration allows artists to translate the beautiful and infinitely variable qualities of both craft and nature to the contemporary world.
Craft ACT and the ACT Parks and Conservation Service established the residency as a symbol of resilience and optimism in the wake of the 2003 bushfires that swept through the landscape west of Canberra and into our city. In the decade since it was set up, the program has become as rhythmic as the seasons in the annual offerings of Craft ACT: a ritual that reveals surprise and inspiration. We are as happy to be its caretaker and witness as our friends at the Parks Service are to care for the Ready-Cut Cottage in the Gudgenby Valley, where the artists reside.
Time is relative. This program is ten years old, Craft ACT is more than 40 years old, craft practice in the Namadgi area is as old as its habitation by the Ngunnawal people, and the landscape itself is much older still. When an artist accepts our invitation to stay in the park as part of this program, they are traversing these timelines and these histories, their intersections and diversions. The residency brings precious stillness, solitude and space: artists have found, time and again, that their practice is profoundly altered by the experience of nature, as you will see in the work in this catalogue.
The anniversary is an opportunity for us to thank the ACT Parks and Conservation Service for their continuing collaboration and energetic advocacy of this important program for the Canberra community. I would also like honour the many people who have shaped the program over the years: the research partners, artsACT, former directors of Craft ACT, current and former staff and, of course, the artists themselves.
CEO / Artistic Director
Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre
7 April - 13 May 2017 : Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre
12 July – 6 September 2017: Tidbinbilla Visitor Centre
Catalogue is available for sale through the Craft ACT shop