Call out: 2021 Craft ACT CO:LAB

Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre invites contemporary craft practitioners to apply for CO:LAB, a new development program which includes an exhibition, mentoring, sustainability advice, professional photography and an artist fee.

Two artists will be selected for this opportunity, receiving $5000 each:

  • 1 Craft ACT Accredited Professional Member
  • 1 Craft ACT member (any category)

An initiative supported by the Craft ACT Circle of Hands donor circle, the new CO:LAB program encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration and supports creative industries.

We encourage applications from artists who embrace a spirit of collaboration and wish to work across disciplines and gain exposure to commercial environments with other designers and clients.

The pilot of the CO:LAB program will be implemented to coincide with Craft ACT’s 50th anniversary year in 2021.

Submissions close: Monday 8 February 2021, 12 noon. Apply here.

The opportunity

The Craft ACT CO:LAB is open to professional, practicing craft practitioners and designer-makers who have a demonstrated history of excellence in their practice. Applications are open to current Craft ACT members. Not a member? Join today online.

In 2021, two opportunities will be offered for craft practitioners to work with an architect and their clients to develop new work for a residential project in Canberra. The craft practitioners can work in any medium and be at any stage of practice.

This is an open-ended process of development and collaboration. The key requirement is that this opportunity will enhance or transform the craft practitioner’s practice. We encourage applications from artists who embrace a spirit of collaboration and wish to work across disciplines and gain exposure to commercial environments with other designers and clients.

At this stage, it is likely that each of the craft practitioners will develop a new light (fixture, fitting or pendant, for instance) for the project.

This is an opportunity to learn about design collaboration in a real-life application. The selected artists will work closely with architects and their clients to respond to the site and client needs and develop an understanding of the residential architecture  design process. A detailed briefing will occur with the selected artists. We do not require a detailed plan or proposal for works in the application process.

During the design process, the craft practitioner will receive professional support including sustainability advice, mentoring, and sales, marketing and technical support (eg electrical advice). We also hope to deliver some professional workshop visits to studios who are already designing lights for inspiration and advice. (This could include Canberra and Sydney studios such as Mud Ceramics, Cloth Fabric, Publisher Textiles, Koskela, F!NK, SKEEHAN, for example.)

A curated exhibition in November 2021 will be the culmination of a year-long program of professional development and exchange to forge new directions in the creative industries. The exhibition may include prototypes and the finished product, for instance.

We hope that this opportunity will become an annual program for Craft ACT based on the evaluation of the 2021 pilot.

To support the exhibition, Craft ACT will provide:

  • professional photography of the design process, finished work and installation
  • installation, demount and staffing for the duration of the exhibition
  • insurance and public liability at Craft ACT
  • an opening function (depending on COVID19 social distancing measures)
  • publicity, media engagement, social media and digital marketing including a video gallery tour
  • a commissioned essay to foster deeper critical engagement with contemporary craft practice
  • design and production of an e-catalogue which is shared on social media and the Craft ACT website
  • printed copies of the catalogue will be provided free of charge to the participating artists, architect, home owners and Circle of Hands donors.

Background information

Circle of Hands

Members of the Craft ACT donors circle ‘Circle of Hands’ agree that for Australia to have a healthy visual arts ecosystem, it needs a sustainable craft sector and a thriving independent studio practice.

Donor circle members include

  • Jenny Edwards, environmental scientist, Light House Architecture & Science 
  • Peta Furnell, craft supporter
  • Graham Humphries, acclaimed architect, Cox Architecture
  • Paul Kerr, respected builder, Preferred Builders.

Circle of Hands members are supported by Craft ACT CEO + Artistic Director Rachael Coghlan.

Circle of Hands members support our vibrant community of contemporary jewellers, furniture-makers, ceramic and textiles artists, glassmakers and designers. Their engagement and donations help Craft ACT to forge new international collaborations and residencies, invest in artist development and mentoring, and sustain Australia’s high-quality studio practice. Most importantly, their support will ensure more artists, more audiences and more venues can be part of the CraftACT story for many more years.

Craft ACT

For almost 50 years, Craft ACT has been sustaining the practice of craft – locally, nationally and internationally. Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre is a not-for-profit membership-based organisation which supports artists, craft practitioners, designers and makers at every stage of their careers. We promote and celebrate excellence and innovation in contemporary craft in everything we do – in our retail space, exhibitions, events and membership program. Craft ACT is one of the longest continuously running visual arts membership organisations in Australia, supporting artists, craft practitioners and designers at every stage of their careers. In 2021, Craft ACT will be celebrating our 50th anniversary. We look forward to transitioning Craft ACT towards its next 50 years, creating greater opportunities for this community of craftspeople and designers, and for the growing audience who admire and appreciate the beauty, skill and excellence of their work.

The architect and project

  • The practice

Light House Architecture and Science is a unique architectural practice based in Canberra founded on a philosophy of simplifying the sustainable design process to create comfortable, clever, energy efficient homes that are light-filled and light-footed.

Through excellent design and scientific testing, they create homes that feel spacious and comfortable, and function beautifully, on a smaller than average floor area. Many of the homes they design achieve an energy efficiency rating of 8+ stars (6 stars being the current minimum standard). These houses require half as much energy per year to heat and cool them to comfortable temperatures compared to a 6 star home. Light House has been recognized in multiple awards, including the HIA Australian GreenSmart Energy Efficiency awards in 2020. They are true collaborators, providing an integrated service with an experienced team of architects, scientists and cost estimator, and Director Jenny Edwards is a keen collector of contemporary craft made in Canberra.

  • The project

Light House have designed a light-footed and light-filled new home in Ainslie for their clients Deb and Rom. Deb and Rom were keen to down-size into a beautiful, flexible, and energy-efficient home for their retirement. The smaller, smarter, sustainable home designed by Light House has a beautiful connection to the rear garden: it will be flooded with northern light on winter days and beautifully shaded in summer. With raked ceilings, concrete floors and custom joinery, the living areas of the home will feel delightful and lend themselves to lots of exciting lighting design ideas.

Passionate supporters of the arts, owners Deb and Rom are excited to be involved in this unique project.

Submissions close: Monday 8 February 2021, 12 noon.

Find out more and Apply here.

Images: Kirstie Rea, photo: Lean Timms (top), Light House Architecture and Science