Craft ACT celebrates Women in Design with four new solo exhibitions

Women in Design presents four solo exhibitions by Kelly Austin, Chelsea Lemon, Lynette Lewis and Zoë Veness, as a centrepiece of the DESIGN Canberra festival. The exhibitions are a celebration of the creativity and contribution of women to the contemporary craft and design sector, proudly positioning the work of female artists at the forefront.

Mary Featherston, interior designer and one of the inaugural inductees into the Design Institute of Australia Hall of Fame, will officially launch the exhibitions on 16 November. Mary was the life and design partner of Grant Featherston which included collaborations with iconic Australian mid-century architects Robin Boyd and Roy Grounds. Mary is also an influential and sometimes controversial designer of child-centred learning environments and is a Fellow of the Design Institute of Australia and a Senior Fellow, University of Melbourne.

Canadian born, Tasmanian-based ceramic artist Kelly Austin explores illusion and the relationships of ceramic objects in subtle still life compositions. While some forms are grounded in utility and familiarity, others are more ambiguous and abstract, prompting the viewer to consider the nature of perception. The works in A Space for Softness are notable for their refined visual language of unassuming beauty, with quiet shifts in surface quality from matt to gloss enhancing their subtlety and detail.

image: Kelly Austin, stilled composition no.30, 2017, stoneware, porcelain, glaze, timber, acrylic paint. Photo: Peter Whyte Photography

As her first solo show, Parquetry Meets Plant marks a significant moment in the career of local furniture designer Chelsea Lemon. Her distinctive use of parquetry, a technique involving intricate inlays of wood veneer, is celebrated in the form of wall-mounted pieces, sculptural objects and a shimmering dining table. For Lemon, plants spark curiosity - they hold unique personalities through shape, form and changing qualities. Her work explores how these qualities can be represented through the organic arrangement of parquetry, bringing the outside environment into the home.

image: Chelsea Lemon, Twisty Vines, 2017. African Yaya.

Lynette Lewis is an artist, ceramicist and jeweller from Ernabella Arts, Pukatja community, APY Lands, in South Australia. Mara Ninti – Clever Hands, her first solo show, features a series of vibrant necklaces created through the Indigenous Jewellery Project (IJP) and in collaboration with contemporary jeweller Melinda Young, and IJP curator Emily McCulloch Childs. Using a combination of natural seed beads and wayanu (quandong) seeds cast in resin, Lewis continues the Anangu liritja (necklace) tradition of her homeland whilst extending it into the contemporary jewellery realm.

image: Lynette Lewis, Liritja (Necklace), 2017, resin wayanu tatu (quandong seed) & resin gumnut, coral, glass, wood. Ernabella Arts & The Indigenous Jewellery Project. Photo: Daryl Gordon

Contemporary jeweller Zoë Veness developed New Terrain in an Old World in response to her relocation to Hobart from the South Coast of NSW in 2016. Through jewellery, objects and photographs, Veness explores the ancient landscape and fragile complexities of Kunanyi (Mount Wellington). Here nature and culture coalesce with vessels echoing landscapes and a large necklace loop of butterfly wings referencing the ptunarra brown, a threatened species found only in Tasmania.

image: Zoë Veness, A landscape of our making: vessels and objects, 2017, copper, brass. Photo: Peter Whyte Photography