Join The Kindcraft as we wander along Melbourne’s wide, tree-lined streets and into maker studios on our first-ever visit to this multicultural metropolis of over four million people. Read below and see why we think this city lives up to its reputation as Australia’s cultural capital.
Aboriginal Art at National Gallery of Victoria
Located in Federation Square, the National Gallery Victoria‘s Ian Potter Centre houses Australian art from the colonial period to modern day. The Kindcraft went for a tour of Indigenous art exhibition with art history lecturer and researcher Dr. Hugh Hudson, who provided us with an introduction to the collection. One great detail from him: The small circles creating Aboriginal motifs are the circumference of the sticks with which the paint was applied.
Craft is a members-based organization which promotes contemporary craft and design in Australia’s Victoria region. Its aim is to promote a vibrant, sustainable craft and design community through its events, workshops, awards, and a gallery and retail space. The Kindcraft stopped by their retail shop on Flinder’s Lane to see Craft’s curated view of the region’s makers.
The Heide Museum
We caught the last day of the exhibition titled Being Human: The Graphic Work of George Baldessin. Baldessin is credited with reviving printmaking in Melbourne during the 1960’s and 70’s. The Heide Museum of Modern Art had plenty to see, including the whimsical dolls of Mirka Mora, an artist who worked closely with The Heide’s founders, John and Sunday Reed, for over 60 years.
The Nicholas Building
Completed in 1926, the Nicholas Building at Flinders Lane and Swanston Street in central Melbourne is an iconic example of early 20th Century Chicago-style architecture. Even better – this beautiful heritage building now houses an eclectic group of shops and artist studios. The Kindcraft met three Nicholas Building residents:
For the last 20 years, Brendan Dwyer has run his bespoke footwear studio from The Nicholas Building. The craftsman, who is largely self taught, creates each pair of shoes in a process that is very much by-hand. Starting with a sketch, Brenden proceeds to work out a rough fit and construct paper patterns before choosing the appropriate leather (he works with cow, calf, kangaroo… and even ostrich or lizard). After a final fit, the sole and heels are added. These slow-made custom shoes usually take between two and four months to make – but they’ll probably last you a lifetime.
Artist and stylist Andrew Delaney considers himself a storyteller who finds his inspiration in dark, strange, and intensely human narratives. Trained as a visual merchandiser, his neutral palette of hand-stitched, painted, and collected objects sets the stage for examining historical stories (such as the American Civil War). Andrew’s recent exhibition, Cold, was about Victorian medicine and anatomy.
L’uccello is a shop positively brimming with vintage haberdashery and fancy goods. Rolls and rolls of ribbons–along with buttons, bows, and fabric bolts–add a strong splash of color to the Nicholas Building.
The Social Studio
Located in Melbourne’s trendy neighborhood of Collingwood, The Social Studio is a shop, a studio, and a cafe. Its fashion brand creates ethically-made clothing using reclaimed and up-cycled materials from Melbourne’s fashion industry. The Social Studio also provides training and professional skill development to a diverse community. The Kindcraft met shop assistant and model Atong Jospeh Omoil, whose family immigrated to Australia from South Sudan ten years ago. Now a design student at RMIT University, Omoil finds inspiration in the memories of her birthplace. Designers like her can create original hand-drawn patterns to be rendered with The Social Studio’s digital printer and then manufactured in-house.
Also from our Australia visit: Maker Profile: Pepa Martin & Karen Davis, Shibori
All photos and words by Lauren K Lancy, Founder of The Kindcraft.