Tweed River Art Gallery Handcrafted Market Puts the Focus on Local Artisans

After great success in previous markets, the Artisan Handcrafted Market is back again this Winter to celebrate local artisans, who share their work and passion with a smile.
The market co-ordinator, Ellie Beck, said she loved the idea of having a market within the spectacular Tweed River Art Gallery. “A place where art, design and contemporary craft can share a conversation”, Ms Beck said. The enthusiastic support of the President of the Friends of the Gallery, Lyn Stewart, and Gallery Director, Susi Muddiman, shows that our region is rich in creatives within the arts, crafts and design fields and all these can be celebrated together.
According to Ms Beck, you can meet local makers who are pursuing creative careers in the lost arts of letterpress, silver smithing, ceramic design, printmaking, textiles and beading at The Tweed River Gallery on Saturday June 1.
There are so many skills being lost due to changes in technology, that it’s important to re-learn before some are gone forever. Finding those old tools hidden away, and giving them back their purpose. Take for instance the massive Vintage Heidelberg Platen Press used by Jo and Andy Olive, of Olive and the Volcano, in their Doon Doon studio. They found their now-beloved printing machine covered in dust at the back of a printer’s who now uses digital technology. Ms Olive says, “When we found our press we were given a firm handshake, a small manual and a ‘good luck’ from its previous owner. The rest was up to us”. The sheer joy of bringing this machine back to life has been the driving force behind Olive and the Volcano’s work in their Letterpress design studio.

Adelaide Friday and Aron James from Pirates Dreaming use a much simpler, though equally ‘hand worked’, tool to craft their jewellery collections. Using a simple hacksaw and a precise, practiced hand, Aron creates intricate masterpieces out of found silver spoons. No laser cutting or digital machinery; instead an artist at his table working his craft.
In the same vein of using what’s already been used once before, Sam Messina makes jewellery out of broken skateboard decks. Once the decks have enjoyed their “life on the street”, Sam reworks them into bracelets, earrings and necklace beads. Working with the artwork of each broken deck, Sam makes unusual pieces of jewellery that share his skateboarding love with a wider audience.
In an age of rapid change and constant advances in technology, their emphasis on making things from scratch and by hand might seem old fashioned to some, but they believe there is still a place for skilled makers in communities.
“The ability to mass produce objects has enabled great things, but it also meant the death knell for many craftspeople, not to mention the effects on the planet. More subtly, mass production has effected our understanding of where things come from, how things are made and our appreciation for objects themselves” Claire Atkins, ceramic artist from Pinky & Maurice, said.
Claire’s pieces, like that of fellow ceramic artist Megan Puls, are made by ‘throwing’, slip-casting and hand building fine porcelain, to create a vessel for your everyday use or eye to gaze upon. “When we use handmade objects a wonderful conversation takes place between the maker, the object and you,” Claire said.
The market will also be showing the work of textile artists, homewares and accessories designers (and makers!) Kambamboo, Rabbit & the Duck, Red Tree Designs and Ellie Beck. Michele Bevis, from Emu Beads, makes a unique and whimsical jewellery range using the stunning colours and shapes of her hand made glass beads (all made by her of course!). The Sentimentalist, by Fiona Watson, creates hand cut and hand printed lino arts works, as well as embroidered jewellery pieces. Hand poured candles by Karen Commerford, of Lotus Flower Designs, are made with the intention of being enjoyed everyday; and her hand stitched brooches will put a smile on your face!
The market will be held in the Tweed River Art Gallery, 2 Mistral Rd Murwillumbah on Saturday June 1 from 10am – 4pm. Entry to the gallery and market is free and a licensed cafe with district views is open all day. All works are for sale with limited credit card facilities available.
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