Transference + A Common Thread | The power of collaboration and exchange

Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre present two new exhibitions online featuring emerging and mid-career women artists from Canberra, the NSW South Coast and Adelaide. These artists have openly exchanged knowledge of their respective materials and explored how these materials connect us as humans.

Craft ACT CEO and Artistic Director Rachael Coghlan said, ‘These new exhibitions celebrate the long tradition of collaboration, mentorship and exchange within the craft community; traditions that will serve designers and makers well as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.’

Robyn Campbell, Echo, 2020, porcelain and glass. Photograph courtesy the artist.


‘Transference’ is a collaborative exhibition by ceramic and glass artist Robyn Campbell (ACT) and ceramicist Jo Victoria (NSW) that expresses their shared fascination with light and surface, and the potential of glass and porcelain to convey fragility and transience. Through a supportive process of learning, teaching, experimentation and play, the artists have developed a new body of work in which the intangible elements of light, shadow and reflection are significant, changing the pieces as natural light and perspectives shift.

Both artists also take inspiration from the natural world and their surrounding landscape – Campbell from Canberra’s surrounding natural beauty and Victoria from the coastal landscape of Mossy Point on the south coast of NSW.

Both artists felt safely supported by the collaborative process, which encouraged them to explore new techniques and new work. ‘Our love of the purity of glass and porcelain and their respective interactions with light has been the platform to push our art practices to new and exciting possibilities,’ Victoria said.

Sam Gold, Stillness Votive Vessels, 2020. Photograph: Sam Roberts. Courtesy the artist and Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre

‘A Common Thread’ by emerging ceramic sculptor Sam Gold (SA) and textile artist Harriet McKay (ACT) is a multidisciplinary collaboration encompassing textile painting, ceramic sculpture and installation. Concerned with the concept of connection – connection to a material and in turn, the way this connects us as humans – this exhibition seeks to explore how time and space inform the artist’s behaviour with material and lament on the almost ritualistic process of repetitious acts during the creation process.

Gold explores this notion through clay and has created sculptural forms through repetitive mark-marking embedded within the medium that draw attention to the rhythms of making. Using his body as a tool, the clay becomes a site to document time and experiential narratives.

McKay layers naturally dyed felt, calico and raw canvas to create fibrous collages. Through a process of play, the interaction of different materials and the practice of repetitive trial and error, McKay’s works are arranged, ordered, and moulded the same way a painter pulls and pushes the paint around the space of a canvas.

Gold commented, ‘It has been both inspiring and satisfying to collaborate with Harriet and find that despite our different mediums, the concepts underpinning our pursuit for making work is a common thread that runs deep through our practices. Utilising our shared experience, the cathartic enjoyment of touch and by weaving tactile stories together across disciplines, we were able to share technical approaches to materials and philosophies, which allowed our practices to deepen.’

Both exhibitions can be viewed online, from 15 May to 27 June 2020.