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by Cam MacDonald
posted 30/09/2020

Sydney Craft Week – 9th – 18th October

Sydney Craft Week is about celebrating creativity and the handmade in all its forms. This festival creates the opportunity for the whole community to engage with craft, experience the benefits of making, and purchase local handmade work.

This year we have 115+ events at 60 venues throughout Sydney, including 56 workshops, 41 exhibitions, 9 talks and 10 digital events. Sydney’s makers and designers have worked with us to develop an inspirational program and have COVID-Safe protocols in place for a safe festival.

Change Makers is the theme for Sydney Craft Week 2020! We think this is so appropriate for the change that we are all dealing with on a daily basis right now.

Sasha Titchkosky is Sydney Craft Week’s chief change maker and Lisa Cahill (CEO and Artistic Director, Australian Design Centre) spoke about what change means to her in the context of her design business Koskela.

Lisa: Change Makers is the theme for this year’s Sydney Craft Week Festival. The creative mindset is to seek to make things better. How do you think we can encourage this mindset, particularly now when reinventing every part of how we live is a focus?

Sasha: I think the first step is to embrace change and see it as an opportunity for improvement rather than something which is to be feared. As frightening as things are at the moment, we need to remember to dwell on the positive things which can come out of moments like these and to start to imagine a different future – putting some energy into taking time to imagine a future that is better than the past not just our current circumstances. It isn’t always easy but sometimes it’s just one great conversation that creates the spark and the energy to shift a mindset.

Lisa: At Koskela you champion local making and manufacture. How important is it that we work to grow our capacity for Australian made? Do you think Australians are embracing locally made design?

Sasha: I think it is critical for Australia to do this, primarily for our own independence as a nation and also for the environment. Our focus for the manufacturing sector should be one which can sustain high wages and is powered by renewables. It makes no sense to me that we have all the raw materials to make Lithium-Ion batteries for storing renewable energy in Australia but we ship all the raw materials off-shore to be made somewhere else and then import the finished goods! When it comes to making and craft there is so much of our identity and uniqueness embodied in these items that is of such value to us as a nation. COVID has brought a sharp focus on weaknesses in our supply chain and a much bigger awareness on supporting local manufactured products but there is still a lot of work to do in this area – starting with Government procurement which doesn’t necessarily favour locally made products. We still see Australian embassies and offices filled with products that aren’t designed or made in Australia which is such a wasted opportunity.

I believe there is a unique Australian design language that is slowly becoming stronger as our confidence grows and as we start to value design more.

A strong manufacturing sector locally will also help to strengthen this as the relationship between design and manufacturing is critical. All too often our Industrial Design graduates end up in other careers as there aren’t enough jobs because we don’t manufacture enough here.

Lisa: From my observation, every aspect of your business is about driving change. Koskela recently became a BCorp. What is this and what does it mean for you?

Sasha: Koskela becoming a BCorp was a really proud moment for me. BCorp is a global certification that signifies that a company balances profit with purpose and looks at how the company positively impacts its team, customers, community and the environment.

I am especially excited to be part of a group of BCorps that have signed up to a Net Zero pledge by 2030 and are going to be pushing out a whole lot of initiatives to help drive Australia’s move to renewables and for greater focus on the environment. It’s pretty exciting to be able to be part of a group of companies that includes Patagonia!

Lisa: What can we see at Koskela during Sydney Craft Week?

Sasha: Ngumpie Weaving’s Tegan Murdock will be teaching the art of Indigenous weaving online for Koskela during craft week. Tegan Murdock is a Barkindtji/Yorta Yorta woman who was taught weaving by her mother and is keen to share her culture and creativity.

Sasha Titchkosky from Koskela selects her five favourite events from this year’s festival program.

Mobifold: Playing with flexible forms by STEAMpop at Australian Design Centre, Darlinghurst
STEAMpop and Lisa Giles explore the beauty of the mysterious Möbius Strip. Using patterned paper and your own designs you will be able to twist, turn and fold paper into sculptures or unique wearables. Materials provided, 5 – 8pm.

Sabbia Gallery presents two beautiful glass exhibitions: Nick Mount: This Spring, a solo exhibition by one of Australia’s foremost and internationally-acclaimed contemporary glass artists, alongside Ninuku Arts: New Work in Glass by a group of Indigenous artists located in the furthest communities in the APY Lands of South Australia.

#scomosprayerflags is Tara Glastonbury’s stitched response to the bushfires that devastated large parts of Australia at the beginning of 2020 showing at 107 Projects.

The Meroogal Women’s Art Prize 2020 celebrates the creativity and achievements of female artists across NSW. Take a tour of the house and exhibition presented by Sydney Living Museums.

Upcycling Tee Shirt Embroidery Workshop with Clementine Barnes at East Sydney Community Arts Centre, Darlinghurst
Join artist Clementine Barnes for a hands-on embroidery workshop and create a personalised motif on a tee-shirt! Materials provided, Bookings essential, 10 per workshop, $30/ $20, 1 – 4pm.

Koskela is hosting Woven Together for this year’s Sydney Craft Week, an online weaving workshop led by Ngumpie Weaving’s Tegan Murdock, a Barkindtji/Yorta Yorta woman who was taught weaving by her mother and is keen to share her culture and creativity.

For the full program:  https://www.sydneycraftweek.com/

Sydney Craft Week is produced by Australian Design Centre.