ACT – News & Events

     June 12th is the Early Bird deadline to register for the two-day FUTURE/FORWARD Artistic Courage conference being held in Canberra on 14/15 August  NAVA (National Association for Visual Arts) advises that the recent Federal Budget “disappointed the nation in failing to offer a vision for championing and strengthening Australia’s contemporary arts. That means it’s up to us. Future/Forward will ignite the nation’s capital with timely collaboration on how best to advance rights, sustain incomes and develop practice in Australia today.”  The first day at the National Gallery of Australia will focus on negotiating the institutional aspects of professional practice. The second day at Parliament House will focus on the politics of policy change. Each day will offer a blend of talks, hypotheticals, scenarios, games and case studies that get us thinking actively, Artists are urged to attend, participate and lead new conversations – also organisational, government and philanthropic leaders are sought. Think seriously about attending or viewing online. In Canberra in August NAVA will launch the commitments being made to the sector “through our new Strategic Plan.” Whether you’re joining us in Canberra or online, we’re planning two days of focused artistic thinking for creative action. Find out more here.

     The National Portrait Gallery is pleased to announce its winter exhibition is So Fine: Contemporary women artists make Australian history. It will open to the public from 29 June 2018. So Fine will bring together ten women artists to explore the possibilities of portraiture as a contemporary art form and reinterpret events, people and places from Australia’s past.  Scottish-Australian Canberra-based weaver Valerie Kirk reflects on what is lost and gained in emigration through intricate woollen tapestries and painted slates, exhibited with precious antique pieces of Ayrshire white embroidery. Wathaurong-Scottish woman Carol McGregor has assembled delicately painted, patiently stitched possum skin cloaks and vessels, feathered pencils, woven hair and wire baskets to evoke stories waiting to emerge from Indigenous people whose personal histories have been occluded and suppressed. So Fine: Contemporary women artists make Australian history will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra from 29 June 2018 until 1 October 2018. Tickets will be priced at $10 for adults and $8 concession. Children under 18 are free. A lavishly illustrated catalogue documenting the installed works will be published during the exhibition. Several artists featured in the exhibition will contribute to a panel discussion on Saturday 30 June 2018 as part of the Writing lives, revealing lives: portraiture and personhood forum. The forum is a partnership between the National Portrait Gallery and Australian National University and will run over two days from Saturday 30 June until Sunday 1 July 2018. The exhibition and forum forms part of the Portrait Gallery’s twentieth birthday celebrations.

     Creative Fibre Day at Old Bus Depot Markets, Kingston on 8th of July, 10am-4pm. 21 Wentworth Ave, Kingston ACT 2604. Phone: (02) 6295 3331.

GOST: Gallery of small things: Canberra’s newest and tiniest gallery, Gallery of small things (GOST) is pleased to announce its inaugural Emerging Artists Support Scheme (EASS) solo show for 2018. Continuing until 10th June, small in fall, will entice visitors to immerse in the seasonal colours Autumn brings to Canberra. Textile artist, Christine Appleby is GOST’s EASS 2018 recipient. Christine is a recent First Class Honours graduate from the ANU School of Art & Design Textiles workshop and is excited to be showing new works in a tiny space.  Appleby’s practice evokes the colour, line, shape and texture found in natural settings. Her style has developed through her research of the Saori weaving movement from Japan. “Freestyle weaving such as Saori encourages unrestrained expression and transformation. I focus on aesthetic decisions, instead of keeping track of patterns to convey my perceptions”, says Christine. GOST’s vision is to support and showcase emerging artists as well as provide a venue for education and mentoring. Visit GOST’s website for special exhibition times. GOST is located at 27 Wade Street, Watson, ACT.

     In these hands: Mara nyangangka a touring exhibition prepared and launched at Sturt Craft Centre NSW is at Craft ACT until 30th June. This is an exhibition of new paintings, ceramics, tjanpi weavings and punu from the artists of Ernabella, celebrating 70 years of Ernabella Arts. The fruits of a collaboration that took place 46years ago are the subject of a very special exhibition about Australia’s two oldest centres for craft and design – Sturt Gallery & Studios (1941) and Ernabella Arts (1948). Forty-six years ago, five young artists from Ernabella went to Sturt as part of a residency to learn new weaving techniques. To celebrate Ernabella’s 70th birthday, In These HANDS: Mara nyangangka tells the story of that residency, its impact on subsequent generations and offers a showcase of the contemporary work in painting, ceramics and tjanpi (native grass) weaving and punu (timber) work. In These Hands will not only tell the historical story of the link between these two famous centres, it will celebrate the long tradition of craft and design in Australia while at the same time being testament to the positive collaboration and understanding between an Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural institution sharing that same passion for ‘making’. Craft ACT is located at London Circuit Canberra.

    Until 22 July 2018, the National Museum of Australia has an exhibition titled:  ‘So that you might know each other’. Faith and culture in Islam.  It includes collections from the Vatican Anima Mundi Exhibition, the Sharjah Museums Authority and the National Museum of Australia.  This exhibition includes some stunning embroidery.  Entry is free and the museum is open 9 till 5 every day.

The next annual MEMBERS’ Exhibition for the Embroiderers Guild of the ACT will take place in Albert Hall. Canberra from 21-23 September.

     RAPT IN FELT: Our Stories. An exhibition from CRF (Canberra Regional Feltmakers) will be held from 2-10 June 2018 at TEXTILE WORKS, their home in Chifley (Canberra): Chifley Health and Wellness Hub, I9/71 Maclaurin Crescent, Chifley ACT. Our 2018 ‘Rapt in Felt’ exhibition will tell the stories of CRF felt-makers’ connections with this ancient craft. Visitors to the exhibition will be encouraged to reflect on the works and engage with our stories. The exhibition is planned to be a multi-modal event, utilising felt making, written accounts and improvised poetry to tell our stories. We aim to create an event that ‘slows down’ the experience for visitors and helps to develop an appreciation for our craft. The key activities that will make up the 2018 exhibition are: Exhibition of works – static and dynamic, with a booklet to accompany the exhibition detailing stories behind each item; Performance element – improvising troubadours during exhibition opening hours; Bazaar; Cafe / catering; Garden installation (in the Courtyard).

     In November 2018 there will be an installation of 62,000 knitted and crocheted poppies on stems for Remembrance Day (11 November) at The Australian War Memorial. In 2018 this date marks the centenary of the end of WWI. The number (62,000) represents the loss of Australian lives in WWI. There is a deadline of August 2018 to forward your poppies if you wish to make them. More information and poppies from You will find patterns for poppies here:

From 5-25 November 2018, DESIGN Canberra will transform the nation’s capital, hosting over 100 events. Now in its 5th year, DESIGN Canberra increases its reach and engagement each year, linking makers and designers with new audiences and forging unexpected collaborations and marketplace connections. DESIGN Canberra is the major outreach activity of Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre, a not-for-profit membership-based organisation which supports artists, craft practitioners, designers and makers at every stage of their careers.