Pop Craft Christmas Catalogue 2016

Et voilà, here it is! We have compiled this catalogue as a fundraising project for Pop Craft community exhibitions and events in the coming year. Celebrating textile art is at the very heart of Pop Craft and we would absolutely love to offer shows at no expense for the artists and the public alike. The Karen Tapestry Exhibition last month was a rewarding experience which has enabled one of the weavers to return to her homeland to visit her loved ones for the first time in 28 years!

We believe that this a more compelling alternative to traditional Christmas shopping and a great opportunity to support our project . To view the Pop Craft Christmas Catalogue please click here or to go straight to the shop please click here. THANK YOU.

Some of the products in the catalogue have been generously donated by Eddy Carroll, John Brooks, Cat Rabbit, Elise Cakebread, Rowsaan and Dell Stewart, Haily Tran (B For Brian) and, of course, Pop Craft

Photography by Emma Byrnes and styling by Lotta Apted and Gabriel Jacka.

Love you all xx

Hand Forged Spoons by Rowsaan

Hand Forged Spoons by Rowsaan

Hoop Earrings by Elise Cakebread

Hoop Earrings by Elise Cakebread

Tapestry by Haily Tran of B For Brian

Tapestry by Haily Tran of B For Brian

Studio pop-in with Merilee Bennett


You have a background in photography and film, and now make three dimensional objects. How has your process evolved through these different mediums?

I started out as a painter and photographer, morphed into film with the making of Song Of Air. This was autobiographical using mostly home movie footage to tell the story of my relationship with my Dad. The film was invited to Cannes and many other International Film Festivals. I did further film study, and taught photography and creative writing, but I never stopped making things with my hands. I made a Venus of Willendorf and cast her in bronze, and many years ago, my 14 year old daughter was leaving to live in America, and I made her a Vasilisa doll, as a symbol of mother love and intuition. I kept exploring 3 dimensions - boxes and envelopes, body casts, the occassional party costume. The Wisdom Dolls started with my menopause doll, to celebrate entering that particular rite of passage. From then I have been listening to their whispers, and following their inspiration.

 ‘A Thousand Faces of the Feminine'. Do you they come to you in your dreams? Manifest themselves in people around you? Wander around in your garden? 

 She is everywhere! In seed pods and flowers, and the wind! In the feeling of sun on my skin, or the night sky when the stars are out. In the feeling of my body moving, or the energy within me during meditation. There are ancient stories that speak to me, and ordinary fabulous women around me who embody the archetype of the feminine in so many different ways. It is the grandmothers, the old goddesses, the earth under my feet.

What type of conversations do you think the dolls share with one another? How about with you?

My girls are sometimes very quiet, and I have to listen inside my own silence. Other times they sing together. Yes, I think they have more of a choir than a conversation. When I'm working on one, I will wait until I feel that tranquility in my heart that says, Yes, I am done. They definitely tell me when I need to keep working. I hear it - "this is not my face yet", or "I have no face, I am face of fire, or sky". Sometimes I feel enchanted by them, as if they are coming through my hands and wont let me rest until they are happy. 

Are you also intrigued by faces of the masculine?  How do they appear to you?  Do you envisage a face-off in the future?

At this stage, I'm not so intrigued by the masculine archetypes, but you never know what might happen down the road. I do have ideas for larger dolls, one of which is a male/female together, like a Shiva/Shakti. Also, animal/woman together. But these will still be part of the Thousand Faces of the Feminine.

Merilee Bennett's exhibition 'A Thousand Faces of the Feminine' is showing at Pop Craft Studio on weekends 11-4pm, October. 1-9.  Her 2-day 'Wisdom Doll' workshop will be on the Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd of October 10-4pm. To make futher enquiries about this workshop please contact Merilee.

All photos courtesy of Heartland.

Studio pop-in with Eddy Carroll

When i was little, my favourite bedtime story was the one my dad told us about a girl whose obsession with spying and eavesdropping turned her into a pineapple with a thousand eyes. How many eyes have you created so far?

Ha! Pineapple head!! I liked the story of tiki tiki tembo no sa rembo chari Bari ruchi pip peri pembo and his brother Chan, who both fell into the well. Ok, so, I've made 40 hand/eye pieces over the year before I turned forty. This work derived from the Sufi poems of Rumi and Shams of Tabriz's 40 rules of Love.  They were all shown together in Istanbul in a show called ' wordless calligraphy ' . During that time I made another piece for a show called Lucky curated by Liane Rossler in Sydney,  so that's 41. I made a giant sparkling eye, cause that's how I often feel, sparkly eyed, 42. And when during a period of reworking the Inuit myth ' skeleton woman', the first part of the skull I would start on would be the eyes. There were probably 6 skulls that came out of that body of work, so 12-ish, as not all of them had two detailed eyes.... 52.  Also, 3 eyes for a show this year in New York based on street art by the Brazillian duo 'Os Gemenos'. 4 Dragon eyes for Popcraft's 'double happiness ' exhibition.. 59 ha!! good number !!! 

You’re known as Eddy “Serendipity” Carroll. What role has chance played in your art practice?

Haha! Am I now ;)  My practice chooses me, it's all serendipitous..... I remember learning that word when I was young, it's a word I felt you could almost physically hold on your hand, like a wand or a precious stick. I'm just a conduit. I just try to be open and present cause usually what I'm looking for is already there, in life and in my practice, which is one and the same thing now. 

You have “mobile art” practice, what’s your favourite reaction from a commuter on public transport? Also, how do you prevent all those beads, sequins and threads from flying around when you are on the move?

You know what, in all the sewing I've done on public transport, I've only ever lost one needle. It went down the side of the chair on a train from Dandenong...  I was fishing about trying to get it back and said out loud to the person opposite me "I dropped my needle down the side of the chair !!" and they got up and moved. It's only now as I think about it, they probably weren't thinking it was an embroidery needle. Same day I left a Karl Ova Knausguard book on the train too...  Clearly not so present that day. I do get tangled and knotted up sometimes. Mostly, I get so focussed and then completely meditative I don't usually drop anything. I just go at whatever pace the transport sets. The best trip was on a bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, I loved that trip. I had the two seats to myself, I could spread out, I could bead, it was super cruisey. By time we passed the giant gold Buddha peaking out of the lush green mountains, about 3/4 of the way to Chiang Mai I'd finished a piece. . . one of the rules of love. 

Now to the unsparing question. What are your 2,5 and 10 year artistic plans?

Pauline !!! I have no idea. I'll make up something on the spot, in 2.5 years I'd like to travel to either or all, Japan / Morocco / India to visit friends, research and have a sensory feast.... My practice leads me so I can't say. I could be offered a gig somewhere entirely different, one never knows. In ten years time if I'm still alive, I'd like to have pushed outside my comfort zone, surprised myself, collaborated and sorted out my shoulder pain... Sounds a lot like the present so, you know, I'm pretty happy where I'm at, I'll just keep opening to what comes next. As long as there is love, I'm doing ok. X 

Eddy is currently showing her works in the "Double Happiness" exhibition at Pop Craft Studio and at the Radical Yes! store. 

All photos courtesy of Karl Scullin

Relief beading class with Rosanna Ford

As the glorious rays of the winter sun beamed through the studio, Rosie opened up our minds to the world of 3D beading. It was far more expansive and exquisite than any of us could have imagined. Ablaze with inspiration, fresh ideas and an urge to experiment, we produced these samples.

"Great workshop! Rosie has extraordinary skills, it was a sewing circle with a master beader."- Merilee

"Apart form Rosie's amazing skills and experience, which we don't often get in Australia, she was an extremely good teacher"- Mary

"Pop Craft, as always, served up inspiration in abundance, exceptional techniques and materials to create with and delicious home made cake for our workshop. Rosie approached the topic broadly and skilfully and i left with the makings of wearable and creative solutions to other projects i have brewing. Thanks ladies for a wonderful experience."- Erin

Rosie's next class, 'Custom make sequins' , will be held on Saturday the 20th of August from 10-4pm.

studio pop-in with Nita-Jane McMahon

Your designs reveal a great sense of tailoring. Any thoughts on venturing into menswear patterns?
I hadn’t thought about doing a line into menswear.  Now you’ve planted a seed. I have been into the idea of doing non-gendered kids' patterns and I could definitely see an adult version of that. I have tried the Aeolian Tee on Ben (Mr Pattern Fantastique) and it needed some new hem lengths but I definitely would call it a fit. He is still waiting for his very own Aeolian Tee. He may have to come to a workshop and make his own.

Have you ever seen a stranger wearing a garment made with one of your patterns? If so, did your heart skip a beat?
Yes, and Yes.  Once, in real life, the wearer was very hip and I was way too embarrassed to say anything. She looked amazing wearing an Aeolian in denim. Social media is so great, I love that I can check Instagram hash tags and see a catalogue of styles that the sewing collective have produced and so generously shared. It is a great example of how much textiles impact on the design. I market and brand the patterns in a particular way but I know they have the potential to be reinvented by the maker with textiles and styling.  It breaks down the hierarchy of traditional fashion design. 

You're a designer who's had a long career in the industry. How have recent developments in digital patterns affected the way you work? 
Once I realised it was a thing (PDF’s), it was on. I had alway intended on having a fashion label at some stage and when the time seemed right (in terms of what I was doing with my life) many Australian labels were falling over. I think I knew the system was broken already, I had drafted up many business plans and couldn’t see how I could make it work here. I was also really uncomfortable knowing how environmentally and socially toxic fashion manufacturing could be and it gave me the chance to face it. Which was kind of big. I realised having a pattern label not only ticked the boxes for me creatively but it also opened up an opportunity to be part of the revolution.

The most important lesson I learnt from my textiles design studies is that the finishes (whether they'd be structured or not) make the quality of the end product. What are your thoughts on this?
I have alway been a bit crazy about finishes.  The durability of the garment is dependant on its construction. Obsolescence is a design feature that is really apparent in the electronics and industrial design industries and now rife in fashion.  The thing that breaks is deliberately designed into the garment. Denim that tears, invisible zips that pop, etc. This extends from high st to luxury brands. It’s much more of an issue in women’s and girls' wear. I naively imagined myself being the consumer of the luxury goods I was designing and having really high expectations of the performance of these clothes.  It wasn’t until I was a stay-at-home-mum, without a supply of free clothes, that I noticed how unobtainable well-made things are and what crazy expectations are on people, women in particular, to have brand new, seasonal clothing. Which is why sewing is so cool and having the revelation that something you have made can be washed, repeatedly pressed and worn for 10+ years.  So I see ‘finishes’ not just as sewing straight and inserting zips correctly and having nice insides etc but a whole design concept that makes a garment. From shaping, style, textile choice and components as well as construction, these are the elements which make the garment desirable enough that you want to keep wearing it. It really stands out now. I design patterns that are for all levels and really believe in skill-building. The instructions try to make no assumptions about what people know and not underestimate people’s ability to learn new things. They are really clear with heaps of illustrations that have been thoroughly tested. If you come across a style you’ve not tried before these booklets will hold your hand through it. I see that as much of a part of the pattern design as the fancy curves and good fit.  

Nita-Jane will be leading the Constructing with a digital pattern- the Lucent visor class on Saturday the 27th of February from 10-4pm and the Construction with a digital pattern- the Aeolian dress class on Saturday the 26th of March from 10-4pm.

All photos courtesy of Heartland.