2021 Craft Prize Winners

First Prize

‘WOULD YOU CARE MORE IF WE HAD HANDS’

Kate Melville-Rea (Master of Environment)

Plastics

This sculpture is made entirely of plastic that I collected off the Yarra banks over multiple trips. The base, lentil-sized resin pellets, are the building blocks of nearly all plastics that we use today. They leak out of factories, trucks, and container ships, settling in soils and waterways. Their small size makes them nearly impossible to see by humans, but are detrimental for smaller ecosystem creatures. Reflecting on the theme “Sustainability”, I wanted to create a piece that plays with perspective and anthropomorphism. Hands are a universal gesture for help, so I hope these hands remind people that creatures of all sizes are deserving of it.

Second Prize

‘FLUX XI’

Anni Hagberg (Master of Art Curatorship)

Ceramics

‘Flux XI’ combines discarded waste glass and metal with clay and glaze to explore the unpredictable and dynamic nature of things. Made in 2021, during a global pandemic, political and social unrest, as well as ecological crisis, this work holds tight to the common thread of uncertainty which has become so central to contemporary life, while exploring sustainability through Donna Haraway’s concept of ‘staying with the trouble’ (2016). Both the foraging (for found materials) and the ceramic firing processes that helped create this work are inherently uncertain processes without fixed outcomes. Within these processes, materials and maker engage in a dynamic relationship of affect and effect to create an unforeseeable outcome, that celebrates the complexity and precarity of life.

Third Place

‘BACK TO THE FOREST’

Yunfan Zhang (Design for Performance)

 Recycled materials

“It’s time for forest sustainability to attract people’s attention!
This work is created using recycled beverage cans. Forests is a global issue. These years, the impact of forest fires on the ecology affects the hearts of many people. In this work, the scorched trees and homeless animals hope to arouse human attention to the environment. Forests belong not only to humans but also to many animals.”

 

People’s Choice

‘WOULD YOU CARE MORE IF WE HAD HANDS’

Kate Melville-Rea (Master of Environment)

Plastics

This sculpture is made entirely of plastic that I collected off the Yarra banks over multiple trips. The base, lentil-sized resin pellets, are the building blocks of nearly all plastics that we use today. They leak out of factories, trucks, and container ships, settling in soils and waterways. Their small size makes them nearly impossible to see by humans, but are detrimental for smaller ecosystem creatures. Reflecting on the theme “Sustainability”, I wanted to create a piece that plays with perspective and anthropomorphism. Hands are a universal gesture for help, so I hope these hands remind people that creatures of all sizes are deserving of it.

Global Award

‘AZTEC FEATHERWORK.’

Victoria Laine (Graduate Diploma in Arts (Art History))

Fibre and textiles

Huitzilopochtli is the Aztec god of sun and war. He seemed a strong and appropriate figure in this difficult year. This shield is an example of Featherwork from Mesoamerica in the 15th century. I had never worked with feathers before and was interested to learn about these materials and techniques. As there are no examples of this work in Australia, the methods of construction were a derived from trial and error. This is a very sustainable form of art as the feathers are a by-product from food production. The tiny blue-green iridescent hummingbird feathers that are now very scarce, have been replaced with multi-faceted metal sequins. The feathers are stitched down and held in place by a frame of gold metal. This was made in a kiln with metal clay that was fused to a wire scaffolding for strength.

I am a maker and a postgraduate researcher who is focused on the hand-embroidered textiles of the high medieval and early modern periods in Europe. I am interested in how the study of material culture, and practice-led research can provide insights into past methods and processes, and deepen our understanding of these artefacts and the skilled, creative people who made them.

Innovation/Creative Award

‘FLUX XI’

Anni Hagberg (Master of Art Curatorship)

Ceramics

‘Flux XI’ combines discarded waste glass and metal with clay and glaze to explore the unpredictable and dynamic nature of things. Made in 2021, during a global pandemic, political and social unrest, as well as ecological crisis, this work holds tight to the common thread of uncertainty which has become so central to contemporary life, while exploring sustainability through Donna Haraway’s concept of ‘staying with the trouble’ (2016). Both the foraging (for found materials) and the ceramic firing processes that helped create this work are inherently uncertain processes without fixed outcomes. Within these processes, materials and maker engage in a dynamic relationship of affect and effect to create an unforeseeable outcome, that celebrates the complexity and precarity of life.

 

Personal Experience Award

‘THINKING OF YOU’

Brittany Fong (Masters of Speech Pathology)

Recycled materials

Thinking of you’ is a postcard-making set, crafted with old, left-over paper and boxes. In the process of making this piece, I explored what personal and social
sustainability means to me. Personal sustainability is the ability to maintain a healthy body and a mental state of happiness through the ups and downs of
life. Social sustainability is the ability to maintain reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationships that bring happiness.

Lately, I’ve been in a dilemna. I’ve been missing my friends and loved ones, but have no motivation to even message them. In the time of travel restrictions, lockdowns and physical distancing, I’ve been feeling that it’s harder to maintain the relationships that I once had. I’ll be honest, this isn’t completely a result of COVID-19 restrictions, the truth is, I’m just too tired. Always needing to work, study and relax with digital devices, I find that I can’t bring myself to do one more thing online, even if it is to converse and connect with friends and loved ones.

Postcard-making is my way to balance personal and social sustainability. This act of crafting, writing and personalising each postcard for my friends and family is what sustains me, and is what sustains us. This process puts me in a reflective state, where I can be with my friends and family through memories. Thinking of them casts away the loneliness and brings back a momentary joy. Thinking of them also deepens my appreciation for our relationship when we aren’t physically present to build memories together.

 

Welcome to the GSA Craft Prize 2021 virtual exhibition

This year, the artworks submitted for the Craft Prize are displayed in a virtual gallery. Next to the images, there is also information about the artwork, the artist and whether the piece is available for sale.

Please click below to enter the virtual exhibition. Alternatively, a PDF copy of the artworks is available.

Please click here to access the PDF catalogue of this year’s Craft Prize.