Exhibition highlight: Artisans in the Gardens

Two thousand reasons to head to the Royal Botanic Garden this October, during Sydney Craft Week.

Some of Australia’s creative heavyweights – and a selection of emerging stars – will come together in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney in October for the 2017 Artisans in the Gardens exhibition, a nine-day celebration of the natural world.

This year’s event will showcase a diverse collection of more than 2,000 pieces representing 44 artists working across the mediums of sculpture, ceramics, glass, photography, jewellery and textiles.

The exhibition runs from 14 – 22 October 2017 at historic Lion Gate Lodge (off Mrs Macquaries Road, in the Royal Botanic Garden) and is suitable for all members of the family. Entry is free of charge.

Curator Lucette Moore and her team have spent almost a year assembling the extraordinary collection from across Australia.

“I can’t think of an exhibition that offers such a diverse range,” said Moore.

“All 2,000 works are for sale — with prices ranging from $50 to $20,000 — so it’s the perfect opportunity to purchase a significant artwork from a sought-after name or a talented emerging artisan well on their way to prominence.”


Glenn Barkley ceramics. Photo by Leeroy T

Highlights include:

Carolyn Young (Wamboin, NSW)

Carolyn is a PhD student in visual arts and photography. She uses photography to rethink and reimagine the ‘human place in nature’. She collaborates with ecologists and Indigenous custodians, and uses their knowledge to help her re-examine various ecosystems. Her photographs contain plant specimens and artefacts found at field sites that represent different types of land use. These photographs depict the changing composition of vegetation as the grassy woodlands are increasingly used for agriculture. Her Grassy Woodlands series is all about what is found in a paddock — plants, insects, a bone or two, droppings, perhaps a fragment of old crockery and even a cigarette packet.  Carolyn’s 'Carrion insects from a kangaroo carcass' documents the fascinating world of insects involved in decomposition.

Jane du Rand (Ipswich, Queensland)

Jane is ceramic and mosaic artist working also in large-scale public commissions worldwide. She is fascinated with pattern, texture and colour, and experimenting with clay and glass. She loves the contrasts of rough and smooth, glossy and matt surfaces. Her work for the exhibition includes sculptural pieces based on Australian flora and fauna presented under bell jars, and botanical-themed sculptural tiles. 

Harrie Fasher (Oberon, NSW)

Harrie's background as an equestrian athlete and her intimate knowledge of horses is very much reflected in her exquisite sculptures. Her work is mainly large scale, but even her smaller scale work —which she will be exhibiting at Artisans — embodies tension and movement. The sculptures in steel are drawings in three dimensions. Sculpture by the Sea devotees will recognise her beautiful work.

Anne Mossman (Elanora, Queensland)

Anne's ceramic vessels are inspired by geologic elements and take the viewer beyond the surface. When previously living near the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Anne was attracted to the rock walls, layered sandstone, dry stone beds and the underlying strata of the Bennelong Point bed. The randomness of the patterning is a key aspect in the development of her vessels using the Japanese ‘nerikomi’ technique. Using this technique, coloured clays are stacked, folded, pressed into logs, sliced and formed into vessels. The layers then appear as fine undulating lines embedded in the ceramic colour of the finished vessel.

Denese Oates (Willoughby, Sydney)

Denese is a Sydney-based sculptor who has been exhibiting for more than 30 years, with works represented at Parliament House, Artbank, the University of NSW and many regional galleries. Denese’s current sculptures often incorporate pre-existing objects, such as books, on which she builds her copper structures. Her copper works interpret flora in a variety of guises. For Artisans her works include verdigris copper vines which have been trained into a topiary shape and copper-coated book stacks which have metal plants sprouting from their pages.

Nicole Robins (Haberfield, NSW)

Nicole uses basketry techniques that showcase beautiful fibres including indigenous and exotic plants and even weeds, sourced locally.  Her sculptural ideas are driven very much by the inherent sculptural qualities of each fibre. "I like the notion of bringing the natural world into our interior landscapes and beautifying and texturising our living and working spaces.” said Nicole.

Seraphina Martin (Glebe, NSW)

Seraphina produces beautiful detailed solar-plate etchings without using chemicals.  She uses the sun’s UV rays to expose an image and water to etch the plate, then places leaves, flowers and fibres directly onto the plate during the printing process to add colour and emboss the paper. “As Seraphina uses so many variables it is a different original print every time,” explained Artisans curator Lucette Moore.


Glenn Barkley ceramics. Photo by Leeroy T

Artisans in the Gardens Exhibition

When: 14 - 22 October, 10 am – 4 pm.

Where: Lion Gate Lodge, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

Cost: Free entry

Words and Images: Courtesy Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens.

Images (L-R): Carolyn Young, Jane du Rand, Harrie Fasher, Anne Mossman, Denese Oates, Nicole Robins and Seraphina Martin.