Open Studios have been a feature of DESIGN Canberra since the festival began in 2014.
Our popular Open Studio program is a unique opportunity for the public to engage directly with Canberra-region artists and designers and purchase new work.
Collectively, the program support’s DESIGN Canberra’s commitment to create a culture that values craft artists and designers and the work they produce. As we attract new and more diverse audiences, Open Studios have become an integral part of the program and one of the main ways the festival supports Craft ACT members.
Each year DESIGN Canberra gains more experience in what makes an Open Studio successful for both makers and audiences. Building on lessons learned over the past seven years, each year we adjust the format based on feedback surveys. Last year over 6,200 people attended Open Studios over three Saturdays and generated record income for artists of over $120,000.
In 2021 we will present Open Studios across each Saturday of the festival, from 10am – 4pm. Each participant will receive a marketing pack which includes: Open Studio flyers, festival posters and brochures (all printed on recycled paper with vegetable-based inks) and re-useable corflute signage.
About the festival
From 8–28 November 2021, DESIGN Canberra will transform the nation’s capital, hosting over 200 events. We feel incredibly grateful DESIGN Canberra was one of the few events that was able to proceed in 2020. Our format of small talks, tours and events, combined with outdoor public installations, lent itself well to changing COVID-19 restrictions and this has meant that we can approach 2021 with the confidence that we can deliver another exciting, safe festival this year, no matter what the restrictions are.
Now in its 8th year, DESIGN Canberra increases its reach and engagement annually, 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.
Need some inspiration?
There are ideas from successful Open Studios, both practical and creative, you may want to consider in thinking about hosting an open studio that works for you and your visitors.
Think about how you can create a unique experience for visitors while being authentic to your craft.
In the lead up to the festival, Craft ACT will run a professional development workshop for members about hosting a successful open studio. Details will be released closer to the date.
- Ceramicist Bev Hogg has been cultivating her open studio audience for years and always makes it a big event. She enlists multiple volunteer helpers to greet and talk to visitors, opens her garden, has music and promotes it as heavily as possible with signs and flyers around the neighborhood, through social media and other communication channels.
- Strathnairn Arts ran a Pinch Pots & Pizza workshop during their open studio. For a small fee, visitors could make their own small bowl, spoon, spice dish, mug or plate with the help and guidance from a Strathnairn Arts Ceramic Studio Artist, followed by a delicious slice of house made woodfired pizza courtesy of Stepping Stone Cafe.
- A collective of makers have held “Tea in the Potters Garden” in an open studio at Watson Arts Centre that combined the ritual of tea drinking with their sale of handmade ceramics. They also incorporated musicians and florists and promoted the event heavily using beautiful photographs through social media.
- Wood artist Hiroshi Yamaguchi had flocks of people, especially families, to his studio where he was offering chopstick making workshops. For a small cost, visitors could make their chopsticks and take them home.
- Other ideas may be to host scheduled live demonstrations, hands-on family activities, a ‘seconds sale’ or to collaborate with another maker.
- In brief, it’s worth thinking about how you can do something to create an experience for visitors while being authentic to your craft.
Who can hold an Open Studio?
All open studios hosted by current Craft ACT members will be accepted.
For non-members of Craft ACT, applications from craft practitioners and designers are encouraged.
Past experience has shown that audiences tend to be more interested in studios of makers and artists than professional environments such as architecture offices, however, we are open to ideas from different types of studios.
When to hold your Open Studio:
We will run Open Studios on each Saturday of the festival – Saturday 13, 20 and 27 November. Our aim will be to cluster the studios together by location to make it as easy as possible for attendees. The opening times will be 10am-4pm each of those days. As you fill out the form you will be asked about your preference among those dates and we will do our best to meet people’s requests. We would ask that you please be as flexible as possible when indicating your availability, as it is always tricky to accommodate everyone’s first preferences.
You will be responsible for:
- Organisation of your Open Studio
- Staffing during your Open Studio
- All relevant insurances and public liability (Craft ACT Accredited Professional Members and Associate Members have insurance included in their membership)
- Ensuring safety of any/all participants for your Open Studio including compliance with relevant COVID-19 restrictions and directives
- All costs associated with your Open Studio
- Payment of the Participation Fee (for non-members of Craft ACT)
- Delivery of promotional information by due dates (as requested by Craft ACT) to be used for promotional purposes
- Helping to promote your Open Studio through social media etc
- Keeping a count of visitors (where possible)
- Completing a short survey for reporting purposes
What will DESIGN Canberra do?
DESIGN Canberra festival will manage the Open Studios program overall, including selecting and coordinating open dates and times among the nominated studios. DESIGN Canberra will promote the Open Studios program through the festival’s marketing, publicity and digital engagement. We will provide signage for outside the studio and make posters available for studio holders to display in the lead up to your event. DESIGN Canberra will also provide advice and support in managing COVID-19 restrictions such as COVID-safe plans and the Check-in Canberra App.
Hosting an Open Studio in DESIGN Canberra is free to members of Craft ACT: Craft & Design Centre. For non-members, if your proposal is accepted, you will be asked to pay a Participation Fee, of $110, when you provide your final information. Become a member of Craft ACT – membership starts from $66.
Applications close Monday 3 May 2021.