Celebrate the work and global impact of six leading Canberra designers in Six Degrees of Separation at the new Monaro Mall precinct in the Canberra Centre.
At Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre and in the broader design sector, we are proud that so many renowned creative makers, designers and artists choose to live, work and make in Canberra and our region. Who are these artists, and what is their influence and journey? Most Canberra residents, businesses and even political leaders would not know these artists by name or practice. The journeys of each artist – exhibitions, education, residencies, collections, collaborations – have been traced to map the national and international ecosystem which is created by and supported by Canberra’s creative sector.
Six Degrees of Separation traces the iconic design journeys of six leading Canberra makers: Richard Whiteley (glass), Tom Skeehan (furniture), Alison Jackson (jewellery), Janet DeBoos (ceramics), Jennifer Robertson (textiles), Jenny Martinello (glass).
A world renowned glass artist, Richard Whiteley both lives and teaches here in the ACT region. Starting as an apprentice in a stained-glass workshop at the age of 16, Richard went on to complete his Bachelor of Visual Arts at the Australian National University, Canberra and a Masters at the University of Illinois (USA).
Richard has taught widely in Europe, America and China and has been the Head of Glass at the ANU School of Art & Design since 2002.
Richard has exhibited nationally and internationally including solo-shows in Sydney, Melbourne, New York (USA), Washington (USA) and Portland (USA). He has participated in group shows around the world including in Berlin (Germany), Scotland (UK), Chicago (USA) and Miami (USA) and Shanghai (China).
Richard’s work is held widely in collections including in the National Gallery of Australia, the Corning Museum of Glass, New York and the Toledo Museum of Art USA. Richard is an Accredited Professional Member of Craft ACT.
A rising star of the silversmithing and metal-working world, Alison Jackson has made Canberra her home. Studying at both the Australian National Unversity and in Germany, Alison has since set up her own workshop here in Canberra.
Alison has gone from strength to strength, selling her work internationally including Denmark and the United States and being mentored by German silversmith Maike Dahl. Alison’s work has been exhibited in Milan (Italy), Munich (Germany) and Hannover (Germany) as well as being held in public and private collections in London, Italy, of course, Canberra.
Alison was a finalist in the Temple & Webster Emerging Designer Award in 2015 and runner-up in the Craft & Object Design, Qantas Spirit of Youth Awards in 2013. Her work is available for sale at Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre in Civic, where she is also an Accredited Professional Member.
Acclaimed textiles artist Jennifer Robertson is internationally trained and renowned.
Jennifer trained in woven textiles at the West Surry College of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art London (UK) before undertaking further studies in Florence (Italy). She has taught in Perth and Canberra and has completed residencies in Montreal (Canada).
Jennifer has held solo exhibitions around the world including in Kyoto (Japan), Santa Fe (USA) and in Perth and Brisbane. Her work has also been included in group exhibitions in Ukraine, Istanbul, (Turkey), Dunedin (New Zealand), Nule (Sardinia), Montrouge (France), Seoul (South Korea), Java (Indonesia) Japan, China, Milan (Italy), Sydney, Canberra and the famous Victoria and Albert Museum, London (UK).
Her work is held in collections worldwide, including in Tokyo (Japan), Washington (USA), New York (USA) as well as by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Place, London (UK). Jennifer is an Accredited Professional Member of Craft ACT.
Tom Skeehan’s designs have been (literally) taking centre stage in the last few years. Tom trained locally, studying at Canberra Institute of Technology then completing a Bachelor of Industrial Design at University of Canberra before setting up his own studio (Skeehan Studio). Tom has worked prolifically since, exhibiting around Australia in Sydney and Melbourne as well as overseas design fairs in New York, Singapore and Milan (Italy). As well as holding solo exhibitions in Canberra, Tom’s designs have been widely collected around the globe. He launched his Hoshi chair at DESIGN Canberra in 2015 and it was then bought by Google for their headquarters in Singapore. His HOLO light was manufactured in Australia, launched in Milan this year and recently selected for an exhibition by Mint Gallery in London. Tom’s works has received many awards recently winning the international INDIE award for his folding chair HUP HUP. He newest book titled Sketching Process has been sold in over 36 countries. He is a mentor to many emerging designers and is an Accredited Professional Member of Craft ACT.
Janet De Boos
One of the most widely lauded and collected ceramic artists of our time, Janet DeBoos lives and works right here in the Canberra region.
After studying in Sydney, Janet taught at, and became Head of Ceramics at the National Art School (then East Sydney Tech) before founding Brindabella Pottery as a production pottery in 1983. She was later Head of Ceramics at the Australian National University School of Art in Canberra, and has taught in schools in China, the USA and Canada. She was elected to the Council of the International Academy of Ceramics (Geneva) in 2012 (representing Australia and New Zealand) and pioneered high quality manufacturing collaborations in Italy and China, first at the invitation of Memphis group founder Aldo Cibic with the Milan-based company Paola C, and then through Huaguang Company’s design group in Zibo (China).
She has had solo shows nationally in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and Shepparton (Victoria, Australia) and has also been included in selected/curated group shows in Hangzhou (China), Singapore, Santa Fe (USA), Cornwell (UK), Taipei (Taiwan), Benaki (Greece), Mino (Japan) and the National Gallery of Australia.
Janet is represented in national collections (such as the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra) and international public museums such as The Boston Museum of Fine art, The National Museum of China in Beijing, The Ariana Museum in Geneva and the Musee Royal de Mariemont in Belgium. Janet is an Accredited Professional Member of Craft ACT and Emeritus Fellow of the Australian National University.
Jenni Kemarre Martiniello
Originally a textiles artist, Jennifer Kemarre Martiniello trained in glass at the Canberra Glassworks and is now internationally known for her unique and engaging contemporary forms that speak to Indigenous traditions. Jennifer completed her studies locally in Canberra and has since had solo exhibitions around the country in Sydney and Canberra as well as at the National Art Glass Gallery in Wagga Wagga. She has also participated in group shows overseas including in Honiara (Solomon Islands).
Jennifer has been a finalist in the Ranamok Glass Prize (Canberra), the Tom Malone Prize (Perth) and the City of Hobart Art Prize (Tasmania). She was the winner of the 30th Telstra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards NATSIAA Award in 2013.
Her work is highly acclaimed and held in the National Gallery of Australia, the National Art Gallery of the Solomon Islands, the Corning Museum of Glass, New York (USA) and the British Museum, London (UK).
She was recently selected to feature in an exhibition of contemporary Australian glass artists in Berlin and is an Accredited Professional Member of Craft ACT.
Studio portraits featured in Six Degrees of Separation are by Adam McGrath, Hcreations.