South Australian artists revive treasured artefacts in unique restoration project

March 25, 2024

The ‘Transformative Repair’ project is led by University of South Australia Enterprise Fellow Dr Guy Keulemans, and designer Dr Trent Jansen of UNSW in partnership with craft and design institution JamFactory. A broken vase owned by Paula Nagel AM will be given new life by glass artist Tom Moore. “Every year in Australia we produce about 70 megatons of waste – that’s nearly 500 Sydney Opera Houses in volume and the waste of household goods is a sizable portion of that,” Dr Keulemans says. The broken glass pieces as well as two damaged perfume bottles will be recreated into an entirely new artwork by specialist glass blower Dr Tom Moore. ………………………………………Media contact: Melissa Keogh, Communications Officer, UniSA M: +61 403 659 154 E: [email protected] contact: Dr Guy Keulemans, UniSA Enterprise Fellow M: +61 425 128 762 E: [email protected]

25 March 2024

A cracked early 20th century teapot and torn silk souvenir scarf from the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games are among a collection of treasured items restored as part of an innovative arts project illustrating the importance of reuse and repair.

More than a dozen designers, artists and craftspeople are working to repair a collection of beloved items, each cherished by their owners who will witness the possessions undergo remarkable transformations.

The ‘Transformative Repair’ project is led by University of South Australia Enterprise Fellow Dr Guy Keulemans, and designer Dr Trent Jansen of UNSW in partnership with craft and design institution JamFactory.

Dr Keulemans, a member of UniSA’s Centre for People, Products and Places (CP3), specialises in sustainable craft and design, specifically new forms of repair and reuse as part of the broader field of circular economy.

A broken vase owned by Paula Nagel AM will be given new life by glass artist Tom Moore.

Circular economy is a production and consumption model that involves reusing, repairing, refurbishing or recycling existing materials and products to promote long-term sustainability.

“Every year in Australia we produce about 70 megatons of waste – that’s nearly 500 Sydney Opera Houses in volume and the waste of household goods is a sizable portion of that,” Dr Keulemans says.

“Transformative Repair responds to this waste crisis by seeking to find new ways that designers can tackle repair and reuse in their practice, as a service so that clients and customers have more options for prolonging the life of their goods and possessions.

“We have all sorts of objects, ranging from 19th century antique teapots to mid-20th century furniture, jewellery and more. There’s about 12 designers and craftspeople involved in the exhibition and they’re tackling the transformative repair in different ways. For some designers it’s a challenging yet simple process of repair and for other designers they’re really transforming the object, perhaps giving it a new function, a completely new appearance or a new style.”

Among the treasured objects is a well-loved Luis Vuitton bag, frayed necklaces designed by local jewellery designer, the late Alice Potter, a broken Khai Liew chair, a timber knitting table, a cumulus light, an old hammer, damaged audio speakers, and various “stuff from a shed”.

Paula Nagel AM and Tom Moore.

Some of the broken items belong to broadcaster and author Paula Nagel AM, the first female reporter on ABC’s current affairs program This Day Tonight in the 1960s.

Nagel owns a handful of red glass shards that once made up a vase she accidentally knocked from its perch and onto the floor in her home. The former JamFactory board member is a collector of glass figurines and delicate works of art.

The broken glass pieces as well as two damaged perfume bottles will be recreated into an entirely new artwork by specialist glass blower Dr Tom Moore.

He has dedicated his life to glass artistry and in 2019 attained a PhD at UniSA, specialising in hot glass sculpture. Dr Moore, who is known for his humorous and fantastical creations, will transform the broken glass shards and perfume bottles into a quirky figurine of a dog.

“I think the value in this project is getting people to think about objects and what they mean to people,” he says. “I wanted to do this project to make something funny. It’s absurd what I’m planning to do. It doesn’t make sense and that’s the value of it. I think it will shine some kind of light on what objects mean to people.”

Prof Guy-Keulemans. Photo by Carine Thevenau.

JamFactory CEO Brian Parkes says the arts institution has enjoyed a long association with UniSA and appreciates the chance to engage in projects with an investigative focus.

“The opportunity to have a research lens over some of these activities, engage in some reflective learning and receive feedback on how me might do things and improve in the future is a great privilege,” he says.

The renewed creations will be showcased at Adelaide’s JamFactory in April. It is the second iteration of the Transformative Repair project, the first being in 2022 when a collection of old or damaged items, including a dented fire-engine red Vespa scooter belonging to actor Yael Stone, were given a new lease on life and auctioned at the Australian Design Centre in Sydney.

The project is funded by the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects scheme.

Transformative Repair is showing at JamFactory from 5 April to 21 April. Visit the website for more information.

END.

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Media contact: Melissa Keogh, Communications Officer, UniSA M: +61 403 659 154 E: [email protected]

Researcher contact: Dr Guy Keulemans, UniSA Enterprise Fellow M: +61 425 128 762 E: [email protected] 

The source of this news is from University of South Australia

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