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Totemic Wooden Sculptures from Jo Wilson

TDF Open House 2017

With TDF Open House only two days away (keep an eye out for the next instalment in our behind-the-scenes video series, launching later this morning!) – we’re thrilled to introduce you to another exceptional participating artist.

Jo Wilson invited us into her Kew workshop to learn more about her unique turned wooden objects, and her vision for addressing environmental concerns and promoting sustainability through her art.

21st November, 2017

Artist Jo Wilson will unveil a series of totemic sculptures at TDF Open House this week. Photo – Caitlin Mills.

The artist in her home studio/workshop in Kew. Photo – Caitlin Mills.

The totems for TDF Open House explore  forms found in components produced at Jo’s father’s factory. Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Jo holds a deep respect for traditional craft techniques and processes, in particular drawing. Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Sketches by the artist. Photo – Caitlin Mills.

The timber artist studied a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Printmaking at Monash University, and now works as an educator in both media.  Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Several of Jo’s latest pieces see her venturing into the use of new materials and elements. Photo – Caitlin Mills.

‘I am looking forward to continuing to experiment with pairing materials with a nod to casting metals, artisan glass and stones,’ tells the artist. Photo – Caitlin Mills.

‘I am excited about the placement of my work within The Design Files vital and energetic design community, and look forward to the exposure of my work to a wider audience,’ says Jo. Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Studio details including Jo’s striking sculptures. Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Elle Murrell
Tuesday 21st November 2017

It’s not only what Jo Wilson crafts, but what she crafts it from that intrigues. The artist has a penchant for recuperating old aged timbers, and predominantly uses Australian hardwoods, like tallow wood, ironbark, and spotted gum. ‘Each section of timber holds a unique history, and I aim to bring a new life into the existing raw material, using traditional crafts, while contributing to a broader eco consciousness and reminding us of the stillness and quietness in nature,’ explains Jo.

She credits a great deal of her mastery, as well as tooling and machinery skills, to her father, who runs injection moulding company Micro Plastic. ‘The totems in this series for TDF Open House explore some of the forms found in components produced at the factory,’ explains the artist, who works between this South Dandenong site and her home studio in Kew.

Jo hand turns her art pieces on a lathe, in partnership with Ian Robertson, and several of her latest pieces see her venturing into the use of new materials and elements. ‘I have always had a deep interest in addressing environmental concerns and sustainability, and making work from reclaimed timber and telegraph poles,’ the artist begins, ‘and with these new pieces, I have also cast salvaged materials in aluminium and painted vintage timber moulds with metallic pigments – I’m always exploring texture, formal elements, surface, perfection and imperfection.’

The timber artist studied a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Printmaking at Monash University, and now works as an educator in both media. She holds a deep respect for traditional techniques and processes, in particular drawing, which she believes to be ‘the simplest, most natural process underpinning all creativity, and one that is fundamental for discovery and experimentation’.

We can’t get enough of her table-top pieces, crafted as a celebration of her love for natural materials and local timber.

See Jo’s sculptures in all their glory at The Design Files Open House, opening this Thursday November 23rd until Sunday November 26th, 10am -5pm each day. Jo will next be working on a series for Criteria Collection in 2018.

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The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.