This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

10 Artists Transform Discarded Archaeological Fragments In New Exhibition, 'Unearthed'

Art

Unearthed‘ is an exciting new exhibition opening tomorrow at Craft Victoria in collaboration with the Metro Tunnel Creative Program. The exhibition sees 10 local artists reimagine discarded archaeological fragments from the Metro Tunnel dig site behind the Young & Jackson pub into contemporary objects with new histories.

See these captivating pieces at Craft Victoria from 1 October – 31 October, and find out more about the exhibition below!

30th September, 2022

Tantri works with glass and porcelain fragments in her signature terrazzo style to create her collection titled ‘Treasured to trashed: Trashed to treasured‘. Photo – Henry Trumble.

Artist Iluka Sax-Williams. Photo – Henry Trumble.

Marririning means ‘to renew’ in the Taungurung language. Using heating and glasswork technology, we are able to implement new techniques and convert the pieces recovered from the tunnel dig site into a new purpose,’ explains Iluka. Photo – Henry Trumble.

Artist Juan Castro created a series of hanging lights using glass fragments and resin. Photo – Henry Trumble.

Tourmaline Large‘, by Juan Castro. Photo – Henry Trumble.

Moon Jar no. 17‘, by Jack Balfour. Photo – Henry Trumble.

Potter Jack Balfour says, ‘There are a lot of unknowns when you’re grinding down rust- encrusted nails, shells or slate, but at the same time you can understand the chemistry that exists within those materials; you’re transforming them into another state.’ Photo – Henry Trumble.

Artist Jenna Lee says, ‘Working with these materials has been a new and exciting challenge – the materials themselves asking me to step outside my traditionally paper-based practice.’ Photo – Henry Trumble.

con/sumption (triptych)‘, by Jenna Lee. Photo – Henry Trumble.

Gardening Tools (set of 5) 01‘, by Claire McArdle. Photo – Henry Trumble.

Claire says, ‘It was quite interesting going through the fragments, pulling out particular pieces, and seeing what state they were in and how they had altered over time. I discovered I was particularly drawn to pieces with layers of rust, and I could see how their original forms had shifted and changed with time and being buried underground.’ Photo – Henry Trumble.

Artist Ruby Aitchison works with discarded fragments to make her intricate neckpieces. Photo – Henry Trumble.

Untitled Neckpiece 09‘, by Ruby Aitchison. Photo – Henry Trumble.

Bea Taylor
Friday 30th September 2022

When the largest archaeological dig in Victorian history took place in the heart of the CBD as part of the Metro Tunnel Project in 2018, more than a million artefacts were found. Remains such as wheel ruts, cesspits, bluestone fittings and timber structures were among the findings, most dating back more than 180 years to the early days of European settlement in Melbourne.

While significant items are now stored permanently by Heritage Victoria, many thousands of discovered fragments from the dig including broken glass, shards of porcelain, wire and shells were deemed not significant enough to be retained for heritage purposes. 

Unwilling to see these ‘discarded’ pieces of history go to waste, Craft Victoria has collaborated with the Metro Tunnel Creative Program to engage 10 artists to reimagine these fragments for their latest exhibition, ‘Unearthed.’

From ceramic amphorae, intimate pieces of jewellery, to contemporary objects and lighting, the 10 artists have created new, repurposed works that reinterpret this part of history of Melbourne city. 

Potter Jack Balfour says, ‘There’s a lot of unknowns when you’re grinding down rust-encrusted nails, shells or slate… This material-led design has brought new freedom to the way I work. I’m usually controlled and considered in every element of my practice and having the opportunity to go into a bag full of fragments that have a strong connection to Melbourne – that’s brought delight to what I’ve been making.’ 

Jack has created 22 vessels for the exhibition, using unearthed fragments including rust, copper wire and basalt to create mesmerising chemical reactions and textures on his pottery. 

Ceramicist Tantri Mustika harnessed a kaleidoscope of glass fragments to create textured vessels in her signature terrazzo style. ‘Working with these found materials has been a special and rare experience. Finding beauty in material that has been long ago lost and forgotten, and reimagining them as something beautiful whilst still maintaining their form in which they were found.’ 

Also working with glass fragments are artist Iluka Sax-Williams and glass artist Dan Bowran, who have transformed these shards into ‘Coolamons’ – a traditional item used by Indigenous people to hold water, food and resources.

So too has artist Juan Castro, who has created a striking light installation made from glass fragments and resin;  ‘On first hearing about this project, I began to think about the idea of making light from something that has been dark for so long,’ he explains. 

Other items in the exhibition include; vessels made from glass and bookbinding thread by Jenna Lee; two sets of gardening tools foraged from a pickaxe by Claire McArdle; intricate jewellery pieces by Ruby Aitchison; and ‘broached pins’ by Dale Hardiman and ACV Studio.

‘Unearthed’ is open from 1 October – 31 October at Craft Victoria. 

See the pieces for sale here! 

Craft Victoria
Watson Place, Melbourne (off Flinders Lane)
Tuesday to Friday, 11am – 5pmSaturday, 11am – 4pm

This Week

Shopping

Say Hello To Your New Favourite Summer Shoes With This FRANKiE4 Giveaway!

Everything you need to know for your chance to win one of five pairs of shoes (of your choice!) from Australian label FRANKiE4!

Interiors

How To Turn Home Inspiration Into Reality, With Style Sourcebook

This free web-based mood board tool is the perfect place to refine your interior design vision. We show you how it's done!

Homes

A Melbourne Family’s Ever Changing ‘Light House’

An innovative, sculptural screen invites dynamic shadows into the family home of Andrew Jaques, and Christina Chiodo, renovated by Layan.

Architecture

A Floating House Entangled In Brush Box Trees On North Stradbroke Island

The tree canopy takes precedence over ocean views in this holiday home for three families, designed by Conrad Gargett architects.

Interiors

A 1915 Horse Stables Turned Family Home In The Adelaide Hills

SpaceCraft transformed a circa 1915 horse stable into a family’s elevated version of a traditional farmhouse in the Adelaide Hills.

Homes

A Tiny Slice Of Japan Inside A Pink Darlinghurst Terrace

Ceramicist Laura Butler shares her 1890s Darlinghurst pink terrace, renovated by Trias in accordance with Japanese design principles.
Lucy Feagins
  3 hours ago

Gardens

A Sensitively Built Coastal Garden, Designed To Look ‘Untouched’

The Garden Social carefully designed a garden, built into waterfront sand dunes on NSW's South Coast, where the serene seascape beyond takes...
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Designer Creating Clever Furniture, For Small Spaces

Meet designer Katrina Ramm of Ka Ra Studio, who's playful pieces that that make the most of the ‘precious space’ inside our homes!
Christina Karras

Design Eye

Architect Luke Fry, On Modernising A Heritage Home

Architect Luke Fry shares his advice on sensitively balancing old and new, when modernising a heritage home!

News

See Ethiopian-Norwegian Artist Olana Janfa's Colourful, Debut Solo Show!

The Melbourne-based painter’s first solo show is opening tonight, exploring themes of language, race and status in his playful works.
Christina Karras

Shopping

These Deliciously Colourful Picnic Rugs Are Made From Recycled Plastic!

The season of picnicking has arrived, and we've found the best rugs to see you through pizzas in the park and fish and chips on the beach.

Stays

An Architect’s Handcrafted Home + Bathhouse Turned Unique Accommodation

Take a look inside Liptrap Loft—a one-of-a-kind cabin with a Japanese-inspired bathhouse in Walkerville, Victoria.

News

Don't Miss Major Discounts On Designer Furniture At DOMO's Black Friday Sale!

Here’s everything you need to know about DOMO’s Black Friday Sale, with 20% off iconic designer brands, for one day only!
Sponsored

Architecture

A Contemporary Brunswick Addition That Contorts Out Of Sight

A major Brunswick home extension by Lisa Breeze Architect takes its cues from the surrounding neighbourhood and its Edwardian facade.
Amelia Barnes
  19 hours ago

Shopping

11 Of The Best Places To Score Vintage Furniture + Homewares

Hunting down everything from 70s modular sofas, to retro gems from Europe, see the 11 vintage sellers and stores we love!
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

2.25

Art

The NGA’s Cressida Campbell Exhibition Celebrates Her Glorious 40-Year Career

A studio visit with Cressida Campbell, ahead of her exciting survey exhibition at the National Gallery Of Australia.

Studio Visit

Why The Internet Is In Love With Libby Haines’ Beautiful Still-Life Paintings

Melbourne artist Libby Haines' works are a wonderfully messy reflection of everyday life - and they sell out on Instagram within seconds!
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

An Artist’s Home Bursting With Her Own Beautiful Golden-Toned Paintings

The Melbourne artist's home has been taken over by her abstract, expressive artworks ahead of her latest solo exhibition!
Christina Karras

This Week

Shopping

11 Of The Best Places To Score Vintage Furniture + Homewares

Hunting down everything from 70s modular sofas, to retro gems from Europe, see the 11 vintage sellers and stores we love!
Christina Karras

News

Don't Miss Major Discounts On Designer Furniture At DOMO's Black Friday Sale!

Here’s everything you need to know about DOMO’s Black Friday Sale, with 20% off iconic designer brands, for one day only!
Sponsored

Interiors

A 1915 Horse Stables Turned Family Home In The Adelaide Hills

SpaceCraft transformed a circa 1915 horse stable into a family’s elevated version of a traditional farmhouse in the Adelaide Hills.

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Designer Creating Clever Furniture, For Small Spaces

Meet designer Katrina Ramm of Ka Ra Studio, who's playful pieces that that make the most of the ‘precious space’ inside our homes!
Christina Karras

Gardens

A Sensitively Built Coastal Garden, Designed To Look ‘Untouched’

The Garden Social carefully designed a garden, built into waterfront sand dunes on NSW's South Coast, where the serene seascape beyond takes...
Christina Karras

Interiors

How To Turn Home Inspiration Into Reality, With Style Sourcebook

This free web-based mood board tool is the perfect place to refine your interior design vision. We show you how it's done!

Shopping

Say Hello To Your New Favourite Summer Shoes With This FRANKiE4 Giveaway!

Everything you need to know for your chance to win one of five pairs of shoes (of your choice!) from Australian label FRANKiE4!

Architecture

A Floating House Entangled In Brush Box Trees On North Stradbroke Island

The tree canopy takes precedence over ocean views in this holiday home for three families, designed by Conrad Gargett architects.

News

See Ethiopian-Norwegian Artist Olana Janfa's Colourful, Debut Solo Show!

The Melbourne-based painter’s first solo show is opening tonight, exploring themes of language, race and status in his playful works.
Christina Karras

Design Eye

Architect Luke Fry, On Modernising A Heritage Home

Architect Luke Fry shares his advice on sensitively balancing old and new, when modernising a heritage home!

Homes

A Melbourne Family’s Ever Changing ‘Light House’

An innovative, sculptural screen invites dynamic shadows into the family home of Andrew Jaques, and Christina Chiodo, renovated by Layan.

Shopping

These Deliciously Colourful Picnic Rugs Are Made From Recycled Plastic!

The season of picnicking has arrived, and we've found the best rugs to see you through pizzas in the park and fish and chips on the beach.

Stays

An Architect’s Handcrafted Home + Bathhouse Turned Unique Accommodation

Take a look inside Liptrap Loft—a one-of-a-kind cabin with a Japanese-inspired bathhouse in Walkerville, Victoria.

Architecture

A Contemporary Brunswick Addition That Contorts Out Of Sight

A major Brunswick home extension by Lisa Breeze Architect takes its cues from the surrounding neighbourhood and its Edwardian facade.
Amelia Barnes
  19 hours ago

Homes

A Tiny Slice Of Japan Inside A Pink Darlinghurst Terrace

Ceramicist Laura Butler shares her 1890s Darlinghurst pink terrace, renovated by Trias in accordance with Japanese design principles.
Lucy Feagins
  3 hours ago

Similar Stories

2.25

Art

The NGA’s Cressida Campbell Exhibition Celebrates Her Glorious 40-Year Career

A studio visit with Cressida Campbell, ahead of her exciting survey exhibition at the National Gallery Of Australia.

Studio Visit

Why The Internet Is In Love With Libby Haines’ Beautiful Still-Life Paintings

Melbourne artist Libby Haines' works are a wonderfully messy reflection of everyday life - and they sell out on Instagram within seconds!
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

An Artist’s Home Bursting With Her Own Beautiful Golden-Toned Paintings

The Melbourne artist's home has been taken over by her abstract, expressive artworks ahead of her latest solo exhibition!
Christina Karras

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. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net