‘Master’ crafter Phoebe knows her way around rings

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Phoebe Porter… is confident in her use of materials and techniques. Photo: Andrew Sikorski.

Craft / “Mechanical Sampling: Phoebe Porter”, Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre, until December 14. Reviewed by MEREDITH HINCHLIFFE.

PHOEBE Porter, the DESIGN Canberra festival’s designer-in-residence, was commissioned to create the signature artwork, which is featuring throughout the festival’s visual communications. She created the work, “Mechanical Sampling”, which features a series of rings, in response to this year’s theme of  “Utopia” and the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus.

The exhibition works are restrained and each ring combines two contrasts, either materials or techniques, hence the word “sampling” in the title.

Porter is not new to the lathe, and many of these rings are made on this machine, most using the technique of “knurling”, that is creating a pattern of straight, crossing or angled lines on the surface of the metal, giving the surface texture and visual interest. Catalogue No. 38, a Blue Ring is Diamond Cut and anodised titanium, while No. 45 is a Diamond Cut Ring in brass. Several rings are in gold some set with precious stones, such as champagne diamonds, and one with a black sapphire.

An artist who has been working for twenty years, Porter is confident in her use of materials and techniques and knows where and when she can explore and experiment with different materials. Several rings are hand-fabricated (Catalogue No. 58) or hand-finished (No.59). The rings show an economy of design that epitomises her work.

The exhibition is accompanied by a video, which is well worth watching. Making successful rings is no easy task, and this helps viewers understand the process and work involved.

As one of four exhibitions current at Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre, this is one of a master craftsperson.

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