Ruth Lane-Poole – A woman of influence at Canberra Museum and Gallery

Photo of one of Ruth’s watercolours illustrating the range of her creative skills

I love the role of curators. This weekend saw the opening of an exhibition devoted to arguably Australia’s first career interior designer – Ruth Lane-Poole. The display is at CMAG because the biggest and most significant contributions she made to Canberra was to design the interiors of the two grand residences of the captial in the 1920s, Government House and the Lodge.

The curator, Margaret Betteridge has pulled together a gorgeous collection of related artefacts to tell the story of two significant buildings set in an era and intertwined with the story of a creative, courageous woman. Lane-Poole was emerging from a creative family to influence the visual elements of interior design in her generation and in many ways each decade since. Betteridge has told the complex tale effectively.

This show has lots of what I love in exhibitions. The artefacts range from a garland with fabric flowers used in Lane-Poole’s wedding through to a two metre carved timber table. The story is fascinating, the layout is easy to following and the intertwining of history with the personal lives of the participants is engaging.

The exhibition is on till Saturday 2nd October 2021

Details on website

Design and Nature – The vision of Tiffany, Massier and Levy-Dhurmer @ National Gallery of Australia

Beauty comes in many forms. A new small exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia celebrates the decorative beauty in the work of three artists working in the late 1800s who were contributors to the Art Nouveau movement.. Louis Comfort Tiffany worked in New work creating glass artifacts for beautiful household items such as lamps.  The group on display are so gorgeous I wanted to hold and touch them.

The other two artists worked in France on beautiful highly glazed pottery. The decorations are filled with nature references. The artists were Clement Massier and Lucien Levy Dhurmer. The thing I loved was that the tags on these gorgeous items show they are on  loan from private collectors.  It is great when major galleries do not just rely on their own stuff. Beautiful and highly informative.


20160712_164833 20160712_164901 20160712_164935 20160712_164942 20160712_165109 20160712_165146 20160712_165209 20160712_165332 20160712_165355 20160712_165429

Australian Design Awards 2016 @ Overseas Passenger Terminal – Sydney

A great exhibition in Sydney in May was the display of the award winners of the annual Australian Design competition. The range of materials on display ranged from the very high tech Tesla motor vehicle down to little plastic molds in which you can have vertical garden to green up your apartment. The walk around this exhibition was highly fascinating. Designers are an interesting breed. They all seem to be stimulated by novelty and transformation. I was impressed by appliances,.educational aids for people learning Braille, little constructed nooks for both homes and aircraft. The list is huge but the range was so diverse it kept me wanting more.

Below are some pics of some of the materials on display.

20160528_132058 20160528_133007 20160528_133412 20160528_133631 20160528_133942 20160528_134023 20160528_135857

Solar House Days @ Institute of Architects

Sometimes you hear about stuff for years before you do it. That was me and hot air ballooning. Over the last two weekends I have got on a bus with about fifty people and went touring Canberra houses that have great solar and environmental footprint. The tour is run through the Australian Institute of Architects and a group of linked sponsors and the tour includes visits to five homes on each trip, At each house they had the some of the owners, builders and designer/architects to talk visitors and answer questions.
The awesome aspects of the days were the range of homes visited and the genuine passion of the participants for the developments in sensible housing. We went to award winning Japanese influenced contemporary design through strictly controlled heritage restorations to down-sizer friendly new modular homes. The discussion at the various homes was a true education. Debates flowed about slab arrangement, window single, double and triple glazing options, heat storage, insulation of various types and a vast retinue of other topics. Rarely have I had such a constantly stimulating education experience,
It impressed me that the one I think was the most expensive I thought was gloomy, cold, dreadful and almost unlivable and the rashackle DIY in progress was cheerful functional and oozed potential when complete. I so enjoyed the thing I plan to go again next year.
Some useful websites
Some pics











Daylights – Michelle Day @ CraftACT Gallery Civic Square

Michelle Day has created some remarkable lights for her exhibition at CractACT. Integrating metal and fabric, references to insects and other natural forms each lamp is a unique artwork while providing a functional piece of furniture. CraftACT is the last bastion of no photographs and so I refer you to the article below in the Fairfax press.
I have attached her gallery sheet.

Elizabeth Bay House Sydney

The Historic Houses trust was apparently set up under the government of Neville Wran. The first property that came under its management was Elizabeth Bay House. My wife and I finally got to tour it on a recent trip to Sydney. For such a young European society Sydney’s early buildings to me are precious. This is a truly great place to visit. The volunteer guide was hugely well briefed. The house itself is delightfully designed and the décor is thoughtfully arranged. It is not over the top but is a substantial home for the early colony of Sydney.
Some pics are included below:












That Jumping Guy – Louise Baker @ Huw Davies Gallery – photoaccess

When I walked into this room I laughed out loud. The overall impression of this exhibition is warm, inviting, retro, and fun. I will leave you to read the gallery sheet below for all the detail but the heart of this exhibition is the use of a single image of a young bloke jumping in the air. The room is set up as the living area of a home. The image is reproduced on clocks, fabrics, cups, plates, a carpet, a jigsaw puzzle and all sorts of furniture and household items. Baker is playing with mass production and global consumerism. I was happy when I went in and even happier when I had digested everything in the room. 20150414_134306 20150414_134342 20150414_134353 20150414_134401 20150414_134445 IMAG0015 IMAG0016 IMAG0017 IMAG0018 IMAG0019 IMAG0020