Handmade house

Our three-day, multi-location show as part of Craft Victoria’s Craft Cubed 2017, The Handmade House, finished on Sunday. In various locations within Melbourne’s CBD four artists manually crafted a house frame from rudimentary materials in three two hour time slots. This process was linked via live streaming to another three artists in downtown Castlemaine. These artists responded simultaneously with 3D printing, development and installation of small, digitally manufactured houses in the Wide Open Road Art cabinets.

Our different house installations were made with the artists in conversation across geographic distance and time lapses, and produced some striking work.

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Kate Meade, The Handmade House 2017
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CiPi, The Handmade House 2017
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Mark Richardson, The Handmade House 2017


Our city artists, Helen Mathwin, Jaxon Waterhouse, Elizabeth West and Susie Elliott, had only crude materials like wood, screws, wool and clay, and needed to find innovative ways to move their growing house structure to the three city locations over the three days. They were also beset by damage to the house in this process, including the smashing of its clay windows.



We also had to keep live streaming and video comms going so our artists in Castlemaine had a sense of what we were up to. Overall, this manual side of the show was slow, cobbled-together and  constrained by the limitations of materials, process and transportability.

Up in Castlemaine, artists CiPi, Kate Meade and Mark Richardson had smaller bio-plastic houses that were 3D-printed from a digital file that they could install and modify how they saw fit in each of their window boxes. House production here, while certainly faster, was not as rapid as we initially expected, and continually modifying the file to reflect the CBD house slowed the process down substantially.



Community engagement was high with both city and country shows, with many passers-by stopping to question to work, make suggestions on how to add to it, or to discuss the inexhaustible topic of housing in Australia at the moment.

Throughout the work, themes regarding the double-edged nature of the house emerged; of nostalgia, the home as a sacred, golden place, but also of its flimsiness, transience, and even limiting nature. In Mark Richardson’s tower, the extremes of status and power that are now a fact of city and even some regional house markets are also invoked.

Craft Cubed: Day 3

Day three, final day for The Handmade House project, on Flinders Lane in Melbourne CBD, Jaxon Waterhouse, Susie Elliott and Helen Mathwin continued to work on the house structure. In the same two-hour window, on the street in Castlemaine Mark Richardson printed a 3D honeycombed tower. Both activities were in response to each other, using the internet and mobile communication to stay tuned into the other activity. Videos and live streams that were used for this are available here.



Handmade House day 3

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Mark Richardson, The Handmade House 2017, detail

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Craft Cubed Marks tiny house 1


We’ll write more in the coming days about the project — the impact of the live stream, the public nature of the work and the relationship between the urban and the regional settings.

Craft Cubed: Day 2

Today marks the second day of the Handmade House project. Artists Jaxon Waterhouse and Susie Elliott further developed the timber house frame that was started yesterday on William St.  Today we shifted to Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD.



Meanwhile in Castlemaine artists Kate Meade and Mark Richardson installed and printed miniature houses in PLA. Parts of the process, city and rural, were filmed and streamed live via YouTube allowing the artists to stay in contact with each other. This interplay resulted in some strong and unforeseen connections between the sites.

Videos and livestreams of the day’s activities can be found here.








Craft Cubed: Day 1

We had a great start to The Handmade House today, taking place simultaneously in Melbourne CBD and downtown Castlemaine.

The manual building of our timber house frame began at 360 William Street in Melbourne city, where Elizabeth West joined Wide Open Road’s Helen Mathwin with basic tools, screws and timber in a vacant grassy spot between high-rises.

Here are some stills from our city livestream:



You can watch more live stream here.

Meanwhile in Castlemaine, local artist CiPi was installing our 3D-printed houses into one of the Wide Open Road window boxes. Here’s another still from our video feed (more available here).



CiPi, Handmade House detail Castlemaine, 2017

The house is the ultimate item of modern super-consumption, particularly here in Australia. With its market value and consumer desire both at stratospheric levels, houses have rapidly become the objects that perhaps best speak of status, inequality and dominance of our environment. In The Handmade House we seek to highlight attitudes in the housing market that extend mass consumption practices of the 20th century – of rapid urban sprawl and quick construction, but also of feverish consumption and the creation of enormous disparities in wealth.

The show juxtaposes modern consumption and with new aspirations that have been placed on Maker and craft culture. With it we see the renewed value of laborious, often hand-made craft practices, but we also see previously unseen forms of making emerging, with new tools and capacities for distributed collaboration. Both of these rely on vibrant communities of innovation, exchange and co-operation, particularly facilitated by the internet. The show utilises the near-instant transfer of information from Melbourne CBD (of the laborious, traditional methods of manual timber construction) to our artists in regional Victoria, who digitally model and reproduce a structure at their remote location, using the homemade 3D printer. Thus we also explore the contemporary relevance of an ‘art centre’ like the Melbourne metropolis, and how regional areas are increasingly sites of innovation and vibrant making, involving both local and distributed communities, in distinctively new ways.


CiPi, Handmade House detail Castlemaine, 2017


CiPi, Handmade House, detail 2017

Stay tuned as the project develops in both locations over the next two days.


Craft Cubed: The Handmade House Project

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Coming Soon!

Wide Open Road Art presents The Handmade House as part of the 2017 Craft Cubed Festival. Seven artists in various urban and rural locations will be connected across three days via real-time video link up. Whilst communicating their progress/ process they will be developing, printing, constructing and installing houses of varied scale in the public sphere. The Handmade House explores crafting communities and the commodification of the modern home.

Dates/ times/ locations

August 11, 12-2 pm: Wide Open Road Art Castlemaine (corner of Mostyn and Hargraves street)

August 11, 12-2 pm: 360 William Street, Melbourne CBD

August 12, 12-2 pm: Wide Open Road Art Castlemaine

August 12, 12-2 pm: Corner of George and Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD

August 13, 12-2 pm: Wide Open Road Art Castlemaine

August 13, 12-2 pm: Corner of Throssell and Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD


Monsieur J.B. Pietri and I (2017)

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Recent work by CiPi . Monsieur J.B. Pietri was a French Technocrat who worked as the Contoleur des Peches de l’Indochine during the 1940’s in IndoChina. He saw the way of life changing irrevocably for the fishermen and their families who worked along the rivers and on the vast coastlines. Using pencil and pen, he documented their sailing craft and culture both visually and in incredible written detail before the craft were replaced by the most part with motorised versions or disappeared in entirety.

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Monsieur J.B. Pietri and I (2017) detail. .

Monsieur J.B. Pietri and I is inspired by the beautiful shapes of the floating craft that he depicts in his book Voiliers d’Indochine (Sailboats of Indochina). Using the embroidered line, applique and cut outs in leather of Monsieur Pietri’s drawings , we go on another journey.

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Our journey continues with little boat brooches available for sale. 3 silhouettes from M.Pietris work, laser cut from ply on a white oval disc. To view and purchase brooches click here.


Adventures in Permutation

Keep a close eye on Wide Open Road Art this month as our transmuting installation morphs. Courtesy of Wide Open Road Art Collective.

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Adventures in Permutation explores the idea of a Structural semantic rhetoric. The evolving installation begins with a highly stylised representation of a lense flare. From this point the work will develop following the four principles of permutation, transposition, addition and omission. Each shift will be recorded and examined in terms of its semantic properties.


Origin Myths

The mixed-media installation Origin Myths is the continuation of Jaxon Waterhouse’s evolving, multi-disciplinary practice investigating the intersection of time, place, space and the narratives that emerge from these intersections.


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 Drawing from his background in historical studies, Waterhouse combines sculpture, found and archival material, to create an historical narrative that combines truth and fiction, in order to examine and critique both the construction of stories and colonial museological practices.

Origin Myths opens on Saturday 1 April 2017.

Castlemaine State Festival

Castlemaine State Festival March 17-26. A busy period for Wide Open Road Art involving Harvest at The Mill (details below) and Transition by Simon MacEwan (see previous post).

Harvest at The Mill features a selection of artists who have previously exhibited at Wide Open Road Art. The artists share an eye for detail and an interest in the handcrafted. Artists involved are: CiPiCarolyn Cardinet, Selby GinnSusie Elliott and Helen Mathwin.

CiPi Harvest at Mill

Welcome to Semophoria, CiPi, 2017


Waterways (detail) Carolyn Cardinet, 2017


Untitled, Selby Ginn 2017

House harvest at the mill

Untitled, Susie Elliott and Helen Mathwin, 2017

Thanks to Harvest at The Mill for lending us their space and local wine producers Boomtown for supporting this event.