Object: stories of design and craft is a podcast exploring design and contemporary craft in Australia, hosted by Australian Design Centre’s CEO and Artistic Director Lisa Cahill.

Series 1 explored masters of craft. Listen here.

Series 2 focusses in on ceramics. Listen here.

Series 2: Clay Connections

Series 2 zooms in on a craft form that every second person is doing or trying or buying - ceramics. Over five episodes you’ll meet Ilona Topolcsanyi, Brett Stone, Jane Sawyer, Robyn Phelan and Eva Czernis-Ryl. You’ll hear how artists collaborate, their advice for other makers and the future for ceramics.

Series 2 was produced to accompany the ADC On Tour exhibition SIXTY: Celebrating the Sixtieth Anniversary of The Journal of Australian Ceramics 1962-2022 that is currently touring Australia. This project is funded with the support of the Australian Government's Visions of Australia program and is a collaboration with major partner The Australian Ceramics Association. See more about SIXTY here.

Ceramics is a global phenomenon that is not going to pass. As they say, clay is here to stay! Eva Czernis-Ryl.

Series 2: Clay Connections
Release date: 9 November 2022
Episode lengths: 25 mins average
Host and Executive Producer: Lisa Cahill
Producer: Jane Curtis
Media and Production Support: Alix Fiveash

If you love objects, contemporary craft and design, subscribe to Object: stories of design and craft.

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favourite player here.

Series 1: Masters of Craft

When I first sat down at the potter's wheel, that was it. Bugger painting! This was blood and guts and real.
Jeff Mincham

Series 1 of Object: stories of design and craft explores the Masters of Craft, nationally and internationally acclaimed craftspeople, our living treasures.

Meet Australia’s master craftspeople working in ceramics, jewellery, textiles and metal. Why does their work matter? How do they keep going? How does working in Australia impact their work? What’s their advice for makers now?

Prue Venables, Jeff Mincham, Lola Greeno, Liz Williamson, Les Blakebrough, Marian Hosking and Robert Baines down their tools and talk with Lisa Cahill from the Australian Design Centre.

Release date: 14 October 2021
Episode lengths: 25 mins average

Host and Executive Producer: Lisa Cahill
Producer: Jane Curtis
Media and Production Support: Alix Fiveash

The Living Treasures series of exhibitions have been toured by Australian Design Centre through ADC On Tour our national touring exhibition program with support from the Australian Government through the Visions of Australia regional exhibition touring program. The program supports audience access to Australian arts and cultural material, with a particular focus on tours to regional and remote Australia.

Listen and subscribe to Object: stories of design and craft

Episode 5: Museums and ceramics with Eva Czernis-Ryl

Eva Czernis-Ryl is an art and design historian and curator of Arts and Design at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.

In this episode, you’ll hear about the special skills of a museum curator. What makes a work of ceramics suitable for a museum collection and the unique history of ceramics collected by the Powerhouse Museum. You’ll also hear from Vicki Grima on setting up a ‘living bequest’ fund for ceramics.

Episode 4: Writing about ceramics with Robyn Phelan

Robyn Phelan is a writer, a ceramics artist and an educator. She writes regularly for The Australian Journal of Ceramics, and her other writing includes exhibition text and catalogues, reviews and articles.

In this episode, you’ll hear how Robyn became a writer, what makes a good piece of writing about visual art, how we might get critique back into Australian arts commentary and her tips for new arts writers.

You’ll also hear from fine art photographer Greg Piper on how to photograph ceramics.

Series 2: Episode 3 Learning and teaching ceramics with Jane Sawyer

What are the many ways to learn ceramics?  If you’re thinking about a class at a local studio or applying for a university or TAFE course, what’s good to know? Hear different approaches on teaching with clay and a wishlist for the future of ceramics education in Australia. Jane Sawyer is the founding director of the Slow Clay Centre and is a ceramics teacher and artist.

Series 2: Episode 2 Collecting ceramics with Brett Stone

Brett Stone is an artist, an art dealer, and the founding director of Claypool.

In this episode, you’ll hear how to start a ceramics collection and the many different ways we can nurture ceramic practice.

Series 2 Episode 1: Plating up with Ilona Topolcsanyi

Ilona Topolcsanyi makes bespoke tableware for some of Australia's most notable chefs. She’s even made plates that world leaders have eaten from, like Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and Xi JinPing.

In this episode you'll hear how Ilona designs and makes by hand large orders of beautiful, hard-wearing and functional tableware and learn how she works with chefs as a problem-solver, figuring out how to make bowls where the sauce sits perfectly.

Series 1 Episode 8: The Making of Living Treasures

In this bonus episode, you’ll meet Brian Parkes, one of the key people behind the original idea for the Living Treasures series of exhibitions. Hear how the idea of the series became a reality on a shoestring budget, the popularity of Living Treasures at regional galleries and about the two Living Treasures Lisa Cahill didn’t get to interview – the late glass artist Klaus Moje and glass artist Nick Mount.

Series 1 Episode 7: Robert Baines

In a career spanning five decades, Robert Baines is one of Australia’s leading gold and silversmiths. In this episode, you’ll hear about how Robert researched high Classical Greek gold jewellery and remade it using those 2000 year old techniques, how colour takes on many meanings in his jewellery, and how a chance meeting in a gallery changed everything.

Series 1 Episode 6: Les Blakebrough

In a career spanning seven decades, Les Blakebrough has become one of Australia's most acclaimed and influential ceramic artists.

In this episode, you’ll hear about Les’ experiments in the early days, why he went from ceramics maker to porcelain producer, and how Australia’s first national craft association was founded.

Series 1 Episode 5: Liz Williamson

Liz Williamson is an internationally respected textile artist who specialises in hand-woven textiles and is known as a ‘matriarch of Australian weaving’.  Hear what Liz’s favourite ‘magical’ material is, how darning and repair informs her work, and how she works with weavers around the world.

Series 1 Episode 4: Marian Hosking

Marian Hosking is an award-winning artist, and is a former Head of Jewellery at Charles Sturt University, The Riverina College of Advanced Education and Monash University. Hear why Marian thinks that souvenirs are underrated; the reason she still makes brooches and how she co-founded the iconic Melbourne open access jewellery space, Workshop 3000.

Series 1 Episode 3: Prue Venables

Prue Venables is one of Australia’s most accomplished ceramic artists. Hear how Prue went from a career in science to pottery; how three tiny porcelain jugs changed everything for her; and her controversial advice for new makers.

Series 1 Episode 2: Lola Greeno

Lola Greeno is an award winning Tasmanian Aboriginal shell worker and artist. Learn about the role of insects in making a traditional shell necklace, how Lola creates for kids as well as adults, and what she wants every Tasmanian Aboriginal woman to know.

Series 1 Episode 1: Jeff Mincham

Jeff Mincham is one of Australia's most prominent ceramic artists. Hear what it was like to witness the birth of the Australian Crafts Movement, how Jeff deals with success and failure, and his characteristically blunt advice to makers.

Meet the host and producer

Object podcast is hosted by CEO and Artistic Director Lisa Cahill and produced by Jane Curtis.

Supported by: