Earlier this month I took a week off to hang out with my husband and celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We were camping (no computers!) and had a wonderful time down the coast. On our way south we stopped in at Lismore Art Space run by artists Jo Kambourian & Darren Bryant.
It was an absolute pleasure to see their gallery and printmaking studios - we were also lucky enough to meet Ted who had loving restored the 100 year old woodworking shed into the outstanding creative warehouse space it is today.
While there I was totally over stimulated - there was so much to take in (including an epic exhibition by Deane Fentonby and Kate Stroud) and Jo and Darren are such lovely, generous and warm people, passionate about printmaking, the creative scene and their community... Lismore Art Space is a must visit destination for anyone with an interest in printmaking, art (or culture!).
Jo's work draws inspiration from her Armenian Dutch heritage. Reflecting on personal, cultural and social identity. Jo creates narratives told via pattern, design, collage in print, textile and mixed media (we got to see a sneak peek of an amazing woven piece she is working on I cant wait to see more of!)
Today I want to share one of Jo's projects that was particularly inspiring. AKIN; a collaboration with MATTER.
Derived from the word ‘kin’, AKIN speaks of stories from the forgotten past, mapping out the threads that connect us to our ancestors.
"A couple of years ago I discovered my Grandmothers collection of vintage wooden blocks hidden in one of the radiators in her apartment in Queens, NY. I was there to help her move into a nursing home and after 60 years of living in the same apartment, I found sentimental treasures and time capsules everywhere. I discovered her portfolio of textile design from the Design School she attended (The New York School of Applied Design for Ladies…or something like that)." says Jo.
Discovering her grandmothers artifacts began a process of research into the contemporary applications of the Indian cultural tradition of block printing. She struck up a conversation with MATTER 'a socially motivated brand' pioneering industry change and sustainability for rural textile communities. (Founded in 2014, they began simply with the intention to elevate the importance of 'where' 'why' and 'by whom' something is made, matter.) Jo suggested a collaboration and AKIN was born! Matter connected Jo with 4th generation block printers in Jaipur India who handprinted Jo's designs the project was facilitated by MATTER in Singapore…
The beautiful silk/cotton scarves that resulted are nothing short of exquisite! Read more about the AKIN collaboration here, or purchase one of the beautiful AKIN pieces (or some of Jo's awesome screen prints) for yourself here.