Read: Designer Catchups: Alison Page
Date: July 28, 2015
Author: Dermot McGuire
With CUSP about to come a close on 15 August at QVMAG, we’ve set out to discover what our 12 designers have been investigating, creating, and experimenting with since CUSP first launched back in 2013.
We caught up with Alison Page to discover the latest projects from this incredibly talented jewellery, interiors, and object designer…
As a descendant of the Walbanga and Wadi Wadi people of the Yuin nation, Alison Page champions the recognition of Aboriginal design and heritage, and works in architecture, interiors, jewellery, object design, and public art.
The Sit Place, Alison’s installation in CUSP, transformed the nucleus of the home – the living room – into a space with cultural meaning and asked the question, “What is Australian style and how does Aboriginality fit within the national design identity?”
Refresh your memory with this video Alison made for us about The Sit Place and her artistic process, and read on to discover what she’s been up to and the press she’s been getting in the last couple of years.
Who knew winning a Lego competition at the age of 12 could spark such an interest in architecture and design that would later lead to a successful and (further!) award-winning career?
So is the case with Alison, who after her early success with pieces of colourful plastic wanted a profession that would provide a job at the end of the learning process, but one in which she could still be creative. And not to mention one in which people of different backgrounds and classes could be represented and revered.
Check out this fascinating interview Alison did with The Australian to learn more about her early influences and what makes her tick.
“We are not going to get interesting designers if they all come from the middle class.”
Talking to The Sydney Morning Herald, Alison explains how she feels she has a responsibility to strengthen Indigenous cultural values and pass them on to young people. All the while checking ego at the door!
“I realised that my heritage, which was really grounded in beautiful cultural values about sustainability and connection to country … the importance of storytelling and of family could all be communicated or expressed through this medium called architecture.”
Check out the rest of the piece here.
Until recently, Alison was the founding CEO of the Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance and Director of their annual Saltwater Freshwater festival.
A regional body for Aboriginal arts and culture on the Mid North Coast of NSW, SFAA delivers a year round program of arts and cultural activities in order to celebrate and educate about Indigenous practices.
With thanks to Alison, the work the Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance does is an important part of the lives of Indigenous communities in the area.
Learn more about their program and the influence it has had here.
And for something a little different…
It’s true the bulk of Alison’s work centers on interior design and architecture, but the clever multitasker has also excelled at jewellery making.
Teaming up with Mondial Neuman Jewellers, Alison created a unique range of contemporary Aboriginal jewellery using natural coloured diamonds and precious metals. The results, Diamond Dreaming, were the first range of jewellery of its type in Australia.
“Traditionally Aboriginal people have made necklaces of shells and echidna quills and other objects of natural beauty. Diamond Dreaming, for the first time, adds the brilliance of natural coloured diamonds to the Aboriginal ritual of adornment,” Alison says.
“If you look at traditional Aboriginal objects – like a boomerang or wumura – they are objects of sophisticated function; great beauty; are inherently sustainable; and also contain a spiritual layer, which is usually carved or painted onto it. This is what informs our practice today. To match the intent and talent of our ancestral designers is what we strive for. This is design from an Aboriginal perspective.” – Alison Page
Alison Page has a vision for the world where Aboriginal cultural stories give rise to everyday design projects. Working in architecture, interiors, jewellery and public art, Page champions the recognition of Aboriginal design as a perspective that honours the origin and intention of Aboriginal stories, and which adds value to design beyond aesthetics or pattern making.