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Undercurrent: Waves of creatives come to Canberra

Beatrice Smith

A perfect storm of great design, jewellery, paper craft, fashion and food is coming to Canberra next weekend for Undercurrent Design Market.

Bringing designers from all creative walks of life to Canberra, Undercurrent provides an opportunity to appreciate and buy design products from homegrown designers. It’s the perfect way to spend a Friday night or a quiet weekend (and perhaps find that perfect Christmas gift).

Undercurrent’s founder Richard Baz says the idea for Undercurrent came from his moment of realisation that many makers from around Australia needed a place to show here in Canberra. Setting themselves apart from other markets and showcases, Richard and wife Mel wanted Undercurrent to represent the goods their stores, The Portrait Gallery Store at the National Portrait Gallery and The Curatoreum at the Arboretum, like to stock.

“Some of Undercurrent’s stall holders mass produce, some are handcrafted and we wanted to try and represent all of them, and celebrate makers,” says Richard.

Wendy Voon

Wendy Voon

Since its inaugural market in 2010, Undercurrent has far exceeded the couple’s wildest dreams.

“We started with a humble 30 stores and it was a huge success. I was quite overwhelmed with the response of people coming along and supporting designer makers,” he says.

“This November we’re at capacity and have peaked at 60 stalls with over 70 designer makers being represented and it’s wonderful to see them all join together to celebrate ‘making’.”

As for what’s new for Undercurrent 2016, Richard says he’s most excited for a group of bespoke artisans whose wares are unique to both Canberra’s market scene and Australia’s overall creative landscape.

Convict Bags [are] by a Melbourne maker who makes beautiful bespoke handmade leather bags. Some of them are cowhide with fur on and they’re quite unique,” says Richard. “They’re at the top end of making and they’re quite stunning.”

Another of Richard’s picks took him six years to get to Undercurrent, but clearly it was worth the wait.

Polli’s creations are designed and produced in Australia,” says Richard. “They try to make all their manufacturing carbon neutral so much of it is laser cut stainless steel and some of it is laser cut wood with printing on it.”

All The Kings Men

All The Kings Men

Richard’s third highlight is one for the discerning Canberra gent – bespoke leather bag company All The Kings Men, created by designer Simon King.

“Simon started out importing brass fittings for his bags and from that he started to import the wonderful and infamous Duck Feet leather shoes.”

Richard explains that Simon will be bringing both ranges with him to Canberra, and with Simon’s bag range having expanded “ten times” since the last market, there’s sure to be a bag or shoes (or perhaps a Christmas present?) to appeal to everyone.

Alison Jackson's table ware

Alison Jackson table ware

Richard’s last recommendation is perennial HerCanberra favourite Alison Jackson, silversmith and local jewellery extraordinaire. Alison’s newly launched Signature Collection will be on display as well as her range of minimalist tableware.

But there’s so much more to look forward to beyond these four makers.

“We also have 15 jewellers and six fashion stalls from throughout Australia,” explains Richard.

Sarah Bourke

Sarah Bourke

“There will be High Tea with Mrs Woo from Newcastle, Two Threads from Melbourne, Wendy Voon from Melbourne and Captain Robbo, who does printable tights for kids and adults, which are such wonderful celebrations of clothing.”

Alison Jackson jewellery

Alison Jackson jewellery

There will also be five stationery stalls and 10 ceramicists stalls selling everything from ceramic jewellery to home wares.

To top all of this off, The Forage will be making an appearance on Friday 18 November from 5pm until 8pm, giving everyone a chance to fuel up on delicious street food as they browse.

“The Forage will be there on the Friday night, so you can expect to find treats including Burra Berkshire’s free range pulled pork burgers, Loose Gourmet Churros’ confections, La Petit Breton’s crepes and even a Baldwin Distillery pop up bar,” says Richard.

“This is great news for people who missed out on their Forage fix following the event’s cancellation last weekend.”

“We also have a local Canberra group who play South American style music called El Camino who will be performing some relaxed background music — it’s the perfect mix of ingredients!”

the essentials

What: Undercurrent Design Market 2016
When: Friday 18 November from 5-8pm, Saturday 19 November from 10am-5pm and Sunday 20 November from 10am-3pm
Where: The National Portrait Gallery, Parkes Place, Parkes
Find more information: www.facebook.com/The-Curatoreum

Images: Supplied

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Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Editorial Coordinator involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise you’ll find her at the movies, ordering a cheese board or ordering a cheese board at the movies. More about the Author

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