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Canberra’s most iconic jug unveils 15 unique collaborations

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If you’re a lover of Canberra design, the iconic F!NK jug needs no introduction.

Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, you’re probably familiar with its unique shape and bright colours.

If you own a F!NK jug, you’ll know what a statement piece it becomes in the home—but what if we told you that you could own one of 15 unique collaborative pieces by some of Canberra’s most talented creatives?

The F!NK Collaborative Jug Project was launched in late March as a way to both celebrate the collaborative partnerships of F!NK’s talented founder, the late Robert Foster, and set Canberra’s creative community a challenge during COVID.

The challenge was simple—15 creatives were given two pressed aluminium F!NK jugs and free reign to “respond” to the piece in a manner informed by their own practice and design background.

The ‘blank’ F!NK jugs.

This Friday 26 June, all 15 jugs will be exhibited in F!NK’s Queanbeyan studio space with limited tickets available for the physically-distanced viewing—with all pieces then being auctioned live online at 5 pm.

Winning bidders will have the chance to take home a truly unique piece of local design, with a percentage of the proceeds being donated to Headspace Canberra to fund youth mental health services.

F!NK & Co’s Gretel Harrison, who was Robert’s partner in life and work, says that F!NK’s workshop is a historically collaborative space, which has hosted many emerging artists and makers.

This was how Gretel and the F!NK team chose the 15 artists to take part in the project—with every one of them having a “direct connection” to Robert and/or F!NK across the last 27 years.

“We had been talking about this idea for years, and when COVID came along we had an empty workshop so we thought ‘what can we do with our time?’,” says Gretel.

Robert Foster and Gretel Harrison.

“So we came up with the idea of approaching 15 people who had worked with Robbie in different aspects of his career.”

One such creative who took up the challenge is bisonhome founder Brian Tunks, whose colourful glazed pieces have been a staple of Canberra homes for over two decades. Brian says that for him, the project was as much sentimental as it was creative.

“Working together with Gretel (and her very talented team) on such an iconic piece was a timely reminder of the value of good, considered design,” he says. “The fact that I had known both Robbie and Gretel for over two decades also made it personal for me.”

“I think that Gretel did the community a great service. The past few months have been challenging for many of our friends in the world of art, music, and creatives of all walks of life. Having a concept to work on which was both collegial and engaging was a positive experience.”

A preview of a F!NK Collaborative jug by an unnamed artist, which will be auctioned this Friday evening.

Brian is tight-lipped about his jug design, however, he will reveal that “you may see some textural elements of our BRIAN TUNKS blown and faceted glass vessels fused together with the F!NK jug.”

He also adds that he’s so happy with the result that he’ll be bidding on it come Friday.

Another artist showcasing a collaborative jug is silversmith Alison Jackson, whose eponymous studio crafts elegant minimalist jewellery. She says that the collaboration couldn’t have come at a better time.

“I was thrilled when Gretel asked me to be a part of the project,” she says. “It was in those initial weeks of COVID-19 when I think everyone was really just trying to keep their head above water so to speak.”

“With a bit of unknown few months ahead, it was really lovely to think and work on a creative project like this, something different to our everyday in the studio and certainly a positive engaging project in uncertain times.”

A preview of a F!NK Collaborative jug by an unnamed artist, which will be auctioned this Friday evening.

For Alison, her training as a silversmith laid the foundation for her design, which focuses on “the simplicity of repetition…letting the mark of the hammer really shine and not take away from the beautiful elegant form of the F!NK jug.”

“I love the marks made by my raising hammer, a sort of long oval-shaped mark,” explains Alison.

“Traditionally these marks are further refined with flatter hammer marks and then eventually sanded and polished away from the surface, but I just love how it shows the mark of the maker so I really wanted to make it a feature. I also thought it was a lovely reference to Robbie’s training as a silversmith too.”

A preview of a F!NK Collaborative jug by an unnamed artist, which will be auctioned this Friday evening.

For Gretel, the results speak for themselves.

“They are all stunning and beautiful and they really do have a true sense of how each [artist] works.”

The jugs will be available for viewing online at 32auctions.com/finkcollaborativejug on Thursday 25 June.

If you’d like to view the jugs in person before the auction, you can email mail@finkdesign.com to enquire about tickets in the physically-distanced viewing times, although tickets are almost sold out.


What: The F!NK Collaborative Jug Project auction
When: Friday 26 June at 5 pm
Where: Online via 32auctions.com/finkcollaborativejug


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