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Nurturing Canberra’s textile artists at OBDM

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The Canberra region is becoming increasingly known for its high quality textile artists, many of which have gained significant national and international recognition for their work in recent years.

Well-known Canberra-based textile designer, Julie Ryder, says when she moved to the national capital in 1999, there wasn’t really a huge community of textile artists, but she firmly believes there’s now a new generation of people who are now realising that you can support yourself through creative endeavours in the national capital.

“Canberra is an affordable place to live and really does nurture the creative arts. People with a love of design and textiles are being supported through Craft ACT, Megalo Print Studio & Gallery, the ANU School of Textiles, and places like the Braddon precinct. The advent of online and communities like ETSY also means Canberra artists can flourish beyond their own region,” says Julie.


Canberra-based textile designer, Julie Ryder will be at the Old Bus Depot Markets this Sunday. Photo by Belinda Jessup at Pialligo Studio.

Julie who had a career in science originally, has been a practicing textile artist, designer and educator in Canberra for over 20 years. She studied at the then Melbourne Institute of Textiles, and completed a Master of Arts (Visual Arts) degree at the ANU. Today she has a highly regarded conceptual arts practice creating fabric for interiors, interior designers and architects, and having her work exhibited in The Powerhouse Museum, Art Gallery of South Australia and the National Gallery of Australia. Yet Julie loves nothing more than exhibiting her commercial line of products at the Old Bus Depot Markets’ Creative Fibre theme day.

“The Old Bus Depot Markets is a fabulous platform for Canberra textile artists to start developing products, and to test the market. Myself and other local textile artists also love the direct feedback from clients, and connecting with real people who love your product and make it all worthwhile,” she says.

The markets’ popular theme day, Creative Fibre, allows visitors to immerse themselves in creativity with some of the region’s most talented textile artists showcasing and selling their work.


Julie_Ryder’s ‘Terrain VII, 2013’. Made with plant dyes – ochre and ash print on Hahnemuhle 300gsm.

“Creative Fibre is one of our most popular theme days. It’s an opportunity to engage with the region’s textile artists – people who design, print on fabric, weave, make baskets, knit, hand dye fabric – learn about the processes involved, and take home original works,” says Old Bus Depot Markets’ Director, Diane Hinds.

This year’s Creative Fibre event will highlight well known artists, such as Julie Ryder who will be selling her highly sought after printed scarves, tea towels and socks. Anna Sutherland from Maddison Jane in Braddon will be there with her cushions, bolsters and lamp shades, Lynne Britten will showcase her textile dyes and fabric paints, and Polly Crowden will have handmade and screen printed bamboo ladies leggings, amongst others.

The ACT Textile Art Association will also be there to talk to the public about how their association can support textile artists further.

“Even though consumers can buy items over the internet now, it does not give you the same experience as meeting the artist and seeing and feeling the work in reality. At the market there are also more one-off items, prototypes and products not often stocked in shops, with a greater range of colours. The artist benefits because you get to meet your customers face to face and you can then get them interested in your other work,” Julie continues.

“Canberra really is a city of design and innovation and we’re sustainable as such. There’s a steady stream of textile artists coming through the ANU, printing out of Megalo in Kingston, and heading to markets like the Old Bus Depot Markets’ Creative Fibre to exhibit and sell their works.”

The essentials

What: Creative Fibre — Old Bus Depot Markets
When: 10am-4pm, Sunday 12 July
Where: Old Bus Depot, Wentworth Avenue, Kingston
How much: Entry is free
Web: Visit the OBDM website for info. For more information on Julie Ryder visit www.julieryder.com.au.

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