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A year of creators, incubators and community

1 May 2018 | Posted in: News

Written by: Rayannon Innes | Photography: Zana Kobayashi

Twelve months, twenty-four artists, one shed… and growing.

That is the impressive equation that has resulted from artist Braddon Snape’s idea this time last year to turn a Hamilton North storage shed into the arts hub that is The Creator Incubator. Braddon is quick to turn the credit away from himself though, for like any large-scale success story such as this, it’s been the creative collaboration and community support which has enabled the co-creating space to grow into what it is today.

“It’s overachieved what I first thought it would achieve in the year” said Braddon,

“The community has gotten involved and supported us so strongly”.

This was evident from day one, where close to 500 people visited the space on its launch night. At that time, the ten resident artists occupying the industrial space had established inviting studio spaces that worked in engaging the visiting community.

Multidisciplinary artist and Renew Emporium graduate Graham Wilson was the first of these creative powerhouses to join The Creator Incubator team. Having joined the new space a few months prior to the closure of The Emporium, Graham could already see how the mix of like-minded people forming in the space was going to work effectively in the creative hub.

This is the crucial ingredient that has made The Creator Incubator and other local co-creator spaces that have followed (see: Clocktower Studios, Studio One Maryville, Onwards, Softys, The Fernery – just to name a few) flourish in this city. With the meaningful collaboration of a property owner and the collective dream of a group of passionate individuals, real creativity and community can happen in a space.

It’s this exact ethos that we at Renew Newcastle hope to bring to the fore at The Station. By enabling local talent from a range of differing industries to showcase their crafts alongside one another, collaborative experimentation shall reveal itself. We intend for the The Station to not only highlight community talent but to serve as a directory point towards initiatives such as The Creator Incubator, allowing visitors to further immerse themselves within the local creative culture.

Until then, come along to the The Creator Incubator this Saturday evening to join in the event celebrating their one-year anniversary. A play on the incubator theme, ‘Cracked’ will feature an impressive exhibition that showcases each of the 24 artists’ works in the main gallery, with each tenant inviting the public into their creative spaces to share in creativity,
conversation and festivities.

Honest eye for beauty

1 May 2018 | Posted in: News

Written by: Rayannon Innes | Photography: Edwina Richards | Styling: Julie Grant |Wardrobe: Ali Sobel-Read (Pottery Ali), High Tea at Mrs Woo | Model: Charlotte Mullan 

For photographer Edwina Richards, it’s Lynch over likes.

While so many of us spend time considering what next to include in our digital Instagram galleries, Edwina is considering her shots, right down to the tiniest shadow. It’s this unmatched eye for photographic detail that Edwina has developed over the 18-month period she’s occupied the Clocktower Studios;

“If I spent that amount of time on social media, I don’t think I’d see any results” Edwina says through laughter,

“I’d much rather be making work than saying I’m making work”

With a background in darkroom film processing, Edwina knows that when it comes to photographic beauty, slow and steady wins the race. It’s this mindful approach to visual arrangement that made Edwina build an affinity with local creative stylist Julie Grant.

With a shared creative direction and a love for all things local, Edwina and Julie have spent the past few years arranging beautiful fashion campaigns together. From seasonal shoots with Emporium retailers to their recent editorial that assembled a league of local labels’ garments – including the ceramic earrings of fellow Clocktower artist Ali Sobel-Read – Edwina and Julie are championing the hand-made and local through their stunning visual productions.

Through these projects, Edwina foresees gallery exhibitions and perhaps even a photo book in the pipeline. Until then, Edwina continues to channel her array of skills working for local and national clients such as Jetstar Magazine and the University of Newcastle.

Outside of her clients and creative collaborators, Edwina also leads exciting darkroom tutorials, the next of which will be kid-friendly and free at Gosford Regional Gallery.

Creativity prevails

1 May 2018 | Posted in: News

Written by: Rayannon Innes | Photography: First National Real Estate

Where one new creative space emerges, the story of a string of previous arts incubator spaces comes before it. Long-time collaborators and current managers of Studio One Maryville, Marigold Pazar and Zackari Watt are working to provide a space where collaborative creativity can flourish as it once did in their previous projects.

With both Marigold and Zack sharing a passion for the performing arts amongst a multitude of other creative pursuits, the two met on the eve of the former arts hub of Morrow Park. Before the building tragically burned down in 2013, the Wickham Bowling Club turned alternative arts mecca, prospered for eight years during which time Zack sites “easily over 500 projects” took place in the space.

Although the fire completely demolished the property as well as thousands of dollars’ worth of instruments, recording gear, and costuming, Newcastle’s creative community survived to pick up the pieces. This is where Marigold, Zack, and fellow Renew graduate Zana Kobayashi would band together to create The Follower Studios as Renew tenants the following year. Alongside developing independent publication The Follower, the first floor of the Wolfe Street Studios property worked in filling the creative gap left after the loss of Morrow Park.

For over three years, The Follower Studios combined music and video production, photography, publishing, performance rehearsal, event management, and anything else the creative community had a will to produce. After being given the agreed thirty-day notice to vacate the property late last year, the pair’s swift pursuit of their current co-managed space came naturally through the creative connections they’ve made throughout their journey.

With a love of theatre and the performing arts himself, the owner of the Maryville warehouse property was excited by what the creative duo were proposing for the space; “He really wants it to be successful” recalls Zack. With an open courtyard under construction, eight creative tenants already occupying the studio and an exhibition planned for the front workshop space, the official launch event on the 12th of May is set to be one not to miss.

Keeping up with The Jones’

1 May 2018 | Posted in: News

Written by: Rayannon Innes | Photography: Edwina Richards

Just like the old namesake, Laura Jones is one to keep up with.

As the self-taught seamstress and owner of vintage-style clothing label Pigtails and Pirates, Laura couldn’t be happier with where the independent business has come today. From its beginnings as children’s wear sewn from home to the impressive collection of quality women’s dresses extending the length of her Renew studio, Pigtails & Pirates has flourished through its seven-year journey.

Alongside fellow seamstress and Renew tenant Jessica Ledgerwood of menswear label Bippy Jean, Laura and her locally stitched designs continue to thrive in the Australian and US market. Despite Pigtails & Pirates’ global demand, Laura is determined to keep her business locally-based, enabling her to dedicate her time to careful, creative and fun design. As a mum and part-time science teacher, Laura also shares her time supporting Newcastle’s local workforce where two other employed seamstresses work in keeping the business running smoothly while she’s not in the studio.

Now in their third shared space together, Laura and Jess love their spacious Market Square studio. When time and creativity strike them, the friends will often collaborate in dreaming up designs or creating entirely new garments for the client wanting something extra special and representative of both Laura and Jess’ craftsmanship.

If you make an appointment to visit their vintage women’s and menswear studio, you’ll notice the sign above their door that reads ‘Mr and Mrs’ Jones’ paying homage to their creative friendship. As Laura sees it, they’re “always trying to look and be [their] best” – and in their bespoke hand-sewn garments, you can too.

Making room for the dark

1 May 2018 | Posted in: News

Written by: Rayannon Innes | Photography: Jon Reid – ‘Untitled’ (Harvest), platinum print, 2008

Finding time to take things slow is incredibly hard in the fast-paced day-to-day. Many artists with families at home know this well.

Multidisciplinary photographer Jon Reid hasn’t had an opportunity to step back inside the darkroom in close to nine years. When his first child was born, the carefully processed negatives of his earlier work had to be substituted for commercial client shoots, many of which continue to have him commuting to Sydney on a weekly basis.

As well as time, limits in space are a factor that impact an artist’s ability to create. Jon has occupied a number of Renew studio spaces in the past, and although having executed countless client projects from those office spaces, a location enabling him to delve back into the world of darkroom photography hadn’t been a possibility until now.

Alongside fellow Renew photographer Edwina Richards, Jon carefully built a professional darkroom within the former conference space of their current Clocktower Studios location. It’s within this new space that Jon foresees an eventual return to platinum printing, a 19th century process that he recalls as “an extraordinarily fickle thing but if you get it right, it’s extremely beautiful”.

With numerous Sydney clients, university courses in photographic technique to teach, and a body of work in architecture photography to pursue, Jon is working towards finding time for the darkroom once more.