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Tuesday 11 October 2022

Design Fringe Setup and Opening


This post has a bit of overlap with my bikes blog but anyway I will post it here - anyway, be prepared for photos of busted bike bits!

For several years I have entered Fringe Furniture, a local open entry design competition and exhibition.  Its been quite fun. If I am an artist, I am a very shy one, and don't actively go out and sell my art. 

Fringe Furniture and its successor, Design Fringe have been a bit of an exception, and I've gone out for several years and put things I've made on show and (hopefully) make an impression and (hopefully) sell, but if they don't, I'm not that fussed and am quite happy to schmooze and mingle with other artists and just hang out and enjoy myself. One mob I met was the Space Tank Studio, and I have used the routing mob who were based there (Sean and Horn) several times.

Anyway, after several years of the exhibition running locally at the Abbotsford convent, covid came along, and the exhibition went virtual for a few years, and though I entered, nothing much happened, although I did get some online exposure through Designers on Your Doorstep, a Linden new art initiative. 

Bike in original form - you


can't steer or ride the bike

when its broken like this.


This year I made another lamp for Design Fringe and installing it wasn't easy. Somewhat stubbornly, I decided to ride down to Linden in Acland St St Kilda. Unfortunately, I was a day early and also my bike broke on the way there. The steering had been wonky and eventually just as I hit the foreshore it broke, depositing me and the bike and my assembly of beer cans (ok, lampshade) on the tarmac. It was unrideable!

 As well as installing at Linden, I had planned to visit my Dad in hospital so I had a bit of a rethink about what to do and loaded stuff in the bike again and walked on the 3 or 4 k from Port Melbourne to St Kilda, passing the big Paul Kelly mural on the Espy Hotel on the way.

It turns out I was a day early for bump in but was greeted warmly by Juliette anyway. The lampshade bits were damaged, and I couldn't ride the bike, so I asked Juliette if I could leave them there till the next day, and she kindly agreed. So I walked to the tram, then swapped over to the train in the city and was home fairly quick. I rang my Dad, explained the problem and he was ok with that.


In the afternoon, I stole some steerer bits off other bikes, so I could fix the bike next day. As well I stuck 3d printed stuff to beer cans to make up for the lampshade parts I'd broken.  Early the next day, I headed back down to Linden and quite enjoyed the tram ride this time, it is the 96 and runs through Albert Park on a former railway line. 

This time things went ok, I had enough cans and joiners and bicycle spoke parts to fix the lamp, and fixing the bike went ok too, except I didn't fix the gearing and rode home the whole way in highest gear which wasn't too bad.

Wet!  But no parking problems on opening day.


The next major event in Design Fringe was opening day. I was at the Wecycle bike shed helping out in the morning and left at about 1 for the 2pm opening. Unfortunately it was very rainy, and I pulled over to shelter under a Docklands highrise about halfway there. The rain let up after a while, and the rest of the trip to St Kilda wasn't too wet. But I did arrive at Linden a bit late, a bit wet, a bit bedraggled, and a bit dispirited. 


The opening speeches bit was underway, and it was reasonably crowded, so I squeezed in, grabbed some food and a beer and was eventually rewarded by hearing my name read out as Honourable Mention in the Banyule Council Design for a Circular Economy Award. Now as far as awards go this is not the greatest, the reward for winning it being precisely nothing, and rating below the Archibald, the Booker, the Miles Franklin. But I was quite happy to take it, an eventual pay off for years of entries. I rang my wife Christine at home, she was very pleased for me.


After a look around the entries, I found out where mine was, and went in to check it out. There were a few other artists there including Kaspian Kan, Kenton Rogers, Thomas Vasquez-Lee and Edward Linacre, so I was able to chat and discuss our works.  


A few hours later and the crowd was thinning out but I had to wolf down quite a bit of the dips and bread just to generate a bit of body warmth and have enough energy to ride home. It had been a good day and the weather had decided to be nice to me!

For a few months now, I have been writing an article explaining the techniques behind my Fringe lamp constructions (cds were used for Designers on Your Doorstep last year, and drink cans for this year's entry) for the Australian Maths Education Journal. Its all written and finalised, and seeing as it forms a sort of exigesis for the work, I dropped a copy off at Linden New Art a few days later, visited the Design Fringe's second exhibition space as well.


Before it was a lamp, this year's lampshade was a raft, and I made a couple of videos of it here and here. It floats and tumbles!

Thanks to Juliette and Linden New Art for organising the opening and exhibition. The full Australian Maths Education Journal should be available online soon, after its been published in the Journal.

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