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  • Goldweights of the 19th Century Australian Colonists

Potter, Laura, 2012, Art or design object, Goldweights of the 19th Century Australian Colonists

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Abstract or Description:

Goldweights of the 19th Century Australian Colonists is a collection of miniature sculptural artefacts and an associated publication created by Potter for ‘Transplantation: A Sense of Place and Culture’, a touring exhibition of contemporary narrative jewellery curated by Professor Norman Cherry in conjunction with the National Centre for Craft and Design. Potter created 18 figurative brass castings, each with an accompanying text explaining its purported origin as a ‘goldweight’ used during the Australian gold rush of the mid-1800s. This fictional history was based on Potter’s library and collections research on the history of the gold rush and its extant material culture. Potter also designed and published a book to communicate the entire project effectively.
In response to the exhibition’s themes of migration, transportation and colonisation, Potter developed a set of counterfeit artefacts based on evidence about the gold mining settlements in New South Wales: historical newspapers, books written by settlers, museum displays and online databases. This material was then interwoven with African tribal crafts and Aboriginal storytelling, a process which gave rise to a (fictitious) measuring system for gold. The work embodies Potter’s research interests: objects as repositories of stories, notions of preciousness and value and the (pre)history of human engagement with precious metals.
‘Goldweights’ marks a significant development within craft owing to its speculative nature: speculation as a means of creative investigation has been established in design practice (Critical Design), but has not yet made significant inroads in the craft community. By synthesising her knowledge and expertise in both craft and design methods, Potter seeks to establish new ground for her discipline.
The ‘Transplantation’ exhibition, which involved 12 British and Australian artists, toured six UK public galleries (2012–13) and eight Australian venues (2013–15). It was accompanied by an illustrated catalogue (2012) containing commissioned essays and artists’ texts.

Subjects: Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V100 History by period > V140 Modern History > V144 Modern History 1800-1899
Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V300 History by topic > V370 History of Design
Creative Arts and Design > W700 Crafts
Creative Arts and Design > W700 Crafts > W720 Metal Crafts
School or Centre: School of Material
Copyright Holders: Laura Potter
Date Deposited: 22 May 2012 19:27
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2013 16:09
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1052

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