Artisan’s ambitious new MELBOURNE ST STUDIO opens shortly in South Brisbane with around thirteen workshops in various media starting Saturday 13 August. The studio, at 170 Melbourne Street, makes its home in what was a vacant building — you might remember the façade as Jo-Jo’s Restaurant — now set aside for eventual development by Aria Property Group. It’s a generous space suitable for a range of practices with room to spread out and, in addition, with participant numbers limited to 7 to 12 for each workshop, tuition will be appropriately focused. All workshops are facilitated by professionals in their field and are well equipped.

Artisan — a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting and promoting contemporary craft and design practice for both makers and their audiences — is based at King Street, Bowen Hills where it operates a gallery, retail outlet and other facilities. 

The workshops include ceramics (an intro to wheel throwing, hand building, and, interestingly, ‘architectural hand built’ work), lacemaking (an intro and intermediate course), billum stitching (making a scarf using a technique employed by women throughout Papua New Guinea to create intricately-woven textiles), jewellery (a three-week course and a one-week with cast silver), and Sustainable Design–Building with Mycelium.

In Artisan’s introduction to the wheel throwing workshop someone was tempted to suggest — and why not — that the workshop may lead you ‘to find your inner Demi Moore’.

In the 1990 movie Ghost, the erotic wheel throwing scene with Molly (Moore) and Sam (Patrick Swayze) became an indelible part of pop culture reprising Unchained Melody and spawning a score of parodies. Stats on increased sales of pottery wheels went unreported. Apparently, in the original script Molly was a wood sculptor, but director Jerry Zucker felt this was not right for the scene he wanted. One day, while doing post-production on another movie, Zucker sat next to a sound engineer who was reading a pottery magazine; as a result he formed a vision of a pottery wheel with the two lovers making something with their hands. While Moore took pottery classes to prepare for the role, the pot she threw on camera collapsed; this version then made the final cut.

Moore and Swayze in Ghost (1990). Still: Paramount
Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in Ghost (1990). Still: Paramount

The Demi thing isn’t a throw-away-line given that nearly all craft is made by hand and the manipulation of most materials is obviously tactile and can often be sensual, particularly with — but not only — clay.

Wood may have been edited from Ghost but it is part of the Melbourne St Workshop with a three-week practical wood carving course.

Costs for the classes vary according to the materials and the length. The one-week wheel throwing workshop on 13 August was fully booked (when I checked) but there’s a second one on 17 September as well as a three-week workshop beginning 8 October.

More workshops will be launched over the coming weeks including a program of 4-6 week courses in wood carving, wheel throwing and hand-built ceramics, as well as introductory workshops in jewellery, textiles and sewing, all with an emphasis on sustainability.

For details:

Exteria of Artisan - Melbourne Street Studio
Artisan – Melbourne Street Studio