Side Projects: Cloud Catcher and the Mildura Palimpsest Biennalle #10


Mandi King , “Cloud-Catcher”. 2700 x 1600mm. Made with the assistance of Joanna Hassam and the Mildura Spinners and Weavers Inc

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Cloud-Catcher was developed between May and September 2015 as part of my Master’s research into new applications for traditional craft practice responding to the ecological effects of climate change and as a formal work for the Mildura Palimpsest Biennial #10 on the Victorian/New South Wales border. Based on the poetic concept of harvesting atmospheric water with a net, the hand woven dew-collecting tapestry responds adaptively to both the physiological and cultural dimensions of ongoing hydrological drought in South Eastern Australia.

In a historically water deprived environment, climate modeling predicts that this region will experience even greater aridity in the coming century. With poor annual rainfalls predicted to decrease up to a further 20%, I wonder how populations in this important agricultural region might come to deal with increasingly unhospitable environments.

Cloud-catcher was spun and woven from close to 4 kilometres of clear and white industrial plastic found in the environment between Basket Range South Australia and Mungo National Park New South Wales in collaboration with the Mildura Spinners and Weavers Inc and Adelaide-based fibre artist Joanna Hassam.



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illumini domestic greenhouse.


image: Fernanda Pardo

illumini domestic greenhouse is finally finished and on display at the JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design Centre in Adelaide.  Please stop by for a look before April 18th when it begins traveling to the locations below. You can also learn more about the design and function of this self-contained passive growing system clicking here, or on the sidebar. A more DIY version of this design and free plans to make one yourself will be available here and on the JamFactory website beginning in June (just in time to get one built before Spring), so stop back soon for that!

9 May – 19 July 2015: JamFactory at Seppeltsfield, SA
24 July – 13 September 2015: Murray Bridge Regional Gallery, Murray Bridge, SA
16 October – 4 December 2015: Signal Point Gallery, Goolwa, SA
19 December 2015 – 6 March 2016: Wagga Wagga Art Gallery Wagga Wagga, NSW
18 March – 30 April 2016: ANU School of Art Gallery, Canberra, ACT
13 May – 16 June 2016: Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, Bathurst, NSW
1 July – 18 September 2016: Western Plains Cultural Centre, Dubbo, NSW
30 September – 6 November 2016: Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, NSW
18 November 2016 – 5 March 2017: QUT Art Museum, Brisbane, QLD
17 March – 30 April 2017: Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns, QL

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In With the Uusi…….

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So……we’ve been to Scandinavia and back, and have been working pretty hard on realizing the five million designs we generated as part of our three month residency at HIAP (Helsinki International Artist Residency Program) on beautiful Suomenlinna Island, Finland. First out the gate will be our craft and design version (1.0) of the domestic mini greenhouse made for the touring exhibition Glass: Art, Design, Architecture Design opening at the JamFactory Adelaide on February 13th, 2015. A complete environment for seedlings and small plants, it maximizes water economy ( a pressing sustainability issue in South Australia) by capturing its own rainwater and recycling run off fluid and nutrients as well as vapors given off in plant transpiration. It is by far our largest and most complex undertaking to date. Just a few initial snapshots of the work coming together…. I’ll be adding to it as the deadline draws nearer.

In the coming months we’ll be unloading a range of new works inspired by our time in the Nordic countries including kitchen containers, table and pendant lights, ladles, a dishrack, laundry systems, and many other domestic handmade-in-Adelaide type items. Kippis!

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Karen’s big project for Sky City Casino

Karen Casino

Karen and a really big blue lampshade @ Jam Factory. Source: News Limited

Over the last year, illumini has branched out in separate pursuits with Mandi in school and Karen focusing on the development of major design projects in the JamFactory Glass Studio.

Karen recently received major coverage in the local press for her role in negotiating, designing, and engineering of a large scale custom lighting project with Sky City Casino in the Adelaide CBD.

“Each light fixing and hanging system had to be comprised of 20 components, not including the glass shade, to achieve the ‘look’ the architects were after. I designed the project to be able to work with local business suppliers. In the past the casino has imported glass from Italy. In addition to all staff and associates, we had to employ extras from the glass community to help out.

The architects vision was for the light shades (between 250mm wide by 430mm high and 300mm wide x 480mm high for large) to be suspended by rope at various heights and the rope to then continue to festoon around the ceiling. The challenge was in providing sufficient structural support for the 6-8kg glass light shades, while keeping the fixings sleek and minimal at the same time as hiding the necessary load-bearing fixtures and electric flex etc.

In order to create them I needed to custom engineer the fixture out of easily machinable parts and existing components that could be altered in-house or locally as the timeframe did not allow me to go to industry for fabrication, also there is nothing on the market that will carefully support the approx 6-8kg of the glass light shades, while allowing tolerance for the hand made variance expected.”

For more information on the commission follow the story at News Limited…..

casino shade   annhealer light shade


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Long time, no see?

illumini Good Times clock with leggies @One Small Room

It’s been a while since we’ve written, but as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Right? Right. Anyways, Here’s the latest update…

Mandi has currently begun a Master’s Degree in the University of South Australia’s Sustainable Design program to further contemplate the environmental and social impact of what designer’s make and customers buy, as well as to finally learn the Chicago and Harvard style citations. Free thought of the day:

“Man is a biological entity before he is a Roman Catholic or a capitalist or anything else”
Alfred W. Crosby, from the book The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492.

Illumini will be a featured artiste in the JamFactory’s big big big 40th Anniversary Celebration, Designing Craft:Crafting Design. A good selection of our Holey lights will be there to be admired, that starts April 19th @ 19 Morphett Street, Adelaide 5000.

Gee, look at the time…. last but not least…The illumini Good Times Clock phenomenon has spread to one of our most favorite shops, One Small Room, on Queen Street, Croydon. Please stop by if you are the neighborhood to marvel at how freaking cute they are sitting in Rebekah’s latest room. Proud parents, we are…..

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New Stockists

If you’ve been to Design Made Trade and are wondering where to find our designs to take home, you’re in luck.  New retailers have been confirmed in Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia. We’ll be adding a stockists page in the coming days, so keep your eyes peeled…..
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Thanks to all that have come to visit us at Design Made Trade

With about four hours left to go at Design Made Trade, we’d like to take this quiet moment and thank all of the retailers, designers, artists, decorators, tradespeople, architects, friends, family, and  design aficionados that have stopped by stall 25 to have a look and share their thoughts on our work. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and as a result illumini’s heart and mind has grown five times bigger.

If you couldn’t make the trip, or would like to have another look, we’re posting a slew of snaps of the pop up shop and work below.

We’ve taken stacks of orders at the show, and soon illumini clocks and glass will be available at new retailers in Melbourne, NSW, and South Australia. We’ll post the details as they are confirmed, but until then you can send all enquiries to Karen or Mandi at….