Ceramics and More

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Collingwood Housing Estate

A Place for Ceramics

Visually, the most striking thing at Collingwood housing estate is the ceramics.  

The Collingwood Neigbourhood House, at the base of one of the estate's three high rise towers is packed with the results of ceramic, weaving and stained glass projects. Around the exterior of the House, mosaics extend along all of the walls. Across the estate, there is a proliferation of ceramic pavers, tables, cones, mandalas and totems, many of them based on the shape of the high rise towers. Inside these mini-towers are tiny inlaid objects referring to everyday estate life. 

Collingwood is the place for ceramics.

And more...

Cultural activities over the past five years have ranged from ballroom dancing to an on-going project to make the whole estate a more vibrant environment: from the Harvest Festival to Music By Candlelight; from Koori Weaving to The Barefoot Artists of creative writing and performance classes; and the Positive Images Photography Project which engaged young people from the Richmond and Collingwood estates.

Life inside the flats is also projected outwards in the current Fencing Art Project. Environmental artists and residents are turning part of the fence-line along busy Hoddle Street into a woven composite of memory-laden personal mementos and found objects.

The driving forces behind arts and cultural activity on the estate have been the Collingwood Neighbourhood House, and the Collingwood Housing Estate Arts Committee (CHEAC). 

"Having graduated in Fine Arts (Sculpture), naturally I found myself working in part-time child-care at Belgium Avenue. The Ministry of Housing had provided a decrepit cottage for use by some single mums from the flats. One day the mums asked me if I could show them how to make those great Australian icons, garden gnomes. They were convinced their flats would be much nicer if they contained a plaster garden gnome. That's where my training in the Fine Arts paid off. We made a lot of gnomes together. I saw one recently with a price tag of a hundred dollars in the window of an antique shop in Toorak. I wish I knew where the rest of them were, those gnomes."
Sue Kent, Coordinator, Collingwood and Belgium Avenue Neighbourhood Houses