This is the first in a series on the “places behind what we make”. In partnership with Workshops of the World, Garland will feature collective spaces that have evolved as hives of creativity and production. These workshops help sustain the fabric of our cities and towns, providing architects, designers and retailers with skillfully-made and artfully conceived works. Let’s learn about the people who inhabit them and how they work together.
Adelaide is home to many flourishing workshops, such as Gray Street Workshop, George Street Workshop, Fontanelle, Tooth and Nail, Brick and Mortar, Cats in the Loft, Six Hands and Felt Space. Many in the workshops have learned their craft at the JamFactory.
Gate 8 evolved out of the Blue Pony glass workshop. It was established in 2007 by Jessica Loughlin and Deb Jones. Gate 8 Workshop is situated in a historic stone building that was originally a Baptist Church. The six inhabitants cover a wide range of processes: art, design, drawing, sandblasting, planning, meetings, glass casting, spray painting, cold working, metal work, graphics, great lunches, kiln forming, jewellery, end of the day beers, sanding, mold making, drilling, sawing, painting, concrete casting, planning and organising. For more details, see Facebook page and Instagram.
Every successful workshop has a set of shared rules, whether overt or implied. Workshops are inhabited by creative and productive individuals, often using expensive equipment that produce dirt, noise and danger. How do they manage to get along?
Gate 8’s 10 commandments
- Be nice to each other.
- Like both kinds of music and be open to the other.
- If a teammate has a dream help them realize it.
- Meet rarely but at least quarterly.
- Remember the more you put in, the more you get out.
- Keep the beer fridge well stocked.
- We are equal but nothing is ever equal.
- Make it a priority to have a party, a dinner and lots of drinks.
- That the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
- Don’t forget to be nice to each other.
And these are they…
Christine Cholewa is an artist, maker and natural born organiser living in Adelaide, Australia. She works from her studio at Gate 8 Workshop in Thebarton. Christine’s practice includes exhibition work and design work. She also works collaboratively in CHEB art and design, creating public art.
Originally from Canada, Christine is the granddaughter of farmers, who migrated from Poland and Ukraine after the war. Growing up on a vegetable farm is one of her favourite childhood memories. She has been living in Adelaide for over a decade now and is still trying to master the accent.
I design and make a production range of jewellery from recycled biscuit tins and have been doing so for the last 10 or more years. I met the crew at Gate 8 Workshop through the JamFactory and feel very lucky to be a part of such an inspiring bunch of strong talented women. For me, sharing a creative space has been integral to my survival in this weirdo profession, it’s not so weirdo when everyone else is doing it.
‘Graphic Designer’ is a term that seems too narrow to explain Rachel Harris, founder of Bit Scribbly Design. Her forays into a wide breadth of creative endeavours include public art, environmental and exhibition design, branding, photography, installation, illustration and video work.
I work from gate 8 Workshop with 5 of my friends. Being in a group workshop stops you from being lonely. We’ve been running for about 10 years now and have a pretty good workshop set up.
Any advice would be to put everything on wheels and if you want to be truly happy own at least one shipping container.
WOW .. I have been making stuff out of glass for 18 years now. Most of the work I make is for exhibition and I am still hooked on the same ideas as when I first started back in 1998! and that is my fascination with the beauty of emptiness. Personally my main driver of making is to prompt a kind of meditative reverie that is influenced by the wide open spaces of the Australian landscape. A studio is my most important tool to make work. It not just provides the space, but also the atmosphere and inspiration, all which affect the work. I have worked in two group workshops, first ‘blue pony’ which was set up as a glass studio, and now Gate 8 Workshop. I relish both the interaction with my different studio mates and their work and also having the whole space to yourself – the perfect balance for my practice.
I have a ‘pod’ in the main workshop filled with frou frou to keep me warm (the glass girls were all born in a barn!). I love working with these artists because we all work on varied projects other than our crafty field—i.e. public art, installations, within art/education institutions. And we also share a family-type philosophy that if one artist is really inspired to create, or work on a particular project we will help support them to the best we can.
They support my mess.
I’m often working on a few ‘unnatural’ exhibitiony + workshop type projects at a time. At the moment I’m experimenting with larger sculptural pieces; combining artificial foliage with natural plant specimens.
I rarely sit at a proper jewellery bench anymore, but have a few benches with delicious collections of crap that I fiddle with. I forget how cold metal is when I go to work with it, after I’ve been melting plastic aquatic plants and threading sequins.