The Showroom

Using our hands to Organise

July 2017
Fiona Jack with The Showroom, Portman Family Centre, Westminster Adult Education Service and local residents
Sunday 9 July 11.30–1pm – Open Studio


This series of workshops will invite local parents and children to The Showroom for a focused project making commemorative hand built ceramic mugs. Over the week participants will be led through the process of making a mug using a slab template that Fiona has been developing in recent months for a project in Glasgow. In the pauses where the clay is drying or firing, Fiona will share her research and thinking around the histories and possibilities for political and social narratives on functional pottery, and there will be open dialogue and exchange as participants develop ideas for their own mug.

On Wednesday 5 July planned is an evening discussion open to all local residents with an interest in sewing crafts. This gathering seeks to connect makers, and to initiate a discussion around whether there is an interest in working together on future projects.

Both the mug making workshop and the sewers evening seek to initiate conversations about whether a sort of loose co-op could start to form over the course of a couple of years that facilitates a space for shared making, connectedness, and financial gain for members of the Church Street community. Could The Showroom expand its role as a cultural and artistic centre into a temporary support structure for a developing series of co-ops as participants seek to upskill and establish themselves? Would a goal to collectively work towards an exhibition-as-shop event in about two years' time be a productive framework to gather momentum towards a more self-sustaining network?

Fiona Jack is an artist based in Auckland, New Zealand. Her work considers sociopolitical issues and the ways we represent ourselves to each other. Within most projects there are aspects of participation, consultation and/or collaboration with people and groups. Through observation, dialogue, collecting and digressive historical research Fiona pieces together a fabric of references that inform the development of each body of work. The Heraldry of Presence (2014) and The Will of the People (2016) studied banners and their long service as identifiers and gathering devices for groups of people. Portworkers (2012), The Trees (2013) and other ongoing projects all pay attention to the tenacity and labour of those who have taken a stand in a public setting. The series In time I will see things a little differently (2010 - ongoing) engages with the close examination of historical photographs, and two projects with Ngarimu Blair and Ngati Whatua O Orakei – Palisade (2008) and Kohimaramara (2008) – have drawn attention to historical acts of violent colonisation through re-enactment and re-presentation. Living Halls (2010) examined New Zealand’s radical commitment to building hundreds of social halls as war memorials after the World Wars. Fiona has an MFA from CalArts Los Angeles and is a Senior Lecturer at the Elam School of Fine Art at The University of Auckland.

Supported by The University of Auckland Creative Arts and Industries Conference and Creative Events Fund and The Elam School of Fine Arts Performance Based Research Fund.