The Talisman Project is a collaboration by furniture designer, Roger Kelly and jeweller, Mia Straka. In this interactive exhibition, visitors are encouraged not only to look, but also touch and explore works. According to the makers, the project was born out of a shared belief of the “need to reinvigorate areas of craft/object art and design with a sense of wonder and discovery”.
The “talismans” in this exhibition have been constructed for people to look, touch, enter and wear. In some instances, the object wears the body!
Exploring the notion of a talisman - an object believed to exercise protective power – the makers aim to investigate themes of containment, protection and restriction. Working together in an increased scale of form and outside the realms of their respective practices, was new to both makers and it has pushed them conceptually and technically. Comprising over 1,000 components, the open construction in the works is suggestive of basketry, skeletons, traps, and tunnels. The talismanic aspect of the structures is evident in terms of the repeated patterns and also with the use of the red hemp cord. In many cultures, the colour red is considered to hold special powers of protection and be able to attract good fortune.
As part of the exhibition, visitors will be able to create their own smaller constructions based on their response to the works on show.
A publication documenting the collaborative process and resulting work will be on sale in the gallery with an essay by arts writer & curator Karl Chitham and photographs by David Straight and Danilo Santana.
Roger Kelly is a designer with a background in engraving, casting, printmaking and woodworking. He teaches design at Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawkes Bay. Mia Straka is an Auckland-based maker, who works with jewellery and is interested in investigating form and construction techniques using non-traditional materials.