Telling stories is one of the main purposes of a piece of art, and this is definitely the case with Craft ACT’s newest exhibition, Crafting Waste.
Designer Niklvas Rubenis became inspired by discarded waste and made it his mission to re-invent it to give existing material new meaning and value. “I’m alarmed at how much “stuff” surrounds us,” Niklvas says.

“It’s a fact that the world is rapidly consuming itself. As a designer, I come up with new ways of working, thinking and interacting and so I’m exploring the broad impact design has on our lives and the environment.”

This inspiration came about when Niklvas was driving one day and he spotted an old rusted metal bench frame by the side of the road. Instead of whipping past, the local designer-maker put his foot on the brakes, stopped and loaded the frame up in the back of the ute.

Niklavs is now working in a more responsible and aware manner. It’s more challenging and takes more thought and skill to use existing materials instead of new, but Crafting Waste reveals the possibilities.

Rachael Coghlan, Craft ACT’s new Chief Executive Officer, says it’s fascinating to see a new wave of craft practitioners in Australia using craft to tell stories and make statements on contemporary issues.

Craft ACT is also hosting Aesthetics in the Time of Emergency, featuring new works by five Melbourne-based glass artists, all concerned about social issues requiring a sense of urgency, like the environment, climate change and nuclear disaster.

Other artists in Aesthetics in the Time of Emergency include Sarah Field (Abuses), Bethany Wheeler (The Dew of Compassion), Jennifer Ashley King (Three Minutes to Midnight) and Nadia Mercuri (THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE! If you want it).

Crafting Waste and Aesthetics in the Time of Emergency runs from 27 May to 9 July. It’s free to the