The role of the collectively made chair in the Jimmy Possum chairmaking tradition.
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The Jimmy Possum chairmaking tradition (1887–1955) is a unique Australian material cultural expression bound to the history, community, and landscape of Deloraine, Tasmania, the location that this studio research project was undertaken. While the tradition’s chairs are in major Australian and international public institutional collections, little is known about the tradition’s chairmakers or its mysterious namesake beyond the limited scope of the last scholarly enquiry conducted by Honours students enrolled at the Tasmanian School of Art in 1978. This research seeks to better understand the tradition through reflecting on the implications of the collective act of making a chair in the Deloraine district, the home of the Jimmy Possum chairmaking tradition. The chair created during the studio research, Re-Examine, is the major work at my Doctor of Visual Art examination exhibition. The work employs the work practices and design configuration of the Jimmy Possum tradition as a reference point but diverges from it in regard to its materiality, production, and in terms of its meaning to the communities that identify with the tradition. The studio research project also seeks to better understand how artists and designers can augment and provide unique insights into historical material cultural traditions that conventional text-based historiographical inquiries have difficulty explaining. Re-Examine’s creation sought a deeper historiographic understanding of the Jimmy Possum chairmaking tradition through the assembling of community knowledge and engagement. The work’s creation both informed the tradition and was informed by the tradition.
Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Doctor of Visual Arts (DVA)
Queensland College of Art
The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.
Jimmy Possum chairmaking
Work practices and design