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January 28, 2016

Introducing WoMade

Adelaide's world festival gets a little bit more local with the introduction of designer-maker showcase WoMade.

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  • Words: Farrin Foster

WOMADelaide is worldly, both in the sense it transcends the everyday, and literally because it brings artists and festival lovers to Adelaide from around the world.


WOMADelaide 2016 will be held March 11-14 in Botanic Park, Adelaide.

Confirmed designer-makers showing at WoMade include Katrina FreeneThe Butcher ByrdDelilah Devine,  Border CoQuentin GoreYellow BirdPhoebe Lamps, Beth Newton HandmadeErica Sandgren, Nzuri OrganicsJulie WhiteHannah Carlyle,Gretel GirlSmall Art FactoryKatia CarlettiShanghai Lil & the Scarlet FezHey Reflect’o and Robyn Wood.

A newly-announced initiative makes the most of the event’s international focus, taking the opportunity to put local designers on a global stage. Curated by Jen Weeks and Donna Tripodi (of Frock Me Out), the inaugural WoMade will see more than 18 Adelaide artisans presented to the thronging crowds.

“WOMADelaide is an amazing world class event, fully formed in every way, but they are always looking to improve and enhance the experience each year,” says Donna. “It features all that the world has to offer, and WoMade offers a little slice that’s purely Adelaide. It gives local designers and makers the opportunity to reach a much wider audience than they otherwise would be able to.

“In 2015, almost 40 per cent of the WOMADelaide audience was from interstate or overseas. It’s really hard work designing and making, as well as getting your work out there, so an opportunity like this helps these designers to grow and extend their reach. For festival goers, finding something unique and beautiful to take home from the Adelaide design scene is the perfect memento from a fantastic weekend.”

Donna and Jen have spent months compiling a list of designers who can offer variety and quality to festival goers, bringing together “a diverse mix of jewellery, accessories, homewares, lighting, body products and leather work at a range of price points”.

A tight list of requirements was applied to each potential inclusion.

“They had to make a locally-designed quality product, be experienced at selling their wares in a high-end market environment and they also needed to be able to produce enough volume to keep up with a potentially very high demand at WOMADelaide,” says Donna.

Among the designers set to showcase at WoMade are CityMag favourites Julie White and Katia Carletti. As examples of the fare on offer, they demonstrate a strong tendency towards originality and exploration of Australian identity.

Katia makes idiosyncratic, fragile-looking yet highly useful ceramics, which Donna says are “beautifully organic, stylish and functional. We particularly love her crockery – little pieces of art and beauty that can be used and admired each day”. While Julie White’s collection of wearable bits and pieces, made using her custom fabrics and prints “are colourful, vibrant and exciting, and we love the sense of nostalgia and fun reflected in her recent ‘Straya Days’ range of scarves and socks”.

Although it may seem unconventional, Donna says that WOMADelaide is actually the perfect setting for local entrepreneurs to introduce themselves to new markets.

“It is such a relaxed and beautiful festival environment,” she says. “People have time and space to wander, discover, lie under a tree, meet friends and have decent conversations.”

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