I am so excited to be in the Barossa this week enjoying the many wineries and delicious food on offer. While there is so much heritage here to write about, I wanted to create a post focusing on the JamFactory at Seppeltsfield (winery). It is a wonderful space that combines an art gallery with artist studios. This way, you can see artists at work from a variety of backgrounds using a diversity of mediums. I am going to write a little history about JamFactory and then go through our experience visiting the gallery.
JamFactory originated in Adelaide as a cultural organisation promoting design and craftmanship. In 2013, an extension was built at Seppeltsfield becoming the JamFactory’s first regional extension. It is so great to see these kinds of organisations and institutions having a regional hub and catering to more than just the cities. The gallery and artist studios are housed in the old stables building at Seppeltsfield that dates back to the 1850s. In some of my older blog posts, I have written extensively about how much I love heritage being re-purposed in a meaningful way. In this case, not only has the building been saved, but inside are some heritage features. Right at the entry are two large vinegar vats that were used in the past to combine water, wine, and alcohol. This mixture would then be added to a vinegar generator. They date back to approximately 1882.
Just above the gallery space is a walkway connecting four separate workshop areas. When we visited, the glass and knife artisans were at work. The others, including millinery and leatherwork, had the day off after working all weekend. I would strongly recommend visiting on a weekend if you want to see all the artisans. If you jump online and have a look at their programs, there are also some public workshops available for a more hands-on experience.
Currently on display in the gallery is an exhibition titled ‘On the Third Day by Deborah Prior. Prior is an Adelaide-based artist who transforms recycled textiles into works that explore themes such as bodily agency, modes of production, and the social history of domestic work. This particular exhibition focuses on body fragility and how that operates within the equally fragile landscape of colonisation and the ongoing ecological crisis. Here are a couple of my favourite works from the show:
Easter in the Anthropocene Squatter Blanket #1 and #2
The first work that stood out to me when entering the space are these large blankets covered in plant care cards. These labels belonged to Prior’s grandmother, Joy, and have been stitched onto woolen blankets. It explores familial and colonial legacies and how they intertwine with the climate crisis. This is especially highlighted by the care labels requiring different types of soil, climate, and levels of sun (for example). Aesthetically, it is really appealing and led me to think more about how much care goes into our environment on a small scale versus what is being done on a large scale.
Grandmothers remember Acacia blossoms falling after the rain
Apart from the title, this work has no further context or explanation. The way it spills off the wall and onto the floor is a beautiful way to represent the blossoms falling.
Long Sleep in Ityamai-itpina (King Rodney Park)
According to the story on the label, this blanket was rescued from a tree in Adelaide Park Lands. Due to its exposure to the elements, it had rapidly deteriorated. Prior salvaged pieces of the blanket and stitched them onto a baby blanket. Again, this work speaks to the environment and the fragility of the body when subjected to harsh elements.
I really enjoyed walking around the artist studios and seeing the glass artist, Brenden Scott French, and knifemaker, Barry Gardner, at work. The workshops are really interesting spaces to move around and I wish we could go back when the others are also at work. Combining the gallery with these studios makes the space feel more welcoming and inviting. A stark contrast to the galleries with inaccessible language on their labels. Here you can really see the creation of works and increase your understanding of artisan practices.
If you are wanting to visit the JamFactory at Seppeltsfield it is open daily from 11am to 5pm. It is fully accessible.