Meet a collection of the skilled artisans keeping lost trades alive in Ballarat. See these talented creators in action in their studios or at the Centre for Rare Arts and Forgotten Trades, where you can learn the art of their craft and shop for eclectic hand-made goods.

The artisanal makers

 

  • Rachel Grose, owner and jewellery maker at Rachel Grose Jewellery
  • Adam Parker, owner and knifemaker at Parker Knives
  • Prue Simmons, founder and weaver at Dyeing to Weave Studio

Rachel from Rachel Grose Jewellery

rgsilver.com

The Rachel Grose Jewellery story

Rachel was 16 when her mum booked her into a six week course with silversmith, Stephen Walsh. The first piece of jewellery she ever made was a silver ring with a moonstone setting, and she loved everything about it. Rachel says she "found what [she] wanted to spend her life doing", so she later enrolled in a Gold and Silversmithing degree at Monash University in Caulfield. Rachel describes her "one woman show" as a "practice in slow crafting". She uses traditional tools and techniques to create one-off or limited edition pieces. She is currently based out of The Lost Ones Makers Studio, a makers space on Camp Street in Ballarat with three other artists.

 

Rachel's favourite things 

When Rachel isn't busily creating new pieces of art, she enjoys exploring the best of Ballarat's natural wonders and its foodie hotspots. Here are her top picks:

  • Visit the Ballarat Wildlife Park and experience the joy of interacting with kangaroos, watching the penguins play and trying to spot the elusive echidnas and Tasmanian Devils. Or, take a swim at St Georges Lake in Creswick. It's the perfect spot to cool off, or walk the Yarrowee River Trail and see the area in all its seasonal beauty.
  • Any excuse to catch up for coffee will do, some great local cafes within walking distance of Rachel's studio include Drive Cafe, Yellow Espresso, Hydrant Food Hall, L’espresso, Europa Cafe and Refuel Hub, to name a few.
  • Get your creative juices flowing at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, a space where many local creatives feel very much at home.
"As a maker, I thrive when solving problems. The process of designing, researching and improving skills to joyfully work with my hands helps me achieve a tangible, finished product. It is the never-ending pursuit to create beautiful, durable and wearable works of art."

- Rachel Grose, Rachel Grose Jewellery

Adam from Parker Knives

facebook.com/parkerknivesaustralia

The Parker Knives story

Adam has been a knifemaker since 1989 and is a member of the Australian Knife Makers Guild – an organisation he accredits much of his early learning to. Working with all manner of materials and in a multitude of knife styles, Adam can create anything from a folding knife to pieces made with damascus steel or exotic materials like mammoth ivory and more high tech metals like titanium. He also makes chef knives and offers a number of classes and workshops for budding knifemakers to learn the art of his craft. 

 

Adam's favourite things 

Ballarat is a regional hub that has great dining options and coffee as good as Melbourne, as well as the small country town feel. When he's not teaching or crafting knives from scratch, Adam is fully immersed in the region's art and culture scene. 

     

  • Take a stroll around the city to admire all the wonderful old architecture, taking in heritage buildings and cobbled bluestone streets. Visit the Art Gallery of Ballarat for your fix of inspired local paintings, sculptures and craftwork and attend a workshop to learn a new skill at the Centre for Rare Trades and Forgotten Arts. 
  • Pop into a cafe or restaurant along popular Mair or Armstrong Streets for a bite to eat and walk or bike around Lake Wendouree for terrific waterside views. 
“I often say I had an idiot as a teacher – I am entirely self-taught. My love of knife making stemmed from an interest in hunting and fishing, and my hobby eventually became a career. I make all types of knives, including, chef’s knives where my client list includes chefs from Attica, Underbar and more.”

- Adam Parker, Parker Knives

Prue from Dyeing to Weave Studio

dyeingtoweave.com.au

The Dyeing to Weave Studio’s story

Prue Simmons is one of many talented artisans based out of Ballarat’s Centre for Rare Arts & Forgotten Trades, offering workshops for budding craftspeople. As one of only three people in Australia accredited to teach the Japanese art of SAORI, Prue is a lover of using a loom to see how each piece develops its own character, colour, texture and style. According to Prue, the activity allows artisans to tap into meditative creativity, discover self-expression at the loom and make beautiful cloth. 

 

Prue’s favourite things

The Centre for Rare Arts & Forgotten Trades is beloved by Prue, and many others, but there are a number of other places in and around town that she frequents. 

  • Seek out amazing Japanese food at Kambei Japanese Restaurant or purchase local produce and home baked goods from Ballarat Mushroom Farm to whip up your own feast. 
  • Visit Prue’s hometown, the historic town of Clunes, which is 30-minutes from Ballarat. Wander through the charming main street, browse the gift stores or pop in for high tea before taking a stroll along the creek.
  • Get out in nature at Mt Beckworth Scenic Reserve or relax with a glass of wine at Eastern Peake Vineyard.
“Through the flowing meditative practice of SAORI weaving, people can find freedom and creative expression at the loom and discover their true self through colour and texture. The beautiful Central Highlands landscape inspires such creativity.”

- Prue Simmons, Dyeing to Weave Studio