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Joyce Spencer. Photo: James T Farley

The Joyce Spencer
Textile Awards

The Joyce Spencer Textile Awards are to support regional NSW textile artists or collectives to deliver new artworks or exhibitions.

Round 4 Recipients have been announced on 20 June 2024

Joyce Spencer

Joyce Spencer (1928-2019) was an artist who lived in Narrandera and liked making 'things' associated with arts and crafts, exploring the history and techniques of weaving, painting, ceramics and more. Joyce loved sharing her knowledge by teaching and giving workshops. Joyce published five books, with "Folk Art Cards" a best seller among craft circles. Joyce's personal motto was "a creative mess is better than tidy idleness.”

About The Awards

The Joyce Spencer Textile Awards are to support regional NSW textile artists or collectives to deliver new artworks or exhibitions. Named after the textile artist Joyce Spencer (1928 – 2019), the awards are made possible with funds from the Spencer family and Western Riverina Arts, in partnership with the Cad Factory.


Deborah O’Brien Reflects on the Life of Joyce Spencer


For over twenty-five years I had the honour and pleasure of being Joyce Spencer’s friend. We met through our mutual interest in all things artistic. Even then, I was struck by the innovative nature of Joyce’s work and the scope and diversity of the art forms and techniques she embraced.


As an artist, maker and craft practitioner, Joyce was active in spinning and weaving, ceramics, folk art and decorative painting, mosaics, metalwork and sculpture. In each of these fields she took traditional techniques and turned them into something ground-breaking and unique. Two decades ago, I recall Joyce showing me some faux relief pieces she had created using dimensional T-shirt paint on hard surfaces. To my knowledge, no-one had ever done this before. Being Joyce, she most generously explained the technique and encouraged me to use it in my own work.


Even though Joyce often pushed the boundaries in the way she used paint, fabric and other materials, she also had a deep respect for past traditions. For example, she adapted the styles of traditional folk art such as Bauernmalerei and Rosemaling and made them her own.


Joyce’s enthusiasm for life and art was infectious. That’s what made her such an outstanding teacher. She was the consummate mentor, both talented and generous of spirit. In fact, passing on the traditions and techniques was as important to Joyce as creating her own artworks.


For years Joyce taught folk art and decorative painting and became renowned for her accessible ‘Light Airy Fairy’ style which was showcased in several books in the Milner Craft Series including “Folk Art Cards” and “Folk Art Weddings”. She is the author (along with me) of “The Art of Teaching Craft” which was published internationally and became an influential book in helping artists to share their techniques effectively with others. By the way, Joyce was a fine writer too and was active in Sydney poetry circles before moving to the Southern Highlands and then Narrandera.


Joyce was involved in a number of collaborative projects including the iconic ‘Cod Fish’ she designed for the ‘On Common Ground’ festival, an initiative of Sarah and Vic McEwan from the Cad Factory. The fish was cut out of wire mesh by the Men’s Shed and woven with textiles by many helpers.


Even in her late eighties Joyce continued to be a prolific creator. She often said, “Nothing is safe from my paintbrush”, and she upcycled and decorated many an item that other people might have consigned to the tip – hat boxes, watering cans, even a bowls’ bag and a pair of cowboy boots – turning them into heirlooms of the future. Melding function and decoration was at the heart of Joyce’s work. In that respect, she followed in the tradition of William Morris who said: Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.


Charlotte Haywood 
Round 4 Fellowship Recipient

I am honoured to receive the textile award and would like to extend my thanks to the Spencer Family, Western Riverina Arts and the Cad Factory. And to express my delight in the nurturing of textile creation, regional artists and communities.
The award will support the creation of an ambitious interdisciplinary and collaborative project, COEXISTENCE: a MULTISPECIES opera of the senses, to be exhibited at the Broken Hill City Art Gallery, November 2024.  This project involves the realisation of costumes, installation and community-engaged sculptural textiles as woven mobiles, kites and musical instruments crafted from site-specific, found, repurposed and vegetable materials.
”- Charlotte Haywood 

The Cad Factory, Western Riverina Arts and the Spencer Family are delighted to announce that Charlotte Haywood from Wilson Creek NSW, has been awarded the 2024 Joyce Spencer Textiles Fellowship.

Charlotte Haywood is an experimental interdisciplinary artist based in Northern NSW on Bundjalung Country, who works across the senses.
She trades between the tactile and the digital, form and phenomena, working across textiles, sculpture, installation, public art, film, theatre, live art, music, food, linguistics, communities and ecologies. She has cultivated a highly collaborative and process-driven practice that is dedicated to eco-aesthetics, biomimicry and the nurturing of biodiversity. Everyway weaving collaborators, participants, disciplines, materials, stories and ecological knowledge systems through self-assembly. Offering her practice in service to the living Earth.
Haywood has exhibited nationally and internationally, worked on projects in remote and regional Australia, Vanuatu, Thailand, India, Peru, Mexico and Japan. 

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Charlotte Haywood Future Nostalgia Live Art

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Sonia Undy 
Round 4 Highly Commended Award Recipient

The Joyce Spencer Highly Commended Award has offered me an opportunity to be part of the process of rediscovery and maintenance of cultural practices.
The weaving artform was used to make fish nets, baskets, bags and dress adornments. It was an artform that was forbidden by colonisation, along with our languages and lifestyles. This disruption affected a vital cultural practice which was normally passed on from generation to generation for thousands of years.
Today, it is slowly being reintroduced.
I want to forward the knowledge I have been fortunate enough to receive, onto future Indigenous women, continuing traditions and passing on to future generations to keep this thousand-year-old art alive.

- Sonia Undy 

The Cad Factory, Western Riverina Arts and the Spencer Family are delighted to announce that Sonia Undy from Griffith NSW, has been awarded the 2024 Joyce Spencer Highly Commended Award.

Sonia Undy is a multi-disciplinary artist, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta woman from Griffith. In 2021 Sonia was awarded the inaugural Joyce Spencer Mentorship. Sonia generously shares her knowledge and practice through forums and in person, attending and teaching weaving techniques at regional festivals and events, such as the 2023 Cocoparra Corroboree. In 2023 she led the online weaving circle 'We Weave Together' for the Aboriginal Regional Arts Alliance event 'Here Now & Always' - a global showcasing of Aboriginal Arts and Culture from New South Wales. She is currently one of several Wiradjuri artists working in partnership with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to heighten awareness of Wiradjuri culture at Cocoparra National Park, a significant cultural site.

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Sonia Undy detail of Bush Tucker Mussel

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Janet Steele 
Round 4 Prize Recipient

Artists create to produce something practical, to generate income or to communicate a message. This award allows me to take my creativity further and for my work to speak of the power and importance of Nature for the survival of all living forms.

- Janet Steele

The Cad Factory, Western Riverina Arts and the Spencer Family are delighted to announce that Janet Steele from Paterson NSW, has been awarded the 2024 Joyce Spencer Prize.

Janet Steele’s work is inspired by nature and pays homage to the power of nature. Her work is sculptural, using a wrapping technique, locked together by knots. Yarns are dyed using vegetation appropriate to the artwork. Janet studied for a B.A. Visual Arts with Jutta Feddersen. Her first artwork won the Emerging Artist Award in Newcastle. She has been a finalist in the Australian Textile Art Awards 2020, 2022, 2024 and the Australian Fibre Art Award 2023. This year Janet is working with the National Trust to draw attention to the well-being of an historic Moreton Bay fig tree in Maitland NSW.

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Janet Steele, Pink Oyster Mushrooms, Crochet cotton wrapped and knotted, 15 x 38 x 24cm.

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R.R. Pascoe
Round 3 Fellowship Recipient

I'm honoured to be the 2023 recipient of the Joyce Spencer Fellowship, which will provide me the opportunity and support to develop and present a new body of work which has been inspired by the more tangential outcomes springing from a recent 18 month research and development project, designed to address progressive disabling health conditions by re-skilling in various digital design and fabrication techniques. I’m grateful for the opportunity Joyce’s family’s generous gift will give me to explore these ideas more fully in their own right, and excited to see what emerges from this process.

- R.R. Pascoe

The Cad Factory, Western Riverina Arts and the Spencer Family are delighted to announce that R.R. Pascoe from Portland NSW, has been awarded the 2023 Joyce Spencer Textiles Fellowship.

R.R. Pascoe is a multi-award-winning interdisciplinary artist and designer. Primarily self-taught, she is best known for her wearable artworks utilising salvaged and sustainable materials. Her work has featured in exhibitions in the US, UK, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, as well as throughout Australia and NZ, and is held in private and public collections including the permanent historical collection of the National WOW (World of WearableArt) Museum, NZ. In 2021 she was the recipient of project funding from Create NSW and the Regional Arts Fund, and is currently a selected participant in Accessible Arts’ 2023 Front & Centre program.

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This is the Pyrocene, (2020), 450 linear meters of hand pleated and sculpted 12mm wide Hemp Braid, Salvaged upholstery trimming samples, Broken jewellery components, Antique ribbon. Third place prize winner of the 2022 World of WearableArt Award’s Avant Garde category. Photograph by R.R. Pascoe. R.R. Pascoe headshot courtesy of the artist.

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Samantha Tannous
Round 3 Highly Commended Award Recipient

“The intersection of art and craft will crystallise in a new series of sculptures thanks to this generous award from the Joyce Spencer Fellowship. The sculptures will be an homage to my childhood obsession with haberdashery and a nod to the many fibre and textile artists who have their roots in traditional crafts. Joyce’s creative application to pushing the boundaries of materials and techniques is inspirational and I hope to continue this exploration through my work and through teaching fibre arts to others.”

- Samantha Tannous

Due to the high number of very competitive applications for the Third Round of the Joyce Spencer Fellowship, the selection panel created the Joyce Spencer Highly Commended Award, worth $1500, which has been awarded in 2023 to Samantha Tannous.

Samantha Tannous is a fibre artist based on the NSW south coast. She primarily sculpts in wool and silk, as well as dyeing fibres and fabrics with synthetic and natural dyes. Sam’s conceptual practice explores themes of inner and outer worlds intersecting, the tangible and intangible, exploring the dreamscape, imagination and creativity manifested in abstract landscapes. Sam has exhibited in group shows since 2015 and held her first solo exhibition in 2021 at Gallery76 in Sydney. In 2023, Sam has two works selected in the International Art Textile Biennale. She is the organiser of Arts Muster art and craft events.

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Light (detail), 2021. Where the sea meets the sky, an infusion of light, air and water. Hand-dyed merino wool and silk fabrics, 80x53cm. Photograph by Janet Tavener. Samantha Tannous headshot photograph by D-Mo.

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Leanne Wicks
Round 3 Mentorship Recipient

I am excited to have received the Joyce Spencer Textiles Mentorship.  It is a unique opportunity to benefit from the advice and expertise of others in my own artistic journey.  I hope my use of the traditional technique of knitting in the scientific field helps to raise awareness of birds on Country.

- Leanne Wicks


Kandos artist, Leanne Wicks, escaped Sydney to snuggle at the base of Mt Combimelang on Dabee/Wiradjuri Country in Kandos, NSW. After a brief sea change in Mallacoota, Victoria, she has returned to the mountain and is back to the screech of cockatoos, the dance of fantails and to wonder at the kaleidoscope trance that sunset brings upon the rocks. To belong. Leanne’s passion is to encounter local birdlife and tell their story via traditional handcrafts using found objects, salvaged yarns, natural fibres and sustainable materials. Her knitted birds have travelled the globe.

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Grey Fantail (2020), Image courtesy of the artist.

Leanne Wicks headshot courtesy of the artist.

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Hilary Peterson
Round 2 Recipient

I am thrilled to be the recipient of the Joyce Spencer Textile Fellowship and grateful for her bequest that will allow me the time to produce a cohesive body of textile work that also expresses my wider environmental concerns and interest in wetlands. I am inspired by Joyce’s creativity, commitment to innovation and sharing through teaching and hope to further her legacy.

- Hilary Peterson

The Cad Factory, Western Riverina Arts and the Spencer Family are delighted to announce that Hilary Peterson from Pambula, on Yuin country in the South Coast, has been awarded the 2021 Joyce Spencer Textiles Fellowship.

This $4000 Fellowship will support Hilary to present a new exhibition in 2023 at the Spiral Gallery in Bega exploring the significance of the Pambula Wetlands. The exhibition research is combining ecology, history and artmaking to tell a complex story around place.

Hilary has been a practicing artist for over twenty years combining painting, drawing, printing, dyeing and stitching. Her career began as a textile designer, and in 2002 she made the move into creative practice combining her textiles knowledge with deeper philosophical concerns around our inter-connectivity to the landscape and place. Hilary often uses natural dyeing in her work to attach what she is making to place, and fixing it within time.

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Australian Sojourn (detail), 2019, Hilary Peterson. Plant dye, sublistatic printing, etching, stencilling, ochre, acrylic, stitching, cotton and polycotton fabric. Image courtesy of the artist.

Panboola: Renewal
Spiral Gallery, Bega NSW
1 - 20 September 2023



‘Panboola: Renewal’ explores the reclaimed diverse estuarine and freshwater wetland area in Pambula on the lands of the Yuin Nation. Panboola is comprised of billabongs, saline areas, a tidal channel, tidal mud flats, mangroves and saltmarsh. The wetlands provide a final filter for the town stormwater and floodplain runoff before entering the Pambula Lake. At times the wetland is dry and at others flooded. It provides important breeding and nursery areas for a large range of animals including birds, fish, invertebrates and roosting habitat for flying foxes.

This new series of textile artworks incorporates the history of the area while paying tribute to the importance of the local community and the ecological contribution many volunteers have made to ensure the longevity of the world through nurturing this habitat. 

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Sonia Undy
Round 2 Mentorship Recipient

During the selection process for the Second Round of the Joyce Spencer Fellowship, Llewellyn Tuckett (Joyce’s daughter) decided to provide additional funding to support local Wiradjuri/Yorta Yorta artist Sonia Undy to undertake a $500 mentorship with Wiradjuri artist Aunty Gail Manderson, supported by selection panel member and artist, Julie Montgarrett.

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Woven artworks by Sonia Undy. Photographer: Ray Wholohan

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Dr Treahna Hamm
Round 1 Recipient

As an artist and teacher, I am very honoured to receive the Joyce Spencer Fellowship in its inaugural year. I was first drawn to Joyce's art and story which highlighted many parallels of my own life experiences - being a regional artist, connecting with my culture through my arts practice and having a love for the environment, wildlife and learning. I was inspired by Joyce's openness for sharing personal and artistic skills through teaching, and, the many people who benefited from the encouragement that Joyce gave during her lifetime.

- Dr Treahna Hamm

The Cad Factory, Western Riverina Arts and the Spencer Family are delighted to announce that Dr Treahna Hamm has been awarded the 2020 inaugural Joyce Spencer Textiles Fellowship of $4000.

In 2022, Treahna will present new work at Griffith Regional Art Gallery and the Narrandera Arts and Community Centre.

Treahna has been a practicing visual artist for over three decades. Her career began at Wangaratta TAFE in 1982, before completing five degrees in Visual Arts, Teaching and Education and a Doctorate of Philosophy (School of Education) at RMIT University in 2008.

Treahna's artworks are composed with multiple-layers of storytelling garnered from her Yorta Yorta upbringing by the Murray River in Northern Victoria and Southern NSW. This, along with contemporary practices such as printmaking, painting, photography, public art, sculpture, possum skin cloaks, murals and fibre weaving, allows for diverse artwork creation.
Treahna has exhibited in South Korea, Hawaii, New Zealand, France, Belgium, Germany and the United States. Her vibrant works are in national and international collections.

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Possum Skin Cloak in memory of WW1 servicemen & servicewomen, Dr Treahna Hamm, Open House: 3rd Tamworth Textile Triennial. Photographer Jules Boag

Listen to the ABC Riverina interview with Treahna


For the Love of Art
Grffith Regional Art Gallery
26 March – 10 April 2022

Narrandera Arts and Community Centre

4 to 29 May 2022



The Cad Factory, Western Riverina Arts, the Spencer Family and Narrandera Arts and Creative Network is pleased to present ' For the Love of Art', an exhibition by Yorta Yorta artist Treahna Hamm that was made through receiving the Joyce Spencer Textiles Fellowship. Treahna brought her own life and upbringing into conversation with Joyce's life in this new work. Treahna resonated with Joyce as they both have a shared love of creativity, joy in making, teaching to support communities and strength within family bonds. As a result, the centrepiece of the exhibition is a stunning possum skin cloak to honour Joyce and her life.

This exhibition is part of 'Wide Open 2022' developed by Narrandera Arts and Creative Network to showcase a series of exhibitions throughout the year at the Narrandera Arts and Community Centre, promoting local artists and experiences. Made possible with sponsorship from the Narrandera Branch of the Bendigo Bank and the Narrandera Shire Council.

Support Given

One fellowship of $4000 will be awarded to a mid-career artist or group to assist in achieving their outcome, with a further $1500 awarded to a highly commended artist. One mentorship of $500 will be awarded to an emerging artist to assist in achieving their outcome, they will also receive a one-hour mentorship session (in person or via Zoom) with a suitable senior textile artist. 

Selection Criteria

1. The lead artist must reside in regional NSW. Regional NSW does not include; Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains.
2. Lead regional NSW artists can work with people/groups/artists not located in regional NSW.

3. New textile artworks could be made for festivals, site-specific outcomes, exhibitions, performances or any kind of public presentation.

Selection Panel

Llewelyn Tuckett: Daughter of Joyce Spencer
Sarah McEwan: Artist/Cad Factory
Aanya Whitehead: RADO, Western Riverina Arts

More Information

Sarah McEwan

Creative Producer at the Cad Factory
P: 0405 447 490

To Apply

Applicants who meet the selection criteria will be asked to submit their application via an online Google form. A downloadable version of the form will also be available.


The form will ask you to include:

  • Name, pronouns, date of birth, contact information, local regional arts board.

  • Which award you are applying for (mid-career or emerging)

  • 500 words about your project or exhibition.

  • 1 page CV of each artist involved.

  • Confirmation letter of where the project will be presented. Eg letter from a gallery, local council, RADO, arts organisation etc outlining you have a confirmed venue or site-specific location.

  • Up to 10 images of work with clearly labelled titles

Round 4

Round 4 applications will open on Wednesday 1 May 2024 and close on Sunday 2 June 2024 at midnight. All applicants will be notified of the results on Friday 14 June 2024. Proposed projects should be delivered between July 2024 and December 2026. 


Expressions of Interest


This fellowship is made possible with funds from the Spencer family and Western Riverina Arts, in partnership with the Cad Factory.

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