THE JOYCE SPENCER FELLOWSHIP
About 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.”
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.
About The Fellowship
The Joyce Spencer Fellowship is to support a regional NSW textile artist or collective to deliver a new artwork or exhibition. Named after the textile artist Joyce Spencer (1928 – 2019), the fellowship is made possible with funds from the Spencer family and Western Riverina Arts, in partnership with the Cad Factory.
The Joyce Spencer Fellowship will be administered over two years; with applications open in June 2020 and June 2021. Each year, one fellowship of $4000 will be awarded.
Applicants who meet the selection criteria will be asked to submit their application via an online form. The form will ask you to include:
Name, pronouns, date of birth, contact information, local regional arts board
300 words about your project or exhibition
1 page CV of the lead artist
Confirmation letter of where the project will be presented. Eg letter from a gallery, council, RADO etc outlining you have a confirmed venue or site-specific location
Up to 10 images of work with clearly labelled titles
Round 1 applications will open on Monday 1 June 2020 and close on Sunday 19 July 2020 at midnight. All applicants will be notified of the results on 3 August 2020. Proposed projects should be delivered between August 2020 – December 2022.
Round 2 applications will open on Monday 31 May 2021 and close on Sunday 18 July 2021 at midnight. All applicants will be notified of the results on 2 August 2021. Proposed projects should be delivered between August 2021 – December 2023.
1. The lead artist/s must reside in regional NSW. Regional NSW does not include: Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains.
Llewelyn Tuckett: Daughter of Joyce Spencer
Sarah McEwan: Artist/Cad Factory
Vic McEwan: Artist/Cad Factory
Julie Montgarrett: Artist, Curator, Academic
Sarah McEwan, Creative Producer at the Cad Factory
P: 0405 447 490