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Journal - Interviews, Profiles, Stories

Journal: Phoebe Porter

Creative Life at the Abbotsford Convent (Part One)


The Abbotsford Convent

Since 2008 I’ve been lucky to work from a studio at the Abbotsford Convent, which I share with fellow jeweller Katheryn Leopoldseder. The Convent is steadily evolving as an arts and cultural precinct. It’s a vibrant place to work, incorporating artist studios, rehearsal spaces, indoor and outdoor function spaces, heritage gardens, a gallery, a school, a radio station, cafes, bars and more…


The Mercator Building (Image: Katheryn Leopoldseder)


Breezeway to the Mercator Building



Initially Katheryn and I shared a studio located in the main Convent Building among painters, writers, instrument makers and animators. In 2010 we moved into the newly refurbished (and slightly noisier) Mercator Building. Mercator, originally part of the commercial laundries run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, now provides studio spaces for more industrial practices. It’s perfectly suited to my work (using predominantly industrial materials such as titanium, stainless steel and aluminium) and comfortably houses our growing selection of machinery and equipment.

Some of our fellow tenants include print maker Rona Green, designer Justin Hutchinson, textile designer Nicola Cerini and jeweller Shimara Carlow. Working alongside these complementary practices means ready access to critique from peers and candid advice on creative or business challenges. Spontaneous conversations about current projects, new technologies and upcoming events keep me inspired, provide the sparks for new ideas and relief from the occasional loneliness of being a sole practitioner.


Rona Green’s studio (Image: Louise M. Cooper)


Nicola Cerini’s studio (Image: Jorge de Araujo)


Phoebe’s studio (Image: Matthew Butler)

Part Two next week includes…


Fringe Furniture exhibition at The Convent