Canberra memorabilia is here, and not a teaspoon in sight

Canberra memorabilia is here, and not a teaspoon in sight

Fashion followers in Canberra may soon be asking each other, ''Is that a Marion?''

High-end souvenirs or memorabilia to mark Canberra's centenary, including the handprinted Marion scarf, are on sale after a competition to determine the best designs.

Nine finalists were asked to produce prototypes of their designs and five were selected for commercial production.

And there is not a teaspoon among them.

The products on sale include the Marion scarf ($99) by Megan Jackson which embraces structures such as The Melbourne building and ANU School of Art, but also Canberra 's ''little quirks'' such as bicycles and hot air balloons.


Ms Jackson, 27, was inspired by some of the sketches and watercolours of Marion Mahony Griffin.

She understands Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has already purchased a scarf and there has been excitement at seeing her design out in the community.

''I chose buildings that had a historical context with Canberra, something like the art school that was once Canberra High and the powerhouse which is now the Glassworks, but which also had a modern-day context,'' she said.

''But the main idea I focused on [was to have] a beautiful pattern that could be appreciated by anyone. So whether you were in Perth or Adelaide buying this scarf, you could appreciate it for what it was.''

Ms Jackson grew up in Sydney and moved to Canberra almost a decade ago to study at the School of Art and has no plans to leave the national capital, where she runs her own label.

''I think it's got a very vibrant art and design community, which is very supportive as well,'' she said.

Another of the souvenirs is a stainless steel dish ($150) by Mitchell Brooks and Dan Lorrimer etched with the Griffin blueprint for Canberra. The form of a dish is suggestive of Canberra's location within a natural amphitheatre created by the surrounding hills and mountains.

Brooches and neckpieces by Sean Booth ($26 in plywood, $120 in sterling silver) were inspired by the ACT borders.

Mr Booth, 35, who also moved from Sydney to Canberra to study at the School of Art, said he wanted to promote the shape of the ACT through his jewellery.

''Canberra's such a small area that it's either a star or a kidney-shaped object [on a map] and that was kind of the motivation - taking our territory border and making it a bit more prominent,'' he said.

There are also linen tea towels ($24.95) by Kate Ward, who has hand-drawn and screen-printed the designs, which show iconic images of Canberra in a playful way, including a heart over Parliament House.

Fiona Hooton's Shape a Nation is a pop-out construction ''bringing a 3D physical form to Walter and Marion Mahony Griffin's plan to connect the nation''. The pieces ($12.90 each) can be assembled any which way, to create three-dimensional sculpture.

Centenary of Canberra executive director Jeremy Lasek said quality craft and design had been a part of the national capital since its inception. ''The high standard of these products make them terrific souvenirs of the centenary," he said. "The artists are all local, and they deliberately connected with local industry and manufacturers. The alliances formed as a result of this initiative will be an important legacy of the centenary.''

An exhibition showcasing the competition finalists was opened by Arts Minister Joy Burch on Thursday evening at Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre in Civic Square.


The other finalists were Heather Aspinall, David MacLaren, Gilbert Riedelbauch and Julie Ryder.

The centenary products are available from the Craft ACT Shop at Civic Square and on line at The National Library, National Gallery, National Museum, National Portrait Gallery and the Australian War Memorial also stock the items.

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