In this paper, we describe the pilot version of Hold Everything, a new course utilising a trans-disciplinary framework of a single theme to deliver layers of value from a packed, multi-disciplinary studio experience to a seemingly bottomless well of metaphorical and conceptual territory. Students eager to “make something” as a break in routine received more than they bargained for as they expanded their awareness of objects, production, and definitions of “vessel”.
While handmade objects are generally valued in contemporary society, there remains a lack of awareness around materials and processes. In the first instance, this course aimed to increase exposure to ANU School of Art & Design (ANU SOA&D) craft workshops. The value of making by hand has been recognised not only as the means to the end product, but for the multiple benefits to the maker ranging from achieving a state of flow (Csikszentmihalyi 1997), to personal fulfilment and development of self-identity (Korn 2014), to expanding neural networks and capacity for lateral thinking (Wilson 1998). For casual students, increased awareness of the personal value of making objects by hand was a key outcome of the course.
Students also gained an expanded notion of ‘the vessel’ and its omnipresence. They interrogated metaphors and concepts of the vessel through tangible encounters with clay, timber, and fabric, taking into consideration the formal, the functional, and the personal. Through this lens, objects as mundane as a wooden spoon, a ceramic cube, and a printed t-shirt provided students valuable new perspectives of themselves and the world around them.