The Victorian Craft Awards, run by Craft Victoria, is a biennial exhibition that honours artists and designers in ceramics, jewellery and glassware, from across the state. The awards feature both emerging and established artists.

Exclusive to Broadsheet, Craft Victoria announced the winners of the 2017 awards (narrowed down from 100 finalists) on Monday morning.

Kirsten Haydon took out the $10,000 Lynne Kosky Jewellery Award. The Melbourne-based artist specialises in enamel works, but this year, she found inspiration in new materials. Her winning piece, “Ice Past”, includes two sculpture-like necklaces made from porcelain, silver, glass, wood, paper, steel, and thread. Inspired by a 2004 trip to Antarctica, the works reflect on human impact on the continent’s landscape, be it through global warming or scientific testing. One is “constructed from silver reflecting on the sampling of water droplets,” Haydon explains in her artist’s statement. “The other remnants of unique porcelain moulds.”

Katherine Wheeler won the $5000 Ceramic Award for her piece, “Finding balance, evolving” – a collection of small sculpture made out of porcelain, sterling silver, thread and paint. The piece is about “habitat destruction and human influence on the natural world,” Wheeler says in her artist statement. “There is a playful and spontaneous suggestion of growth and movement, but life or death is not confirmed.”

Anna Davern won the Chair’s Award for Innovation for her work “The Golden Lands of the Sunny South”, a mechanised wood and foam diorama that examines Australia-ness with Elizabethan-styled cats made from kitsch re-worked biscuit tins, printed steel and gem-stone beads. “The diorama features a fictional retelling of colonial exploration in a strange, altered landscape,” she says in her artist’s statement. “Characters and props can be removed and worn as individual jewellery pieces or displayed as objects.”

In a surprise on the night, emerging artist Sai-Wai Foo’s sculpture made such an impact on the judges that Craft Awards spontaneously created the second Chair’s Award to reward her.

Foo’s “A Thousand Journeys” is an assemblage of pleated vintage book pages, glass-tipped steel pins and a ceramic doll’s head all fused together and housed in a glass dome. Foo says her piece honours once-treasured objects, appropriating rejected items and giving them value again through craft and artistry.

WINNERS SUMMARY: VICTORIAN CRAFT AWARDS 2017

Lynne Kosky Jewellery Award ($10,000) – Kirsten Haydon
Jewellery Encouragement Award ($2000) – Michaela Pegum
Ceramic Award ($5000) – Katherine Wheeler
Excellence Award ($5000) – Claire McCardle
Chair’s Award for Innovation ($1000 prize) – Anna Davern
Chair’s Award for Innovation ($500 prize) – Sai-Wai Foo

The Victorian Craft Awards exhibition run from June 3 to July 8. The exhibition runs across three venues including Craft Victoria, Collins Place and Sofitel Melbourne on Collins.