Bright future in print

PROSPECTS look promising for not just the 10 participants of Print the Future, but the Global Studio in Morwell, which is providing the pilot program as part of an initiative to equip Latrobe Valley residents with useful skills.

The Global Studio, which recently celebrated its second anniversary, will organise an open day in conjunction with an exhibition of the works produced during the 14-week course and its “birthday” celebrations, Global Studio founder Robyn Long said.

“At the heart of it, it’s about gaining foundation skills in the textile industry, particularly in screen printing, with event management training,” Ms Long said about the program.

Amid the turmoil in the TAFE sector which has seen locally-provided art and design courses being discontinued, the workshop and studio has emerged as a centre for aspiring artists, as well as those from culturally diverse backgrounds, to equip themselves with skills which may be monetised in the future.

“We are trying to (fill the gap) left by the TAFEs, but provide tailored programs addressing what the community is asking for,” Ms Long said.

“We hope to see social enterprises start from here, and would really like to see applied fashion and design courses because there’s nothing this side of Melbourne.”

The popularity of the Print the Future course, which was funded through the Skilling the Valley – Strong Foundations initiative, will see the introduction of a second Print the Future course in mid-October.

“It’s been received really well,” Ms Long said.

The students who successfully complete the course would receive an introductory certificate in general education for adults, as well as provide future pathways to other areas of interest.

Above all, the program gave artists who had no formal education, as well as those who had not been able to gain work from their qualifications, the opportunity to get back into their chosen area of interest,” she said.

For self-professed “primitive artist” Phoebe Brand, being accepted into the program was “fate”.

“My grandmother was a screen printer; I have been wanting to do this for a long time,” Ms Brand said.

“To have access to this course right here in Morwell was a blessing for me.

“I have learnt a lot; it’s given me basic skills and opened up a vision of what I can do with (the skills).”

Ms Brand, a Morwell resident, prints her own designs of mandalas and has successfully printed on clothes and art pieces.

“I want to do a fabric banner installation and sell my art.

“I hope more of these courses (are offered); I am getting so much out of it and am so inspired.”

Presently, Ms Long said there were around 60 students across the Global Studio and TRY Australia-provided courses in Morwell.

Her hopes for the future include having a retail space for Global Studio creations.

“We get wonderful artwork, and items like bags and aprons; it’s a social enterprise in its own right,” Ms Long said.

“With that, too, we can teach customer service skills and visual merchandising skills; we want to be more visible.”