Finding local inspiration for art

Gadi land / Darlinghurst, NSW

Much Lead, an installation by Claire McCaughan and Felicity Gartelmann of Sam Crawford Architects was selected for exhibition at the Object Gallery, Australia’s leading centre for craft and design in October 2010.

The installation was inspired by the Sam Crawford Architects’ studio neighbourhood in Surry Hills and explored the idea of the pencil as a simple tool, held in common by many disciplines, creating unexpected connections and outcomes.  Pencils were donated by designers, makers, school teachers, parents, artists, tradespeople, students, baristas – any pencil users and any pencils for work or play.  An unexpected cross-disciplinary community was briefly formed when the canopy of thousands of individually suspended pencils was hung in a graded mass of colour.

The installation engaged the community – donations of their own individual pencils and corresponding stories enabled participation to extend into the gallery and alter the conventional viewing of a piece of art/sculpture.  Once installed everyone could come to the gallery, find their own pencil and see and share other people’s pencils and stories.

For a brief moment in time, in Sydney, a mish-mash of people (and pencils) each with their own unique story and experience came together to create an environment that respected these differences yet formed a cohesive whole, a community was represented and enhanced.

The installation continues to contribute to communities with pencils being donated to children in Cambodia, a school in Burma and children in Umoona, South Australia.



Project Team

Felicity Gartelmann, Claire McCaughan


Sydney Morning Herald Essential – September 2010