Rachel Burke’s – The Magical Mundane

During August 2017 Engage Arts collaborated with the fabulous artist, designer and stylist Rachel Burke to bedazzle The Pod in Brunswick St Mall with her on-going craft project, The Magical Mundane.

Armed with sequins, jewels and glitter, The Magical Mundane for Brisbane City Council’s artist-in-residence at The Pod brought together an exhibition and diverse workshops and events that invited participants to join Rachel in turning mundane household objects into glittering works of art.

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The Magical Mundane exhibition

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, around 40 visitors enjoyed taking snaps of the exhibition while chatting to Rachel as we celebrated the launch of The Magical Mundane exhibition in style with brownies and cherry lemonade from local baker I Heart Brownies.

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The Pod program was inspired by the Royal Queensland Show (Ekka) in Brisbane where the annual Ekka competitions display the ‘best in show’ of handmade products including crafts creations. The program invited visitors to get creative in a series of free art and craft workshops and drop-in activities inspired by Rachel’s on-going craft project The Magical Mundane.

Hosted by Kerry from Engage Arts, the Magical Mundane drop-in activities let participants choose from an array of dreary household items and use craft-based techniques to transform their selected item into their own Magical Mundane artwork. Participants worked with a range of colourful materials such as pom-poms, glitter and sequins to design and decorate their object. Engage Arts also designed drop-in activities for children by inviting them to decorate simpler objects such as small rocks and paper plates.

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Kids craft on Ekka ‘People’s Day’

The Magical Mundane program also included several workshops facilitated by Rachel and Kerry. Kerry from Engage Arts hosted How to Make a Magical Mundane workshop on Sunday 13 August which taught participants the techniques Rachel uses to create her Magical Mundane objects. Participants picked a household items and used a wide range of materials to make their own Magical Mundane object. Participants then photographed their object in our pop-up photo booth and shared their creations on Instagram.

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Rachel teaching participants in the Make Your Own Sardine Diorama 

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Participants getting crafty in Rachel’s workshop

On the final weekend of The Magical Mundane residency we presented a day of creativity and idea sharing. We began the day with a Sardine Diorama workshop facilitated by Rachel. Under the guidance of Rachel, participants created a fantastical landscape in a used sardine can. By all accounts these fully-booked workshops were a lot of fun and a great chance to learn how to apply Rachel’s craft techniques.

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A wonderful creation made by participant Jen in Rachel’s workshop.

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A glittery tropical landscape made during Rachel’s exhibition

The workshop was followed by a Q&A session with Rachel Burke as Kerry and Danielle of Engage Arts discussed Rachel’s Magical Mundane project, her inspirations, and life as an artist and designer. The live Q&A was delivered in front of an audience and recorded for all to enjoy. You can listen to the Q&A on the Engage Arts Soundcloud.

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Kerry (left) and Danielle (right) in conversation with Rachel (middle) about her Magical Mundane project

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Participants bedazzling away at the Magical Mundane workshop

During the residency, we ran a Magical Mundane Instagram competition asking people to share their Magical Mundane creations on Instagram using the hashtag #themagicalmundane. We had excellent engagement with the program online with over 700 likes across the Engage Arts Instagram posts. Rachel picked Instagrammer Sarah Duff’s wonderful transformation of an old multivitamin container into a sparkling Magical Mundane artwork to be awarded ‘best in show’, and Sarah received one of Rachel’s original handmade cupcake crowns.

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Sarah Duff’s winning Magical Mundane entry

A diverse range of participants of all ages, from toddlers to retirees, enjoyed the Magical Mundane exhibition, workshops and drop-in activities. The pop-up exhibition also drew people into the Mall with its sparkly works enlivening The Pod space. During the program, the Engage Arts team got to know several participants with a number of people attending more than one of the events.

Promotion of the program was picked up on The Weekend Edition, BNE Art and across other ‘what’s-on’ event pages. Brisbane City Council generously supported the marketing of the program through social media promotion and printed posters.

We hope that Rachel’s Magical Mundane residency successfully inspired people to discover more about Rachel’s whimsical works, and get creative by turning unwanted and used household items into their own works of art!

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