Creating a space for artistic minds

18 Aug 2021

A one-time iron foundry in Adelaide’s inner north-western suburbs is taking on a new lease on life while providing artists room for their own creativity to flourish.

Pictured: Dean Toepfer and Andrew Carvolth

Established by former JamFactory alumni Dean Toepfer and Andrew Carvolth, Kilkenny’s Mixed Goods is exactly what it says on the tin: a dynamic hub offering independent studio space to a diverse assortment of artists and design professionals.

Among those joining the noted furniture designers and craftsmen in the refurbished Humphries Terrace warehouse are ceramicist Kerryn Levy, sculptor Luca Lettieri and jeweller Danielle Barrie.

Toepfer and Carvolth, who are calling Adelaide home after moving from interstate, say opening up the studio to fellow artists is a way of supporting the wider creative community.

“Our aim is for Mixed Goods to be a multifaceted design, craft and arts hub offering studio spaces, workshops, residencies and scholarships,” Sydney-born Toepfer says.

Carvolth says there are plenty of advantages to sharing studio space. “It’s very motivating and inspiring being with other creatives,” he enthuses. “It also fosters collaboration that brings people together, challenges perspectives and results in unique outcomes. Having your own creative space is an essential step to build and expand your practice.”

Their involvement with South Australia’s JamFactory – the state’s leading organisation for fostering creative talent – has been instrumental towards the pair’s latest venture.

Starting in the fashion industry – where he worked as a national sales manager with a Brisbane-based clothing label – Toepfer had a “sub-life career change”, and moved to Melbourne to begin an associate design degree at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. It was here he unlocked his passion for furniture and lighting design, leading to a position with the JamFactory’s Furniture Associateship program in Adelaide.

Initially planning to return to Melbourne at the end of his associateship, Toepfer says the charms of South Australia’s capital became too great to ignore.

“As time went on Adelaide really grew on me,” he says. “Before moving here, I thought downsizing cities would mean fewer opportunities and a smaller creative scene, but this wasn’t the case. Adelaide has such a vibrant and rich creative culture and per capita really rivals Melbourne.

“This – coupled with the cost and ease of living – really locked it in for me.”

Likewise, Carvolth – originally from Canberra – agrees Adelaide has much to offer.

“I studied at the ANU School of Art and Design, and after hearing about the JamFactory’s associate program, moved down to Adelaide to be a part of it,” he says. “I soon realised there was more to Adelaide than I thought.

“Adelaide is a beautiful city with an amazing history and palpable energy around where it’s headed. I think for me, learning more about SA’s industrial heritage and engaging with people that remain a part of it really showed me that so much is possible here.”

Sourced from: ‘Space & Creative Industries, Future Industries Jobs of Today’, Sunday Mail, 1 August 2021, p.5.