Kath Ellis has been a prop maker all her life, she was looking for opportunities to add another tool to her kit, when she made the decision to move to Tasmania and study a Bachelor of Design at the University campus in Launceston.
I decided to come to the University of Tasmania because my partner and I were living in Sydney and we needed to get out of the big city, and Tasmania is a magical place
“Launceston has a small community, but it is an enlightened and creative town, which is really great. The Bachelor of Design at the University of Tasmania is a 3-year degree, but I chose to study over four years to take my time and do every subject properly," she said.
Kath was interested in being in an environment where she could get her hands on machinery and tools to start making.
It’s a very practical course. You get to learn a lot about materials, use tools and learn about machinery. There is a workshop here that you can use every day.
“This is a smallish university that has a lot of time for individual students. You can learn as much as you want to. There are a lot of people here who will spend a lot of time with you, to show you how to do something," she said.
Kath recently took part in a Mona Foma project called BLOMA. Where she worked with a small but dedicated group of students in a two-week intensive elective. The students worked to research, design and create BLOMA, which is a 21st-century update of the Voice-O-Graphs of the mid-20th century.
“Essentially it is a big landmark, and our job was to make it as big, beautiful and distinctive as possible. It provided a great lesson in hollow fabrication.
“I learned a lot about iteration by looking at all the different aspects of a design, to figure out what the best kind of shape would be to fulfil the brief," she said.
BLOMA combines an inflatable enclosure with a folded steel podium housing a microphone that records audio and uploads it to the web. Recordings are archived, and can be accessed by anyone, anywhere.
Kath recently graduated from her degree and looks forward to continuing her design career by making new things and being involved in projects where she can work with different events and festivals.
Interested in design? Apply now to study a Bachelor of Design.
Top image: Kath Ellis (centre) discusses the BLOMA project with Mona Foma curator Brian Ritchie (right).