Artisan Encounters

We invite you to explore the rich history of Sydney Living Museums’ properties through the unique program Artisan Encounters.

Celebrating contemporary artisans working across craft, food and trades, you’ll enjoy fascinating demonstrations, drop in activities and enticing digital content as you meet the personalities who embrace traditional crafts presenting them in innovative and exciting ways. 

Focusing on goods produced by non-industrialised methods, often handed down through generations but now in danger of being lost, Artisan Encounters will encourage discussion and conversation around old and new, past and present, place and provenance.

Join us as we delve into sustainable practices and reviving traditional methods and techniques while being inspired by the history of Elizabeth Farm and Vaucluse House.

Find upcoming Artisan Encounter events and meet the artisans who have been participating in this program below.


Spring school holidays program

Forge with anvil.

Artisan Encounters at Elizabeth Farm

Blacksmith Levi Pendlebury is the second artisan featured in the Artisan Encounters program. During this event Levi will light the forge and demonstrate to visitors various forging methods like twisting, bending, cutting and for the more curious crowds hardening and tempering. Levi will also talk about the history of blacksmithing and its relevance today.

Alongside Levi’s demonstrations we’ll also have a paper-based drop-in activity that is connected to his blacksmithing practice.

Bring a picnic to enjoy in the gardens. Please note, our Tearoom is currently closed.


  • Thurs 1- Sat 3 Oct, 10am-4pm: Family-friendly drop-in activity

  • Thurs 1- Sat 3 Oct, 10am-2pm: Blacksmithing demonstrations


Elizabeth Farm


Included with general admission. 

Adult $15, Child/Concession $12, Family $38, Free for SLM Members and children under 5 years

We recommend that you pre-purchase your general admission tickets.

Two woven basket sculptures.

Artisan Encounters at Vaucluse House

Catriona Pollard’s unique sculptural work offers glimpses of shapeshifting natural forms, from unnoticed branches, leaves and seedpods into works that investigate our personal connection with the natural world.  

Come and watch Catriona create her abstract sculptures as she engages traditional basketry and assemblage techniques using only foraged and discarded plant material.

Alongside Catriona’s demonstrations we’ll have large-scale garden looms set up in the grounds of Vaucluse House where families can contribute to create a collaborative artwork using natural fibres and foliage. This is a drop-in activity.

Bring a picnic or enjoy a café lunch at Estate Vaucluse House (open Friday and Saturday).

Part of Sydney Craft Week


  • Thurs 8-Sat 10 Oct, 10am-4pm: Family-friendly drop-in activities

  • Fri 9-Sat 10 Oct, 10am-2pm: Fibre art and basket-making demonstrations


Vaucluse House


Included with general admission. 

Adult $15, Child/Concession $12, Family $38, Free for SLM Members and children under 5 years

We recommend that you pre-purchase your general admission tickets.

Meet the artisans

Levi Pendlebury, blacksmith

Levi started blacksmithing by volunteering at Nurrangingy's blacksmith hut at 14 years of age. Here Gordon Blackwell taught him the basics of blacksmithing while demonstrating to a large audience.

He completed his blacksmith apprenticeship in 2005 and spent a few years working in various metalwork establishments. In 2012 he started demonstrating as The Village Blacksmith and now takes his hammer and forge on the road all over NSW, demonstrating the art of blacksmithing.

Find out more about Levi

The Village Blacksmith

Catriona Pollard, fibre artist

By transforming organic material into sculptures, Catriona Pollard is investigating the battle humans have between controlling nature and seeing ourselves in harmony with it.

Through this reinterpretation of nature, her work offers up the concept that we should actively see nature as part of us rather than simply an object that has no meaning or spirit. This investigation also leads to a reflection on our inner landscape and questioning control versus harmony within our lives. 

Catriona has had numerous solo exhibitions and exhibited extensively in selected and group exhibitions. She has been shortlisted in art awards including Emerging Artist of the Year Craft NSW, finalist Ravenswood Women’s Art Prize, Northern Beaches Art Prize, North Sydney Art Prize, Warringah Art Prize, and Mosman Art Gallery.

She teaches a range of basketry workshops in Australia and internationally. 

Her work is profiled across major art and design media and is featured nationally in galleries, high end design spaces and private collections.

Learn more about Catriona