The portmanteau CHEB makes entire sense when talking to Christine Cholewa and Deb Jones about their collaborative practice. Combining letters from their first names to create a collective identity, CHEB has a whimsical and humorous air about it, hinting to the exuberant energy between them.
They both trained in glass-blowing in the 1990s, Jones in Canberra then at the JamFactory. Cholewa completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts in her native Canada before moving to South Australia and training also at the JamFactory. It was during this time that the two realised they worked well together and both went on to work at Blue Pony glass studios in Stepney.
Based now at Gate 8 in Thebarton, they maintain their own art practices but with increasing focus on public art and urban design work as CHEB. Cholewa says of this shift, “Public space reaches a bigger audience. We often design things that are practical or functional and integrate our designs into that.” Jones adds, “We like building to a larger scale and love working with diverse teams and tradies. We get to meet a lot of people and hear their stories.”
They are fascinated by materials and work with steel, bronze and timber but have a particular fondness for stone and terrazzo. Commissioned by Adelaide City Council to create an outdoor work to mark the Council’s 175th anniversary, CHEB worked with terrazzo specialists Monterrazzo. Visitors to council offices in Pirie Street, only have to look down to see the distinctive green shades of the groundwork Terrazzo Tree as they enter the building.
The 2016 commissioned public sculpture The Space Between on the banks of the Torrens, is constructed from Adelaide Black Granite and cobblestone. It is a powerful memorial recognising Indigenous and non-Indigenous past forced adoptions. Their most recent work Perpetual Sun in Stepney is a collaboration with Green Efficient Living and features stone and solar panels.
On a smaller scale, but just as ambitious, is a new range of tableware featuring glasses, plates and centrepieces that will be launched in October 2018 and can be found at chebart.com. This creative duo is unstoppable and their enthusiasm for collaboration is infectious. They agree that their power comes from working together, making CHEB highly productive. As a creative team they support each other, have life work balance and most importantly trust each other 100 per cent.
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CHEB, candleholders (photo by Debbie Pryor)