Robert Foster, my friend

Australian designer and artist Robert Foster was internationally renowned for his F!NK + Co Water Jug.

Fink jugs by Robert Foster

He founded F!nk Design.  

Steve remembers his friend “Fossie” who sadly passed away too soon this month:

Robert Foster

“I first heard of Robert Foster about 20 years ago, and he was already a bit of a hero in the Canberra arts and crafts scene. To be honest I was a bit jealous of him and his reputation at first.

I was designing and making leather bags generally part time, and looking after my kids. It was a few years later that I moved my workshop to the ANCA studios in Mitchell where Robert had his workshop as well.

Occasionally I would have a problem with some sort of fitting or component I was trying to get right using metal. So of course I would go and see Robert. No matter how busy he was he would always solve my problem for me, or make it for me.

I started to understand that both Robert and Gretel, his partner, were extremely hard working and a great team. Robert would often be there at the workshop when I arrived and the lights would burn late into the night.

It was during this period that I was experimenting making bags from alternative materials such as MDF, Formica and Rubber, that I saw the beauty of the colours they gained with their anodising of aluminium. This is what inspired me start making bags in aluminium.
Robert of course was there to help and advise. My first group of aluminium bags, that are nearly all in museums or public collections I was helped by Robert and Gretel to be what they are. They helped me understand the material and did all the anodising for me

Aluminium Bags by Steven Harkin

We became great friends and I think it was mutual appreciation for one another’s abilities as designer makers. There were quite a few nights polishing off a bottle of Limoncello and solving making problems.

Robert, you inspired me, and so many other people, and will continue to for many generations to come.

It’s not for the right reason, but I have understood that life is short, so I have started designing new bags after a gap of 4 years.

I certainly miss you as I am sure hundreds of others will also.

Genius, Robert Foster (Fossie).”



Steve has designed a bag named Fossie, inspired by some of Robert's jewellery designs.

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