Tuesday, September 21, 2010

warp+weft gallery talk at Oriel Myrddin Gallery, Carmarthen, 2pm, 22nd Sept 2010

Just a quickie to let you know I am giving a gallery talk tomorrow about the warp+weft exhibition I've curated at Oriel Myrddin in Carmarthen.  Its at 2pm.  Directions etc can be found here: http://www.orielmyrddingallery.co.uk/

warp+weft: cross disciplanary approaches to weave symposium at The National Wool Museum, 11th Sept 2010

Dr Jessica Hemmings. Photo: Kathryn Campbell Dodd.
 To mark the opening of the warp+weft exhibitions at Oriel Myrddin and the National Wool Museum, Dr Jessica Hemmings kindly put together a brilliant symposium exploring the unexpected connections with weave.

The day begin with Jessica's introduction, highlighting some wonderful examples of practice within the art textiles sphere which is woven, or references the process of weaving.  My absolute favourite example was the 'Wind up: Walking the Warp' project by Anne Wilson.  I thought the below image was so powerful - a real visual spectacle which to a non-weaver must seem utterly bizarre.  It's also a profound comment on the passing of time, the nature of craftsmanship, and the power of process.  You can read more about this intriguing project here: http://www.annewilsonartist.com/windup-chicago-walking.html

Anne Wilson, “Wind-Up: Walking the Warp,” 2008
Photo: Surabhi Ghosh
The first invited speaker was Professor Lesley Millar, well known for her high profile curatorial projects such as Cloth and Culture, 21:21 and Through the Surface.  Lesley spoke eloquently about constructed narratives implicit in the weave process, a concept harnessed to great effect by many of the artists she has worked with in her curation projects.  At the end of her presentation she told us of her newly launched web gallery / educational resource for textile art, Transition and Influence.

Professor Lesley Millar. Photo: Kathryn Campbell Dodd.

We then had a presentation from Dr Wayne Forster, Head of the Welsh School of Architecture, which recounted much of the dialogue between Wayne and myself exploring the common ground between the architectural and textile disciplines.  You may remember I blogged last year about the Architextiles series of workshops I ran with Wayne at the School of Architecture.  Wayne presented many of the examples of cross disciplinary works in both textiles and architecture we'd come across in our research and how this fed into the workshops we ran for the first and second year architecture students.

Dr Wayne Forster. Photo: Kathryn Campbell Dodd
 Following a very tasty lunch in the Museum restaurant, we returned to lecture from Andy Ross, the Director of ASF Shetland, part of the Centre for Creative Industries in Shetland.  A trained opera singer, Andy ensured that anybody veering towards a post-lunch lull was re-energised.  He opened by singing a traditional weavers song, and then proceeded to explain his absorbing creative journey between textiles and music exploring where the crossovers are, such as in language and rhythm. He even got the delegates singing - quite appropriate for Wales!

Andy Ross. Photo: Kathryn Campbell Dodd
 During a coffee break there was then a screening of two short films by Matt Hulse Light Work: many hands and Anne Wilson’s Walking the Warp.

To conclude Ruth Greany, a textile trend researcher for WGSN talked about her former career as a woven fashion textile designer for Woven Studio and her work now at WGSN, exploring how trends are researched, identified, synthesised and presented to clients.

Ruth Greany. Photo: Kathryn Campbell Dodd
The symposium generated a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm on the day - a real feeling that the weave fraternity is starting to find its voice.  It was referred to time and time again by speakers and delegates that weaving has not been seen as a sexy discipline and as a result just hasn't been in the limelight such as knitting has in recent years.Craft skills are under threat, there aren't many job opportunities for weave students to aspire towards, and there isn't a strong collectors market for art and craft textiles.  But little is to be achieved by just repeating these laments.  Weavers need to be working harder to bring what they are doing to the fore.  The exhibitions I've curated had this very aim - to celebrate the achievements of the creative and entrepreneurial weave artists and designers working in this field, to both inform the public and to act as inspiration to other weavers.  We need to create our own opportunities and keep striving to create the most extraordinary woven textiles thus claiming our rightful place as an important and stimulating applied art / craft / design area.

As a result of spending two days at the symposium and the various exhibition openings talking to a veritable 'who's who' in the world of weaving, I've been mulling over how to continue the momentum of interest and energy thats seems to have started.  Ideas are already forming, and I'll tell you about them once they start to become reality.  One thing I have decided to start now is a new blog which will record all the interesting weave related items I find happening in art  design, craft, science, industry and academia.  I spend a little too much time researching online and it would be wonderful to be able to share the suprising, curious, intrguing, beautiful weave related images and links I find with you.  It will also review exhibitions I go to, books I read, and any other curious snippets of relevant info.  I hope it will in time become a valuable resource for students, researchers and curators who are exploring weave in all its guises, but also the general art/design/craft enthusiast.  There's not much posted yet (only just started!) but please subscribe and tell your friends and colleagues about it too: http://www.thewarpandweftblog.blogspot.com/ 

Monday, September 20, 2010

warp+weft: from handloom to production, The National Wool Musuem, Drefach Felindre, Carmarthenshire

Being a little bit of a glutton for punishment..... no..... full of enthusiasm for celebrating what's happening in the world of weaving, I decided that I wanted to have a second concurrent exhibition running alongside warp+weft at Oriel Myrddin.  I approached the National Wool Museum with the idea of putting together a show celebrating the achievements of eight weave designers who've developed their practice by working with mills to put their designs into batch production, and I was delighted that the Museum loved the idea.

This is the first time that the Museum has given over a space in the building to a contemporary, temporary exhibition, so there was lots that needed to be considered for the first time.  I was also very keen that the show should have a publication to accompany it and was thrilled that The Worshipful Company of Weavers were able to support this element of the project.

The concept behind this exhibition was to show the initial hand woven samples that the designers produce when developing their ideas, colour palettes, and structural choices, alongside the finished mill woven products.  I wanted to give an insight into the development and refinement element of the design process that many designers go through.  For some the changes made are significant, for others barely noticeable to the untrained eye.  I also wanted to shine a light on this niche area of manufacturing that the British mills are so good at serving.

The designers in this exhibition are:

Donna Wilson for SCP
Eleanor Pritchard
Wallace + Sewell
Fran White, The Linen Shop
Dashing Tweeds
Margo Selby
Tim Parry Williams
Cefyn Burgess

Please do go and see the exhibition, which is on until 8th January 2011. 

Donna Wilson designed Nos Da fabric on the Eadie chair for SCP

Donna Wilson for SCP

Tim Parry Williams fabrics

Tim Parry Williams fabrics made into garments by other fashion designers

Wallace + Sewell

Wallace + Sewell

Wallace + Sewell handwoven samples

Light reflective jackets by Dashing Tweeds

Margo Selby

Fran White, The Linen Shop

Fran White's sketchbook and hand woven samples

Eleanor Pritchard

Cefyn Burgess

warp+weft, Oriel Myrddin Gallery, Carmarthen

It's been nearly 2 years since I first started talking to Meg Anthony, the curator at Oriel Myrddin Gallery about warp+weft, an exhibition celebrating contemporary woven textiles.  Two years ago, September 2010, seemed like light years away...... well it soon came around!

The last couple of months have been an absolute hive of activity - I now have a much better appreciation of the background work that goes into curating an exhibition!  The catalogue itself was a huge amount of work, and I don't think I have ever laboured so much over my words.  The photography sessions with Toril Brancher were fantastic and even though it was agonising making some of the graphic design decisions such as what to put on the cover, I hugely enjoyed working with Heidi Baker, our wonderful catalogue designer. With Meg, I think we made a formidable team.

You may have read on my earlier posts that the connecting thread for the exhibition was that all the selected weave artists and designers take a decidedly unexpected approach to weaving. Ainsley Hillard incorporates a transfer print process to integrate ghostly images; Ismini Samanidou is collaborating with Gary Allson to make CNC drawings and milled wood surfaces deriving from her hand woven samples; and Priti Vega works with fibre optics, magnets, light reflective yarns, amongst other intriguing materials to create her striking works.  The show also includes some icons from the world of weaving - Ann Sutton, Peter Collingwood and Reiko Sudo (NUNO) - inspirations for all interested in the construction of ingenious textiles.

Below are a few images from the exhibition.  There will be more to follow.  Please do try and visit the show which is on until the end of October.  Please also buy the very lovely catalogue..... a bargain at £12.50!

The catalogue with Ptolemy Mann's Monoliths on the cover

The private view on 10th Sept 2010. Photo: Kathryn Campbell Dodd.

Arc, by Laura Thomas. Photo: Kathryn Campbell Dodd.

Photo: Kathryn Campbell Dodd.

Photo: Kathryn Campbell Dodd.

Makeba Lewis. Photo: Toril Brancher.

Priti Vega. Photo: Toril Brancher

Ann Richards. Photo: Toril Brancher

Nuno. Photo: Toril Brancher

Sue Hiley Harris. Photo: Toril Brancher

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Exhibitions at The National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire

Well, its been a busy few weeks.  Last weekend four textiles exhibitions and a symposium that I've been directly involved in either curating, coordinating or exhibiting in, opened in and around Carmarthenshire.  I'll do separate blog posts for each venue as I have lots of photos to share with you.

The first two shows to open were both at The National Botanic Garden of Wales.  In the gallery was '10 - ten years of textiles, ten years of growth' celebrating the achievements of graduates and staff from the BA Contemporary Textiles course at the West Wales School of the Arts, where I teach woven textiles.  The show was curated by Paula Philips Davies, the course leader.

I LOVE this large scale knitted artwork by Kelly Jenkins!
 In the grounds of the Gardens I coordinated a show for Fibre Art Wales, a group I've been a member of for about four years.  The exhibition is entitled 'Exposed: textiles in the open', which is the first time the group has created an exhibition for the outdoors.  We felt very privileged to be given free reign to create and place artworks anywhere within the grounds of he gardens.  For most of the group it was the first time we had to think about making work to with stand the elements.  We were also delighted that for the first time our patron Mary Lloyd Jones contributed a piece of work to the show.

Below are some images of my piece for the show entitled 'Vista'.  Cotton and silk threads have been laminated in glass, a development on the cast acrylic 'Resonate' sculptures I have been working on for several years.  Whilst acrylic is robust enough to withstand extreme weather, it is vulnerable to scratching, so for this kind of application I needed to translate the process into glass.  This is the first large scale piece I have made of this ilk and I'm really pleased with the results and it's great to see it in situ.  A huge thank you is due to Innovative Glass Products for their support in making this work.

And here are a couple of images of artworks by some of the other members of Fibre Art Wales members:
'Miss Willmott: a memoir' by Lisa Porch

'Through a Glass' by Ruth McLees
'The Ghosts of a Weed Garden' by Kathryn Campbell Dodd

Hope you manage to get to see the shows! 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

‘Flourish: Continuing Professional Development for craftspeople’ at Craft in the Bay

I am coordinating a new series of Professional Development seminars and workshops for craft and design at Craft in the Bay, Cardiff.  There will be one event per month, with the first this September 17th. This programme has been possible with the suport of the Arts Council of Wales.

Below are details for the first four workshops.  Places are going quickly, so if you are interested in attending, please book very soon.

September 17th 2010 – the seed factory: germinating and cultivating new ideas, with Angela Gidden MBE

11am – 4.30pm

A workshop where we squeeze the fresh and the best commercial ideas out of the crazy ones!

the seed factory is where you Imagine, Discover, Define, Germinate, Cultivate and Yield fresh ideas; it’s about inspiring unlimited creative-thinking; it’s where we encourage you to un-tap unique seeds of ideas mixing the best ideas and ingredients into your creative business.

We want you to bring an empty box of your favourite cereal……& no revealing to anyone!

The Seed Factory is designed and created by attic 2, The Future-Thinking Creative Consultancy © 2010

An inspiring and thought provoking day to indulge in new ways of creative thinking. Want to push your practice into a new direction? Need a prompt to explore the ideas that you just haven’t found time for yet? Want to surprise yourself? Then this is the perfect workshop for you.

This is an amazing opportunity to attend a workshop with Angela Gidden. She is one of Wales' leading designers and is also owner and Director of two companies, attic 2 Design Studio and Nomad & Nest online eco-lifestyle brand, with UK and international clients including Liberty, The Conran Shop and Heals.

Amongst many accolades, Angela was the winner of Welsh Woman of the Year in 1997 and was awarded an MBE for services to business in 2007. She has established herself as a key advocate for the creative industries in the UK and in her work as an entrepreneur role model is committed to inspiring and motivating individuals, companies and organisations.

She is a passionate believer of the power of creative thinking in everyday life and is known for her dynamic and unique style of presentation that won’t fail to have you inspired.

What to bring: an empty box of your favourite cereal, a pen/pencil and an open mind!

Cost: £45 for non members, £40.50 for members and friends of the Makers Guild in Wales

October 23rd 2010 – Craft Photography with Toril Brancher

11am – 4.30pm

Are you aware that your photographs are not showing your work to its very best potential? Want to create more eye catching photographs to attract press coverage? Want to learn how to get the very best out of your digital camera?

This one day workshop with notable photographer Toril Brancher will begin with an analysis of what makes a successful photograph, what the common errors are and how to take striking photographs with minimal periphery equipment. This will lead into a practical photography session where you will apply the theory to photographing one of your craft objects.

Toril Brancher is an established documentary and craft photographer, as well as a regular photography tutor with Ffotogallery in Cardiff. Recent significant commissions in the craft sector include studio photographs for the Porcelain: Ritual and Process exhibition and catalogue photography for Warp + Weft, a major touring exhibition of contemporary woven textiles.

What to bring: your digital camera and connecting lead to view your images on a PC; a piece of your work that you’d like to photograph; notebook and pen.

Cost: £45 for non members, £40.50 for members and friends of the Makers Guild in Wales

8th November 2010 – Internet Strategy for Craftspeople with Pete Mosley

11am – 4.30pm

Want to learn how to take advantage of the internet to promote you and your business using no-cost or low-cost options? Are you somewhat bewildered by Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, RSS Feeds, Flickr, LinkedIn, etc? This workshop will demystify these topics in clear and accessible language, examining the various pros and cons, and how these online tools can be put into practice as part of your marketing strategy.

• Arts websites – the good, the bad and the ugly!

• The use of directory and ‘aggregator’ sites – how the ‘long tail’ works

• Blogging – and how Blogs and websites work together synergistically

• RSS (really simple syndication) & social bookmarking

• The use of Google Analytics to measure traffic

• Keyword testing techniques

• Getting visible on Google and other search engines.

• Facebook & Twitter

• Flickr & You Tube

• Email applications e.g. Constant Contact and MailChimp

• How to set up an email database and use it effectively

• A/B email testing, subject lines and CTA’s (calls to action)

• Email etiquette

Pete Mosley works exclusively with artists and arts organisations. His primary focus is providing bespoke coaching and mentoring to artists and makers, either face to face or through training sessions and seminars.

Pete is a strong advocate of the internet as a powerful tool for artists and makers to market their work using traditional media such as websites and email newsletters or through social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Pete is also Business Editor for craft&design magazine, writing regular articles and features for the printed magazine, website and e-newsletters. He also maintains the magazine’s Facebook and Twitter presence and has grown the Twitter fanbase to over 1200 in the space of 3 months.

What to bring: a laptop, although it is fine to share one with another delegate. Pete will bring the workshop presentation on a CD which will be copied to everyone’s laptop. This will enable you to do elements of the workshop on your computer. If you don’t have a laptop, please still register your interest and hopefully we can pair you with another delegate. Also bring a pen and paper to make any further notes.

Cost: £45 for non members, £40.50 for members and friends of the Makers Guild in Wales

6th December 2010 – Press coverage for crafts with Angie Boyer, Editor of Craft & Design magazine and Nicola Wilkes, interior design journalist, Western Mail columnist and editor of Wales at Home.


This workshop is designed to give you an insight into what the press is looking for from craftspeople: how to generate press interest, the “dos and don’ts” of writing and sending out your press releases and the kind of photographs publications are looking for.

Angie Boyer is the founder and editor of craft & design magazine. She will be sharing the benefit of her experiences working with craftspeople for over 25 years and giving you an insight into how catch her eye for press coverage.

Nicola Wilkes is a respected interior design journalist, columnist for the Western Mail, editor of lifestyle magazine and directory, Wales at Home, and freelance PR consultant. She will present ‘The Infectious Effect: how to make the media work for you’ which will offer valuable tips and insights to creative crafts professionals on how get to market with the help of the media.

Cost: £20 for non members, £18 for members and friends of the Makers Guild in Wales

Coming next year:

• Writing skills: help and advice writing copy for your website, press releases, artists statements and CV’s

• Applying for and managing public art commissions

• Sales techniques

• Computer Aided Design

• Moving into retail: insights from various craftspeople who run galleries and shops alongside their craft practice

• Marketing and branding

• Teaching skills: an introduction to how to planning and running craft workshops; being a community artist or an artist in residence

• ..... and more!

To book, please phone Craft in the Bay on 02920 484 611

For queries please contact the programme coordinator, Laura Thomas, cpd@makersguildinwales.org.uk or on 02920 455 275