Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Off the loom: woven explorations and applications in art, science & industry, Stroud International Textile Festival, Sunday 8th May, 2011, 11-4.30pm

I’m delighted to announce that I am hosting a forthcoming day of talks as part of the 2011 Stroud International Textile Festival, that will celebrate some of the innovative applications and aesthetic explorations in contemporary weave practice.

With a respectful nod to tradition, the invited speakers are all forging new ground within the fashion, science, furnishings and art spheres taking weave into dynamic new arenas. From e-textiles to art for architectural spaces, each speaker is a pioneer in their discipline and is taking their expertise into unexpected arenas.


Laura Thomas, artist, curator and design consultant. Well known for her trademark encapsulation of delicate textile structures in acrylic resin, recent significant commissions include a Museumaker project to design a triptych window for The Beaney Museum and Art Gallery in Canterbury and a vessel presented to Cricket Australia from the Welsh Assembly Government to commemorate the Ashes being played in Cardiff in 2009. A recipient of a Creative Wales Ambassador Award from the Arts Council of Wales, Laura is currently developing new bodies of work in residence at the Ruthin Craft Centre.

Asha Peta Thompson, is a founding partner of Intelligent Textiles Ltd (ITL)along with Stan Swallow. Asha is an expert in woven technical textiles, specifically electronically active ‘e-textiles’. The ITL patented processes have been applied to many products and principles from heated bedding to iPod connected garments. Recent press coverage has focused on their partnering with the Ministry of Defence to develop embedded technical functionality into military clothing, predominantly as a replacement for conventional cables in soldier systems.

Kirsty McDougall, is one half of Dashing Tweeds, Britain’s latest tweed textile company. Opening up a contemporary arena for a classic quality fabric, Dashing Tweeds has created a range of tweeds for the 21st century, designed by photographer Guy Hills and weaver Kirsty McDougall. Quirky colour palettes, inventive yarn combinations and sophisticated tactile qualities have taken the traditional tweed into uncharted territory, winning them fans across the fashion world. Of particular note is their LumaTwill™ range which is a fusion of technical sportswear with elegant tweed cloth. Light reflective yarns punctuate the woollen checks, so when worn at night it illuminates as light hits the fabric.

Melissa French, artist, designer and coordinator of the Puff & Flock textile collective. Melissa’s practice sees her span the commercial and conceptual sphere. A graduate of the renowned MA Textile Futures at Central St Martins, Melissa has garnered a reputation for work that questions the expected application of woven textiles. Her Urban Upholstery concept takes textiles beyond decoration. This time-based work integrates various metals in her woven fabrics to enable them to endure time and weather whist evolving through natural rusting or oxidising. Inspired by graffiti, urban guerrilla movements and traditional interior textiles and design, Melissa wants to bring an element of beauty, pattern, design and ultimately surprise to the urban landscape.

Ptolemy Mann, artist and architectural colour consultant. Renowned for her impeccable eye for colour, Ptolemy produces striking ikat dyed woven artworks for corporate, commercial and domestic spaces, which have been exhibited and specified all over the world. Working with a UK manufacturer, she has also recently added limited edition mill woven cloth to her repertoire, suitable for cushions, drapes and other applications. Ptolemy is also in demand as an architectural colour consultant, bringing vibrant palette’s to the usually colour-shy world of external facades, as well as devising internal colour schemes for healthcare environments to aid way finding and psychological well being.

Tickets are available from the Stroud International Textiles website:

Cost: £40/£35 (Students/Friends of SIT)

£5.00 for light lunch

There are limited tickets available particularly at the concessionary rate. The last weave symposium I was involved in (warp+weft at the National Wool Museum) ended up with a waiting list of disappointed people, please do book asap!

I look forward to seeing you there!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

warp+weft, Smith's Row, Bury St Edmunds, 12.3.11 - 31.4.11

Just a quick message to let you know that the warp+weft exhibition continues on its tour this month. It opens at Smith's Row in Bury St Edmunds on the 12th March, continuing until the 31st April. I'm really delighted that the gallery has also got the sister exhibition warp+weft: from handloom to production that was previously on show at the National Wool Museum. So for the first and only time you'll see everything together in one very beautiful gallery space.

They have also borrowed an extraordinary Peter Collingwood artwork from the Crafts Study Centre, which was originally on display the British Embassy in Brussels.

Another date for your diary at Smith's Row:

The Legacy of Peter Collingwood
20th April 7.00pm – | £5 (£3 members & students)

Jason Collingwood is a weaver and teacher of international acclaim. Linda Theophilus is a curator, artist and co-author of Peter Collingwood:Master Weaver. Join them in this inspiring discussion and hear Linda ask Jason about the life and legacy of his father and how it informs his own established weaving practice.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Resonant Colour, Llantarnam Grange, Cwmbran 19th March - 7th May 2011

Some images from my latest curation project......

Loose Threads: from black to pink, Laura Thomas
Photo: Toril Brancher

Painted warp detail of sample, Laura Thomas
Photo: Toril Brancher

Nicholas Rena
Photo: Toril Brancher

Ann Sutton
Photo: Toril Brancher

Heike Brachlow
Photo: Toril Brancher
Kate Blee
Photo: Toril Brancher

Sara Moorhouse
Photo: Toril Brancher

This exhibition entitled 'Resonant Colour' is the first of a series of 'Makers to Curators' exhibitions instigated  by Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre in Cwmbran, generously supported by the Arts Council of Wales.

Alongside my work, I have had the great pleasure of selecting work from five makers whom I admire greatly. It goes without saying that this was another dream project to select work that I find hypnotically beautiful and intellectually stimulating..... many thanks to Nicholas Rena, Heike Brachlow, Sara Moorhouse, Ann Sutton and Kate Blee for kindly agreeing to be part of this exhibition.

The connecting thread is the use of colour. It is often assumed that applied artists are primarily concerned with the making process and practical function of their work, over and above conceptual and intellectual endeavours. However, here all the exhibited work sees these factors on equal footing. Colour is not a mere decorative afterthought, but is fundamental: it is at the core.

There is an accompanying publication with wonderful essays by Royden Hunt and Sara Moorhouse. Photographs are by Toril Brancher and design by Icon Creative Design. Thank you too to the wonderful team at Llantarnam Grange for this opportunity and their support.

The exhibition opening is on the 18th March, 5 - 8.30pm - please do come along if you're in the area. Hope to see you there!

Museumaker commission for The Beaney, Canterbury

During December + January, I was busily completing my Museumaker commission for The Beaney Art Gallery and Museum in Canterbury.  After a couple of shifts in focus from my original proposal, it was decided that I would create some 'Loose Threads' windows: an interpretation of my acrylic sculptures into laminated glass. The windows are just over 2 metres in height, and the widest centre panel is 86cm. Huge thanks to Rodney at Innovative Glass Products for his brilliant help in making the windows.

The Museum is currently closed for redevelopment, due to reopen to great fanfare in the summer of 2012. The windows have now been put in storage and are due to be installed in the Autumn, so for the time being I can just share with you these photos of the windows being made.

The Beaney Museum and Art Gallery, Canterbury

The new extension designed by John Miller and Sidell Gibson Architects

The window, marking the juncture between the old and the new building

The selected design in gradating reds to orange

One of the finished panels in the Innovative Glass Products workshop

Detail of the cotton, linen and silk threads laminated in toughened low iron glass

Detail of the cotton, linen and silk threads laminated in toughened low iron glass

Two of the panels side by side in the Innovative Glass Products workshop

The centre panel and lunette