Monday, November 6, 2017

Threads: Wales / India artist exchange project

I'm very excited to announce that this Saturday I'll be travelling to India for the first time. I'm undertaking a residency at a wonderful artisan centre called Khamir near Bhuj in the Gujarat region. Alongside fellow textile artists, Louise Tucker and Julia Griffiths Jones, I'll be spending a fortnight visiting local artisans, undertaking some workshops and sharing my work with Khamir makers. Eleri Mills is also taking part in the project (although she travelled to India to undertake research earlier).  Next year, some artisans from Khamir will be coming to visit Wales, spending time in residence at Carmarthen School of Art (where Louise and I work), and Ruthin Craft Centre. We will all then be making a new body of work in response to this trip which will be exhibited in 2018 at Ruthin Craft Centre, The National Wool Museum and somewhere in India as well. This project is managed by Fieldwork Culture LLP, and funded by Wales Arts International, Arts Council of Wales and British Council Wales. Wales.  I hope to be able to make regular blog and social media postings about my time in India, so please do look out for forthcoming news. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

A Darker Thread, Oriel Myrddin Gallery until 21st October 2017

I am delighted to announce that my latest curation project for Oriel Myrddin Gallery in Carmarthen, Wales is now open. Twelve artists are showcased and I'm honoured to have worked once again with photographer Toril Brancher and designer Heidi Baker to create a wonderful accompanying publication. Huge thank you as well to the inspirational Angela Maddock for her outstanding opening talk and publication essay.


L-R Alana Tyson, Llio James, Jayne Pierson, Philippa Lawrence

L-R Rhiannon Williams, Sally-Ann Parker, Laura Thomas

L-R Laura Thomas, Eleri Mills, Ruth Harries

Foreground: Ruth Harries
Background (on wall) L-R: Rozanne Hawksley, Philippa Lawrence, Spike Dennis

Foreground: Jayne Pierson

Ruth Harries (background), Laura Thomas (foreground)

L-R Indre Eugenija Dunn, Rozanne Hawksley, Rhiannon Williams, Sally-Ann Parker

Sally-Ann Parker

L-R: Eleri Mills, Ruth Harries, Jayne Pierson, Spike Dennis

Below is the exhibition essay, outlining the curatorial concept for the exhibition:

The curatorial concept for this exhibition evolved instinctively: it felt right in these times of political upheaval and disquieting daily news stories. Whilst I can’t help but feel affected by the darker tone of the times, in counterbalance, I also try to seek out and celebrate examples of hope, optimism, kindness and peace. I hope this exhibition reflects on these oftentimes complicated responses to our contemporary experience.

It is also intended to highlight some of the outstanding work being made through the medium of thread and cloth, by artists living in or connected to Wales. No doubt this is informed in some part by our rich cultural heritage of making both utilitarian and decorative textiles to furnish our living spaces and envelope our bodies from birth to death.   

I selected work that demonstrated visual poetic eloquence, a mastery of medium and an absolute sensitivity to making and materials.  I wanted work that would stop you in your tracks: to meet your gaze head-on, to challenge you, question you, but also offer comfort, reflection and embrace.  Some of the work has a punk confrontational self-confidence, others, a gentle yet searing resilience.

There are broad-ranging themes informing the work: gender politics, feminism, empowerment, memory, language, loss.  There are references to landscape, both internal and external and how we occupy it, or how it occupies us.  The recurring circle motif present in several of the artworks was possibly subconsciously sought out, due to its universal symbolism of eternity, the infinite, wholeness, totality, self and the cycle of life.  Its gentle shape has no awkward sharp corners; it flows infinitely, focuses the eye, draws us in, then acts as a full-stop to make us, pause and draw breath.

Some of these curious, provocative, intense, fragile works might feel comfortably familiar through their materiality or typically ‘Welsh’ colour palette of black, ecru and red; much hopefully, does not. There is a purposeful range of hard and soft materials across the exhibits to represent a juxtaposition of comfort and discomfort.  Sometimes a textile can soothe, but sometimes it cannot.

To conclude, I must extend grateful thanks to all at Oriel Myrddin, firstly for the invitation to curate this exhibition and secondly for all their tireless support throughout the project.  Also, many thanks to Angela Maddock for her eloquent and poignant essay, Toril Brancher for her exquisite photography and Heidi Baker for her considered design of the exhibition publication.  Lastly, I’m hugely grateful to all the artists for so willingly and generously contributing work to this exhibition.

Eleri Mills

Indre Eugenija Dunn

Jayne Pierson in collaboration with Neale Howells

Laura Thomas

Laura Thomas

Llio James

Philippa Lawrence

Rhiannon Williams

Rozanne Hawksley

Ruth Harries

Sally-Ann Parker

Spike Dennis

Thursday, July 6, 2017

EXTREME WEAVING for The BIG DRAW, The National Wool Museum, Drefach Felindre, 7th October 2017

Big Draw Living Lines - EXTREME WEAVING!

7 October 10am – 3pm National Wool Museum, Drefach Felindre, SA44 5UP

The Big Draw promotes the universal language of drawing as a tool for learning, expression and invention. For as long as we’ve been able to draw we’ve been depicting motion: from prehistoric cave paintings of charging bison through magic lanterns and shadow puppets to stop-motion, digital technology and social media GIF’s.

For the Big Draw 2017 Oriel Myrddin and The National Wool Museum will be inviting people to join in creating a collaborative giant woven work of art with myself. Weather permitting , the plan is to weave around the big tenterhook frame that is outside the Museum.  If too wet, we'll be doing large scale in-situ weaving in the Long Gallery inside the Museum instead. Wherever it may be, this wild weaving extravaganza will be filmed and become a time lapse film which will be shown at Oriel Myrddin Gallery.

CALL OUT FOR HELP! Weaver / textile / fashion friends - I'm going to need a LOT of material to make this giant woven textile.  The plan is for this to be mostly made from recycled and re-purposed materials including loom waste.  If you have any warp 'thrums' (the last bit of warp that can't be woven) would you be willing to donate them to the project?  The palette is going to be typically Welsh - grey, black, red and white/ecru/undyed. I'd also be interested in any waste natural fabrics that are in this colour palette that I could cut into strips to weave with.  If you can help - please drop me a line and I can send you my postal address info at laurathomas dot co dot uk HUGE THANK YOU!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Darker Thread, 15th July - 21st Oct 2017

I'm delighted to share with you my latest curation project, A Darker Thread, which opens at Oriel Myrddin Gallery, Carmarthen on the 15th July at 2pm.  You are warmly invited to join us when the exhibition will be opened by the noted artist and academic Angela Maddock.

About the exhibition:

A Darker Thread 

Wales has a much celebrated tradition of creating both utilitarian and decorative textiles of distinctive design.  From power-loomed blankets to hand stitched quilts, textiles are a key part of Welsh visual culture and history.

Whilst ‘A Darker Thread’ takes this heritage as its starting point, twelve contemporary artists, designers and makers have been invited to exhibit work which subverts these expectations. 

Exhibitors have been selected for their focus on the curious, the provocative, the humorous, or the unpredictable. Some work might still feel comfortably familiar through its materiality or typically ‘Welsh’ colour palette of black, ecru and red; much hopefully, does not.

The work all consciously or subconsciously references and questions Welsh culture or sense of place: its language, folk tales, music, landscape, industrial past or contemporary subcultures. A variety of making processes are exemplified, but all make use of thread in some form.  

To compliment the exhibition, the gallery shop featured maker is Stephen Hughes who is showcasing his new collection of luxurious digitally printed scarves.

There is also a rich programme of events running alongside the exhibition, which you can see detailed below:

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Forthcoming exhibition: MAKE 18th Feb - 23 April 2017, Ruthin Craft Centre

18 February – 23 April 2017
For the past two years the Paul Hamlyn Foundation has funded Ruthin Craft Centre’s What is Craft? project. The project looked at many aspects of Craft examining different ideas and approaches to making through Materials, Decoration, Process and Function. This engaged our audience in a creative dialogue.
This exhibition, of the work of over fifty applied artists, continues the conversation of what it is to MAKE.
Jane Adam, Marthe Armitage, Gordon Baldwin, Nancy Baldwin, Jo Barker, Lise Bech, Michael Brennand-Wood, Sara Brennan, Adam Buick, Edmond Byrne, Sue Christian, Mandy Coates, Sebastian Cox, Claire Curneen, Luke Eastop, Forest & Found, Gill Galloway-Whitehead, Margit Hart, Suzanne Hodgson, Catrin Howell, Emma Jeffs, Simeon Jones, Madoline Keeler, Walter Keeler, Eleanor Lakelin, Richard La Trobe-Bateman, Beth Legg, Claudia Lis, Philip Lourie, Fritz Maierhofer, Ptolemy Mann, Lindean Mill, Alison Morton, Mourne Textiles, Nick Ozanne, Jim Partridge & Liz Walmsley, Ronald Pennell, Betty Pennell, Angus Ross, Tracey Rowledge, Michael Ruh, Jono Smart, St. Jude’s, Dionne Swift, Angharad Thomas, Laura Thomas, Adi Toch, Matthew Tomalin, Louise Tucker, Wallace Sewell, Winter & Kurth.