Friday, 13 December 2013
Monday, 9 December 2013
Tuesday, 3 December 2013
I also liked ‘Perito Moreno’ by Lieve Dekeyser. This was a series of Plexiglas panels digitally printed with photographs of bobbin lace and again it referenced the lightness and transparency of lace and produced beautiful shadows of the images. Brigitte Amarger had also used images of lace, this time on radiographic film, to produce her ‘Dentelles a l’ame’ which formed an impressive installation. Another interesting installation was ‘Lace tracks’ by Hannah White which included a video and images of reflective lace on sportswear, showing lace in a decorative and functional role. This is just a sample of the pieces on show as the exhibition includes the work of 23 artists, so if you want to see it for yourself go to Calais before it ends on 18 May.
Thursday, 28 November 2013
Monday, 25 November 2013
It was fascinating to see the Leavers lace machines working at Calais Lace Museum. I finally learnt how machine lace was made. As well as the working machines, there were several videos of the various processes and people involved in making a piece of machine lace, including the designer, draftsman, jacquard card cutter, bobbin winder, twist hand, lace cutter and embellisher. I found the videos very interesting as the whole process was brought to life by seeing and hearing the various workers describing their jobs and showing how the different tools are used. Hearing the big machines working, seeing the jacquard cards clattering round and realising how quickly large widths of lace are produced was amazing. As the mechanic who keeps the machines working said in his video ‘The people who designed these machines were geniuses. We still use the old machines because the system they use cannot be improved’.
Wednesday, 20 November 2013
Calais Lace Museum is beautifully displayed. Large portraits of people wearing lace are overlaid on lace like panels and these hang between cabinets containing historical lace. The cabinets are like tables with glass above and below so the lace in them casts a lovely shadow on the floor beneath. The exhibition focuses on lace in fashion but is also keen to show how the lace was made and there are many examples of pieces under construction and diagrams showing how both bobbin and needle lace are made. At the end of the gallery is a section on machine laces including several manufacturers’ pattern books and examples of design work which I found very interesting.
Friday, 15 November 2013
Calais Lace Museum yesterday. The building is an old lace factory, the exterior of which has been clad with glass panels that reference the Jacquard cards used to make machine lace. The museum has been thoughtfully laid out and I learnt a lot from my visit. There is an exhibition of handmade lace, including some portraits and examples of fine lace and a separate a display of historical lace fashion. There is a large area explaining how machine lace was made and the various processes involved including some working lace machines with demonstrations every hour. I finally learnt how machine lace is made from the demonstrations, videos and artefacts on display. There is also an excellent resources centre with books and magazines and there were also some manufacturers’ sample books available for handling (with the gloves provided). Contemporary lace is not overlooked either. The Lace Effects 1 exhibition is currently running, there is an exhibition of Iris van Herpen’s catwalk collection and the shop had some interesting modern lace for sale. The museum is definitely worth visiting if you are interested in any aspect of lace. I’ll blog about the various exhibitions separately .
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
Tuesday, 5 November 2013
Wednesday, 30 October 2013
Friday, 25 October 2013
Monday, 21 October 2013
Friday, 18 October 2013
Friday, 11 October 2013
Thursday, 3 October 2013
Caroline Bartlett uses hand stitching in suspended embroidery frames to emphasise the stillness and emptiness of the once noisy spinning room. At the heart of each is a hard, fixed porcelain circle bearing the imprint of a textile fragment suggesting lost memories and traces. Hilary Bower’s work, comprising large grey hanging sacks also captures the scale of the building and the unnatural silence of this room. They appear as silent witnesses, waiting to be reanimated.
Thursday, 26 September 2013
Friday, 20 September 2013
In the foyer was Lise Bjorne-Linnert’s wall of name tags each one representing a woman who has disappeared and is presumed murdered in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. I first saw these name tapes and took part in the Desconocida exhibition in Epsom and it is sad to see the number of names has increased since then. Several other artists used stitching in their work to represent these women’s issues including Shadi Ghadiran who showed an image of a woman sewing a spider’s web in front of a latticed window to question how women comply with their own imprisonment in the home. Reena Saini Kallat showed a series of images of women knitting letters in red yarn which spelled out the phrase ‘Our bodies are moulded rivers’ a quote from the German philosopher Novalis. It was interesting that none of these works actually exhibited the textiles only images of them. I felt Lise’s work was stronger because of the physical presence of the textiles.
Other powerful images included those of Asoo Khanmohammadi who displayed photographs of the kitchens of Iranian suicide victims most of whom are young married women aged 15 to 34 years. These images of ordered domesticity were titled Ilam (the place where the photos were taken) and Absence. She also exhibited a photograph entitled Bride which showed a woman dressed for a wedding but wrapped in bubblewrap to consider the commodification of women. Another interesting series of photographs were those in a triptych by Mandana Moghaddam showing a pregnant woman lying in a room with water pooling on the floor around her. The water gradually rose around her and eventually submerged her indicating the overwhelming experience of childbirth. This was a moving exhibition which deserved to be seen by more people.
Tuesday, 17 September 2013
Another of my favourites was Vento di mare woven by Patrizia Casini incorporating double cloth in which sequins were trapped to give the impression of seafoam. She also had a companion piece to this one entitled Lingue di fuoco in which her subtle use of colours and beads beautifully depicts the tongues of fire.
Sunday, 15 September 2013
Cloth and memory exhibition on Friday, having been away when the private view was held. I chose Friday because there was a seminar about the theme of memories and cloth and a tour round the exhibition with Lesley Millar, the curator. The seminar was held in the room that had housed my installation last year so it was full of cloth memories for me and I also found a small red thread that I’d left in a corner as part of a mini-installation. Some of my counting marks also remained on the walls and over tea one of the other delegates (having realised I was the culprit!) said she’d been puzzling over them wondering if they had been left by the original spinners and weavers. The seminar began with Lesley asking Celia Pym about her work which involves darning into sweaters she has hand knitted. Celia explained that his process of replacing and putting back together echoed the initial feelings she had experienced on her site visit to the Spinning Room at Salts Mill. The discussion then progressed to other projects Celia has worked on and her admission that she likes to wear other people’s clothing. This led to reminiscences from the other participants about occasions when they had worn other people’s clothes and the reasons for doing so. The discussion then extended to types of cloth and the feelings and memories they engendered for the participants.
Thursday, 12 September 2013
I’ll post pictures of some of my favourite contemporary fans another time - and of course my own silk paper one.
Tuesday, 10 September 2013
Wednesday, 4 September 2013
Friday, 30 August 2013
Oriel Davies Gallery in Newtown, Powys. Apart from my curtain with pins and needles, marking the passage of time in the same way as a prisoner, there are lots of other quirky and fascinating exhibits. One of my favourites is Janet Farahar’s ‘His/Hers: is He/Are They?’ Two cross stitched panels of the words His and Hers, often seen on guest towels, with the H of His and the rs of Hers smudged so they read ‘is He’. I like the fact this has so many possible meanings: is he faithful; is he gay; is he who he seems? There are many more clever ideas in this fascinating show. It runs until 4 September so catch it if you can.
Monday, 26 August 2013
Wednesday, 14 August 2013
The lace edging on this handkerchief, held by the Infant Isabella Clara Eugenia, Archduchess of Austria, reminded me of the lace I recently saw in Bologna. This painting by Frans Porbus the Younger was shown in the In fine style exhibition and dates from the end of the 16th century – the same time as the lace. It is very accurately painted and shows how valuable lace was to be included in such a portrait.
Friday, 9 August 2013
Monday, 29 July 2013
The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, is The art of Tudor and Stuart fashion. As that suggests, there is plenty of magnificent art depicting the textiles and lace of the fashions of the period, but also some artefacts which allow you to examine the textiles first hand. Each painting is so detailed that you could spend hours examining each one and many of the costumes are painted in such detail that you could use them to draw up a pattern for the lace or embroidery. In the early part of this period, textiles and accessories indicated status and gave other subtle clues to the sitter’s religion, social position and lineage, and this is why they were painted so exactly. Towards the end of the period, ideas had changed and the textiles are painted in a more impressionistic manner. This is a fabulous exhibition for anyone interested in the fashions of this time; there is plenty to see, you can take your own photos, there is a multi media guide, and an excellent book to accompany it - which I’m just about to start reading. It’s open until 6 October 2013.
Tuesday, 23 July 2013
Crafts Study Centre – it’s an interesting mix of textiles and ceramics from the UCA Farnham collections, curated by Linda Brassington and Hannah Facey. The textile collection was begun by Ella McLeod, who founded the textile course at the Farnham School of Art in 1949. The aim from the start was to form a working collection that could be used for teaching students techniques and design and to inspire them. One of the most interesting exhibits was a series of letters from Ella McLeod to Miss E Stewart MBE of the Highland Home Industries negotiating the purchase of a fine 2 ply knitted shawl. Miss Stewart sent a selection of shawls of different qualities for the students to examine and the college then bought one and returned the others. I was struck by the generosity of Miss Stewart in sending six shawls for the students to handle and examine knowing that the college would only buy one of them.
Friday, 19 July 2013
Monday, 15 July 2013
We had a good response to ‘The fabric of memory’ exhibition at the Crypt Gallery, St Pancras Church, last week with about 30 visitors a day; a mixture of textile people, artists, tourists and regular visitors to the crypt and church. The site is very sympathetic to textiles and the venue drew our work together very successfully. As well as the alcoves that framed each section of my work (see Escaping above), I also used the structure of the building to highlight the gradual return of memories and how they flood back using the metaphor of cloth and these tunnel like vents to the outside (see a detail of Exuding below).
Friday, 12 July 2013
The exhibition runs until 14 July, from 11 am to 6 pm every day except Sunday when it closes at 4 pm so there is still plenty of time to come and visit.
Tuesday, 9 July 2013
We set up ‘The fabric of memory’ exhibition at the Crypt Gallery, St Pancras Church, Euston Road, London yesterday – it was pleasantly cool in the crypt despite the summer heat outside. I’ve set up three installations each with a photographic image and associate fabric – this one shows ‘Enlarging’ with an oversized ninepin lace edging escaping from the nail which is impaling it in the image. The theme for all my three installations is how memories overwhelm their site of containment. The other people exhibiting are Gail Baxter whose work considers absences and voids and Beverly Ayling-Smith who reflects on mourning and melancholy. The exhibition opens tomorrow (10 July) and runs until 14 July, it’s open from 11 am to 6 pm every day except Sunday when it closes at 4 pm.
Saturday, 6 July 2013
Tuesday, 2 July 2013
Monday, 24 June 2013
Wellcome Collection celebrates the work of 46 self-taught artists living and working in social welfare facilities in Japan. Souzou means both creation and imagination in Japanese. I was most interested in the textile art but was also fascinated by some of the paintings. Noriko Tanaka’s ordered running stitches showed life and movement as did Toyo Hagino’s sewn geometrical shapes, while Yumiko Kawai’s three-dimensional breast-like shapes were intricate constructions. Other textile artists included Satoshi Morita who uses other people’s discarded thread ends to embellish blankets and Norie Shukumatani who couches threads to produce stylized images. As well as the textiles I found Norimitsu Kokubo’s fictional cityscapes fascinating. Each street and building is carefully rendered like a three-dimensional map and because they are so detailed I was amazed to find that the cities are fictional and not places that he has visited. One vast, densely worked, cityscape he is currently drawing is about 2 m high and will be 10 m long when it is finished. I also found Kenichi Yamazaki’s engineering drawings, incorporating points made by a compass, interesting, probably because they reminded me of lace prickings. Shingo Ikeda’s notebooks full of densely written figures and notes about subway journeys probably best summed up the art in the exhibition, it was all compulsive, dense and repetitive, and slightly uncomfortable because of that, but nevertheless fascinatingly beautiful.
Wednesday, 19 June 2013
Oriel Davies Gallery for the ‘Be our guest’ exhibition today. The exhibition is celebrating the bed and breakfast in many and various quirky ways. I’m showing a curtain entitled ‘Wish you were here’ pierced with a row of pins and needles in the tally pattern of counting units of five. Many people who use B&Bs are workers away from home and the tally marks on the curtain suggest that they are counting the days until they can return home. This misuse of pins also suggests the sharpness and pain of separation and subverts the cosy homeliness of the B&B. There are about thirty exhibitors and from the illustrations in the invitation there seem to be some very entertaining pieces. The exhibition opens on 29 June and ends on 4 September.
Thursday, 13 June 2013
Electric Egg. They filmed me making lace, designing a pattern, winding bobbins, pricking a pattern and also interviewed me. They have now combined input from the five of us to produce a response to the theme of the exhibition and you can see it on Youtube or Vimeo. It gives a great idea of how craftspeople go about their work and shows how we all use maths in our practice and its fun working out whose hands you're seeing and whose voice you're hearing at any one time. The five case studies are Gail Baxter, David Gates, Stella Harding, Margo Selby, Carol Quarini. The film will be shown as part of the ‘Beauty is the first test’ exhibition which is at the National Centre for Craft & Design at Sleaford in Lincolnshire, until 30 June, it then tours to the Bilston Craft Gallery, Wolverhampton, from 7 September to 2 November, and will then be shown at the Platform Gallery, Clitheroe, from 16 January to 19 April 2014.
Wednesday, 12 June 2013
Saturday, 8 June 2013
lace collection is extensive, both in the number of items and its range. The bulk of the collection was made by Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth throughout the twentieth century and many of the pieces have her notes attached to them. Because Miss Rachel was a collector she obviously tried to find samples of all types of lace, so the collection is wide ranging and includes bobbin and needle lace as well as tambour and needle run laces. At the recent Lace exploration day we were shown lace from the sixteenth century through to the twentieth. Many of the pieces are exquisite including some lovely point de gaze, and a beautiful Duchesse flounce and lace dress panel, but some of the more simple samples are interesting for the techniques they show. It is a wonderful collection and it was lovely to have the chance to see so many interesting pieces.