Wednesday 28 January 2015

Farnham textiles 1949-2015

I enjoyed this exhibition at the Craft Study Centre (CSC) celebrating 66 years of textiles at what is now the University for the Creative Arts Farnham. It includes selected student work as well as historical and contemporary pieces from the collections of the Textile Department and the CSC. The Department is a centre of excellence for the teaching of weaving and printing, but inevitably I was attracted to the lace and the lace like. I was particularly taken by this lovely Shetland lace ring shawl – so fine you can thread it through a wedding ring. I was impressed by the fine knitting and by the fact that the wool was hand spun. How can anyone consistently spin wool that fine – amazing.

Friday 23 January 2015

Writing about lace

I’ve been busy recently writing about lace for different publications. Today I’m finishing an article for Workbox magazine on my subversive stitching, in which I talk about my ‘get off me’ mat (detail above), my ‘whispering series’ of net curtains and a couple of other projects. Last week was a complete contrast, as I was getting a series of articles, including one of my own, ready for, what I hope will be a special issue of The journal of modern craft about lace. The papers for that issue are based on the successful lace conference that Gail Baxter and I organised last year at Farnham. Between all of that I’m also trying to get on with writing up my thesis. It’s a challenge having to write for different audiences, deciding what they will be interested in and writing about the same pieces of work but from different angles, but also brings new insights to the work.


Friday 16 January 2015

Unpacking lace

My work has been in three exhibitions which all ended just before Christmas and the pieces are now being returned to me. It’s nice to see them all again but unpacking them, checking them and then putting them away takes time. However, I’m enjoying the gifts that have been sent with them. Jane Austen’s house has sent me some lovely postcards of my veil ‘Marriage lines’. I’ve received a magnificent catalogue from the School of lace and embroidery at Valtopina, which not only has beautiful images of all the contemporary work in the exhibition but also fabulous photos of antique lace and lots of interesting written contributions, which I will enjoy translating. The catalogue from the Lace effects 2 exhibition at Calais Museum is also a lovely reminder of the exhibition. I’m always impressed how photographers manage to take such evocative photos of lace, I guess the reason is that they are looking at the work as an art object and choosing a section that represents the whole rather than trying to capture the entire piece in one shot. I shall enjoy browsing their handiwork and may be learn something.

Thursday 8 January 2015

Ahead of the curve: new china from China

This excellent exhibition at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery showcases contemporary ceramics and glass from Chinese artists. I particularly liked Zhang Jingjing’s ‘Spring up series’ (seen on the cover of the catalogue) which are inspired by the curves of moving water and reminded me of Mobius strips. Shelley Xue’s glass angels wings as part of the ‘Gather series’ were also enchanting (seen on the back wall in the image of the exhibition). Wang Qin’s minimalist glass gardens invited contemplation as befits their Buddhist inspiration. Wang Liya’s ceramic pieces cleverly linked the traditional and the contemporary. He uses traditional decoration on ceramic forms representing modern cleaning and beauty products in one series, and in another piece re-thinks traditional blue and white landscape painting on plates by using 27 plates joined together as one canvas. Peng Zanbin’s ‘Updated antiquities’ are also decorated with landscapes, this time, abstract ones, to make beautiful pieces that also link the traditional and the contemporary. These are just my first impressions. It was a fascinating exhibition which I’ll revisit – I’ve also bought the catalogue to find out more about it all!