Exhibition: The Darker Thread // Edefyn Tywyllach

A Darker Thread // Edefyn Tywyllach

Oriel Myrddin Gallery

15 July – 21 October 2017

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 challenging, confrontational or unpredictable approach to making thoroughly contemporary work which confidently cross boundaries of art, design and craft.  A variety of making processes are exemplified, but all make use of thread in some form.

The curious, provocative, intense, fragile works explore broad-ranging themes of empowerment, loss, language, internal landscapes, memory and gender to name but a few.  Some work might still feel comfortably familiar through its materiality or typically ‘Welsh’ colour palette of black, ecru and red; much hopefully, does not.

Exhibitors: Alana Tyson, Eleri Mills, Indre Dunn, Jayne Pierson in collaboration with Neale Howells, Laura Thomas, Llio James, Philippa Lawrence, Rhiannon Williams, Rozanne Hawksley, Ruth Harries, Sally-Ann Parker and Spike Dennis.

Curated by weaver, Laura Thomas: who states “ 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.”

In her catalogue essay for the exhibition, Angela Maddock writes: “It’s tempting to see textiles – those things made of threads knitted and woven together – as benevolent, soft and giving: the comfort of a blanket in sickness, the warmth that a good pair of socks delivers to winter chilled feet. But where they have the capacity to hold us together, to maintain our dignity and bring us from nature into culture, they also threaten to undo us and to reveal our shame….we are, all of us, cloth bodies held together by threads.”

A Darker Thread – Programme of events

Saturday 15 July 2pm: Exhibition opening by lecturer and artist, Angela Maddock

Saturday 23 July 11am – 1pm: Sketchbook Walk with Suzi Park at the National Wool Museum, Drefach Felindre – free, open to all, no need to book

Friday 18 August 7 – 8pm: The Yoruba Blues – The art of indigo dyeing in Nigeria – talk with textile artist Lucille Junkere – free, open to all, no need to book

Saturday 19 Awst 10:30am – 4pm: Pattern making with indigo inspired by Nigerian resist textiles known as Àdíre – workshop with textile artist Lucille Junkere – age 16+, booking essential: £25

Saturday 9 September 11am – 1pm: Sketchbook Walk with Julia Griffiths Jones at The Quilt Centre, Lampeter Town Hall, SA48 7BB – free, open to all, no need to book

Saturday 9 September 3pm: A Darker Thread: Curator’s Talk – with Laura Thomas – free, open to all, no need to book

Saturday 23 September 11am: Weaving Wales – talk with author of Woollen Mills of Wales, a new book by Branwen Davies – free, open to all, no need to book

Saturday 7 October 10am – 4pm: The Big Draw: Extreme Weaving – with Laura Thomas at the National Woollen Museum, Drefach Felindre – free, open to all, no need to book

Saturday 7 October 11am: A Well Spun Yarn: Tales of ThreadWise Thinking – artist talk with Angela Maddock – free, open to all, no need to book

Saturday 7 October 1 – 4pm: Filling Holes: A workshop on visible mending with thread – workshop with Angela Maddock – age 16+, booking essential: £25

Featured Maker: Stephen Hughes
The Back Wall Series: Eleri Mills
8 July – 21 October 2017 – in the gallery shop
All work is for sale – Collectorplan interest free credit scheme is available

A Darker Thread Showcase @ Mission Gallery
27 June – 6 August 2017
Spike Dennis & Rhiannon Williams
Showcase of selected artists from: A Darker Thread
Mission Gallery, Gloucester Place, Swansea SA1 1TY

Images and text: Laura and Llio’s images are courtesy of Oriel Myrddin Gallery, photographer: Toril Brancher

Spike’s image is courtesy of the artist.

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