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Shane Waltener: Weaving as Performance

Shane Waltener’s practice is rooted in ideas about ecology, sustainability and reuse. Taking the form of objects, installations and performances, Waltener draws inspiration from a range of craft practices ranging from textile and basketry weaving to needlecraft and ceramics. Weaving however is at the core of his work.

The artist shares anthropologist Tim Ingold’s view that making is a modality of weaving, not the reverse. Making anything, whether a building with bricks and mortar or verbal communication composing words into sentences is a weaving process. If art is a matter of organising chaos into pattern, the artist’s work is essentially that of a weaver.

Waltener champions the idea of weaving as an ‘embodied’ practice, one that engages the whole body. He is a member of Ambient Jam, an improvisation ensemble which explores movement and music with tactile sculptures. Working with them has led Waltener to use methods common to dance and movement practitioners, relying on improvisation as well as acquired routines and skills in order to develop work. The making process is then recorded as a performance score.

Exemplifying this way of working is his recent work with The Building Action Group (BAG) during his residency at Academie Minerva in Groningen, The Netherlands; the third and final project in a programme following Hella Jongerius and Anotonio José Guzman. In response to the earthquakes caused by gas mining in the province of Groningen, that led to more than 100 collapsed buildings, 400 more being condemned and some 100,000 people being displaced since the early 1990s, the artist proposed to weave a house entirely from locally sourced soil and plant material. Continue reading →

Online Exhibition: Complexity 2020 | Innovations in Weaving

Complexity 2020 | Innovations in Weaving

Complex Weavers is an international organisation of weavers dedicated to expanding the boundaries of handweaving. The group encourages members to develop their own creative style, and to inspire others through research, documentation, and innovative ideas.

Its members challenge their skills and imagination by sharing information and innovations with fellow weavers worldwide – both directly and through study groups, Seminars, Complex Weavers Journal, and biennial juried exhibition Complexity.

Every two years members are invited to submit new work for jurying, and the final selections are formally exhibited to the public as Complexity. This year the physical exhibition planned for Knoxville, Tennessee, has been replaced with a virtual exhibition, which has the added benefit of being accessible to a world-wide audience.

The show presents recent textile creations that bear within them some form of complexity, whether they have been woven on a dobby, treadle, table or Jacquard loom. All were made by hand and designed by humans, and all exhibit technical excellence. Complexity 2020 opens at midday on 29 June 2020. Continue reading →

Cockpit Arts: Festival of Making

Cockpit Arts will be hosting their annual Festival of Making event from Friday June 19thJune 21st 2020. Running over three days, this free virtual celebration will feature 65 events run by over 80 of London’s leading makers. The festival is taking place across Zoom, Instagram and Facebook.

Featuring a range of workshops, panel discussions, live demos and studio tours, all led by some of London’s most exciting makers. Three woven textile artist and designers will be delivering the following exciting events across the weekend:

Friday June 21st  at 7pm Nadia-Anne Ricketts, an award winning woven textile designer, invites you to ‘Tune In’ to a live virtual immersive, meditation sound bath experience, where you’ll be taken on an inward exploratory journey to the field of infinite creative possibilities, by playing the sound vibrations of the gong woven into the frequencies of crystal bowls

Saturday, 20th June at 12pm. Vicky Cowin invites you to virtually visit her Deptford studio. You will see  Vicky’s loom and hear about her experience as one of several Cockpit makers supported by a Clothworkers’ Company Award.

Sunday, 21st June at 12pm. Weaver Kendall Clarke, working from home in a temporary studio, will show you how you can discover local colour from your doorstep in this introduction to natural dyes from summer plants, weeds and leaves. Continue reading →

Online Exhibition: Material Textile | Modern British Female Designers

Material: Textile is an online exhibition of historically important and highly collectable textiles by some of the most important Modern female designers working in Britain. Brought together for the first time – and offered as an online and virtual exhibition by The Messums Wiltshire, with an accompanying catalogue and podcast – the exhibition highlights the relevance of these mid-century textiles and the vital role they played in the evolution of taste and culture. It offers us all a unique insight into the artistic vision and originality of these women.

Britain’s history is intricately woven together with the history of textiles and never more so than following the Second World War. This exhibition celebrates the bold vision of the leading lights of 1950s – 70s textile design and introduces their iconic work to new collectors.

Throughout the period the designs created by an inspired group of women artists including Lucienne Day, Marian Mahler, Jacqueline Groag, and later Barbara Brown and many more, brought modern and contemporary art into the home, making it quite literally a part of the furniture.

Many of the textiles on show – produced by Heals, David Whitehead and Hull Traders – sit within collections including The V&A and The Whitworth. They have also featured in exhibitions worldwide in recent years and in publications on the history of the evolution of textiles and the textile industry, and our catalogue includes essays by preeminent historians Lesley Jackson and Mary Schoeser.

Text & Images: Messums Wiltshire website. Top image: Calyx Blue, 1951, Lucienne Day. Bottom image: Mezzanine Yellow, 1958,Lucienne Day

Exhibition | Unbound: Visionary Women Collecting Textiles

Unbound: Visionary Women Collecting Textiles tells the story of seven pioneering women who went against all established norms to create some of the richest, most diverse and global public collections in the UK today.

Textiles and costume give us a beautiful and intensely human insight into our history. Unbound: Visionary Women Collecting Textiles celebrates seven women who saw beyond the purely functional, to reveal the extraordinary artistic, social and cultural importance of textiles. From the exquisite anthropological collections of traditional Balkan costume by Edith Durham, to the ground-breaking contemporary South Asian collection of Nima Poovaya-Smith, these women defied the ‘traditional’ concept of collecting – an activity still more often associated with men – and forged the way for textiles as crucial documents of social history as well as works of art in their own right.

This major collaborative project explores the innovative approaches of Edith Durham (1863 – 1944), Louisa Pesel (1870 – 1947), Olive Matthews (1887 – 1979), Enid Marx (1902 – 1998), Muriel Rose (1897 – 1986), Jennifer Harris (working 1982 – 2016 at the Whitworth, University of Manchester) and Nima Poovaya-Smith (Senior Keeper International Arts 1985 – 1998, Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford), and presents the objects from a previously unexplored perspective, that of the female collector.

Unbound: Visionary Women Collecting Textiles includes sculptural 18th-century costume, intricately embroidered Balkan towels, headdresses and waistcoats, the 1920s and 1930s block printed fabrics of Barron and Larcher, as well as contemporary works: Alice Kettle’s huge machine embroidered panels Three Caryatids (1989 – 91), Yinka Shonibare’s 2007 copy of the last slave ship The Wanderer reimagined with ‘African’ batik fabric sails and Sarbjit Natt’s 1996 geometric patterned silk sari. These sit alongside archival photographs, sketchbooks and letters, many of which have never been shown in public. The exhibition looks at how these collections continue to influence us today and asks why textiles still have to fight for their place amongst the more established visual arts.

Continue reading →

Profile: Alicia Rowbotham

Alicia Rowbotham, a recent graduate of the BA (Hons) Textile Design course at Central Saint Martins is a designer amongst a growing group of emerging talent exploring the relevance of fast fashion against the environmental destruction it ensues.

Working within the fashion industry as a stylist for a leading online fashion retailer throughout her degree gave her great insight into the destructive cycle of fast fashion and disposable products. This provoked her to create the collection ‘Waste not, want not’.  The collection aims to emphasise and encourage collaboration between manufacturers and designers to harness the potential of textile mill waste and utilise this resource for the benefit of both the industry and the designer.

The collection consists of handwoven body adornments and fashion accessories made entirely from textile industry waste including reams of beautiful waste silk, miscellaneous fibres and ‘deadstock’ materials from textile mills in the UK.

The collection was shortlisted for the LVMH x MAISON/0 Green Trail awards 2019 as well as The Mills Fabrica sustainability prize 2019. The collection was then shown as part of the London Design festival exhibition ‘Designing in Turbulent Times’ amongst other provoking Central Saint Martin’s graduate projects. Rowbotham finished 2019 being featured as ‘one to watch’ in the winter issue of textile publication, Cover magazine.

Starting the new year, pieces from the ‘Waste not, Want not’ collection were showcased as part of the innovation hub in the Sustainable Angles 9th Future Fabrics Expo; the world’s largest showcase of sustainable materials for the future fashion industry.

Rowbotham continues to pursue her fascination for a more circular fashion and textile industry through the aid of craft and design working in collaboration with Evan James Design to create interior accessories for the Surface Design Show 2020. Continue reading →

Exhibition: Ruth Holt

Ruth Holt is based in  a studio in Halesworth, Suffolk.  Since 2012 she has exhibited regularly with Suffolk Craft Society and other galleries including the Scottish Gallery and Shipyard Gallery in Wivenhoe.

Ruth designed and then commissioned Whitchurch Silk Mill, a traditional Victorian Mill,  to weave cloth for a limited edition of scarves for the Society of Apothecaries (a City Livery Company). Continue reading →

Exhibition: Over Under : Under Over

Over Under : Under Over
Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, Upper Galleries
Dates: 22nd December – January 30th 2020

Exploring Weave in its widest context. Presented by the Cordis Trust.

The Cordis Trust are presenting a special exhibition in conjunction with Visual Arts Scotland at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. Over Under : Under Over explores weave in its widest context through the work of six contemporary artists.

The work of Elizabeth Ashdown, Celia Pym, Dail Behennah, Sue Lawty, Sarah Jane Henderson and Sadhvi Jawa have been brought together in order to explore the wider applications of the woven form.

Cordis states:
‘Straying from their usual adherence to the traditional principles of woven Gobelin tapestry, this project aims to explore the wider applications of the woven form. Cordis have selected six artists whose work is constructed in a similar way to tapestry, or whose techniques resonate with the principles of weaving, whether that be through the interlacing of materials or of repetitive gesture’.

Text & Images: Elizabeth Ashdown/Cordis

Woven Jacquard Engineered Garment Research: Graysha Audren | Maike Jansen

Graduate Research Weaver Profiles: Graysha Audren | Maike Jansen

Seamless by Graysha Audren
Textile designer, Graysha Audren is a recent weave graduate of Central Saint Martins with a focus on sustainable innovation.  She believes good designers are problem solvers at heart with the power to invoke change, disrupt systems, and design out inefficiencies. The textile industry interweaves global politics, economics, trade, society, and business. The industry is a web of complicated supply chains where sustainability needs design-led systemic transparency. To change the entire system and to affect real change, Graysha focuses holistically on questioning inefficient and unsustainable systems, starting at the beginning: the making of the cloth.

Her current project, Seamless, exhibited at the London Design Festival in partnership with Maison/0 and LVMH, proposes a revolutionary way of seamlessly weaving clothing for material waste reduction and supply chain efficiency. Continue reading →

Exhibition: African Textiles from the Karun Thakar Collection

SOAS is hosting an exquisite exhibition at their Brunei Gallery of African Textiles from the Karun Thakar Collection,  arguably one of the world’s largest private collections of African textiles. Featuring high quality material, that highlights the sophistication of historical African textiles art and design, which have been little understood and appreciated, the exhibition will examine the links between west and north African textile traditions through a selection of important and rare examples of textile art, being shown here for the first time.

The exhibition  includes a selection of over 150 exhibits and textiles from west and north Africa including Morocco, Tunisia, Ivory Coast, Mali, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon.

Further details on the Karun Collection can be found by visiting http://www.karuncollection.com/ follow on Instagram @karuncollection and more of the African Textiles Collection can be seen in the book ‘African Textiles’ published by Prestel, 2015.

Closing Date: Dec 14th 2019 5.00pm

Exhibition supported byHALI Magazine

Text: taken from SOAS.Photograph:Philippa Brock