Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Tomomi Sayuda

Tomimi Sayuda - Oshibe - seen here

One of my favourite pieces from London Design Week was shown at Tent London by designer Tomomi Sayuda.

Here is how she describes the work: "Oshibe is a playful interactive music and lighting sculpture which means stamen in Japanese. Oshibe represents our optimistic elements of life, for instance plants, eggs, light and the moon. When you put the eggs on the stamens, Oshibe plays different tender ambient sounds dependent upon the particular stamens."

Monday, 27 September 2010

Lab Craft: Digital Adventures in Contemporary Craft

We went to Tent London in the Truman Brewery building, Brick Lane on Saturday. I've been really looking forward to seeing the Crafts Council's new touring show, Lab Craft: Digital Adventures in Contemporary Craft which was showing here.

The work of 26 makers have been chosen, all of whom augment their craft practice with cutting-edge digital technologies such as rapid prototyping, laser cutting, laser scanning and digital printing. The show "...explores the use of technology as an extension to the capabilities of the human hand."

Amongst the exhibitors are weaver, Ismini Samanadou and designer Gary Allson. Both are also currently showing as part of Oriel Myrddin Gallery's warp+weft show, their collaborative work experiments with weave patterns and laser cutting techniques in wood.

I was intrigued by a piece by Michael Eden called Babel Vessel, made from nylon with mineral coating. The top of the piece is cut with a digital pattern which behaves like a code. By downloading an app to use with a smart phone one can photograph the pattern which in turn brings up a website about the show. The possibilities for museums and exhibitions are very exciting; a kind of real-time hyper-linking process. It also has the slightly arcane wonderment of the world of secret codes and languages - a touch of Indiana Jones! This app could be used throughout the show when the little digital icon was shown next to a piece of work.

Michael Eden - Babel Vessel 1 - seen here

I am fascinated by the aesthetic language which is emerging through these techniques; born of the processes themselves, contouring, forms and surface pattern defined by layering, cutting and printing technologies.The exhibition left me feeling really excited and energised, many questions are raised about the nature of 'craft' and the handmade in a digital world, but they are asked with eloquence and skill. Here's a link to the essay about the show written by curator, Max Fraser.

Zachary Eastwood-Bloom - Information Ate My Table - seen here

Saturday, 25 September 2010

The One Room Hotel - James Plumb

Hostem - interior designed by James Plumb - seen here

I went along to Hostem, in Redchurch Street, Shoreditch this evening to see the beautiful shop interior that has been designed by duo James Russell and Hannah Plumb (collectively James Plumb). Behind the shop is an adjoining space which the couple have designed as a hotel room as part of London Design Week. Full of their exquisite, lovingly salvaged and re invented furniture, The One Room Hotel is a show of their work during the day and - for the duration of the exhibition - a lucky person gets given the keys for the night (jealous!).

Hannah and James will be showing work with Oriel Myrddin Gallery in our winter show Lux which opens on 6 November - I am so excited to have the opportunity to exhibit their work in Wales.

Hostem - interior designed by James Plumb - seen here

Origin - The London Craft Fair

Day two at Origin, and a closer look at the show, here's more images of makers whose work I enjoyed...

Nuntaka Nopkhun - seen here

SaPetra - seen here

Friday, 24 September 2010

Origin - The London Craft Show 2010

Seen here

I went to the opening of Origin at its new home in Spittalfields last night. The venue is fabulous, light and airy. At its previous home in the courtyard at Somerset House, the fair was spread over two weeks, in its new home - and in conjunction with London Design Week - it is being staged over a week. We caught up with lots of gallery friends and previous exhibitors...Tilla Waters, Justine Allison, Sara Moorhouse, Virginia Graham, Lowri Davies, Debbie Smyth...

We're visiting again today, but these are some of the makers which I enjoyed at the opening.

Andrea Walsh - seen here

Jeehyun Chung - seen here

Justine Allison - seen here

Debbie Smyth - seen here

Monday, 20 September 2010

Windows 204 Gallery, Bristol

At the weekend I installed two pieces of work at Windows 204 Gallery in Bristol. The work chosen for the Twin Reflex curation series has been selected by Marcus FitzGibbon around the theme of gender, the artists have been asked to "...step outside their own sphere of experience and interpret their reactions towards 'the other'."

In my work Pin Dress (2009) and Spoon Apron (2009), the relationship I am investigating is actually one with my own sex – the women of my own family. It is a negotiation of sorts, a discussion about the expectations of our roles in the world. My grandma was born in 1908, the Pin Dress here is hers – it is handmade in silk, and it was her best dress. She grew towards womanhood in the age of women’s suffrage, whilst still being bound by the expectations of an older world. I am thinking about the legacy to me in a post-feminist world, trying to understand what we share, what we have made and what kind of inheritance has been traded. How far have I travelled from her understanding of what it is to be female in the world?

We might like to believe we have slipped the leash of our past, that we are another kind of creature, but in the daylight of our free will – such as it stands - all that we have decided to resist or reinvent revisits us in the quiet patterns of the day.

This poem is about my grandma’s dress:

How many years in front of the glass?

Black spots tarnish its mellow silverings;

squinting and posturing, this way – that way.

I struggle into your best dress,

charcoal silk bloomed with poppies –

little stabbings flower into a steel grey tarn –

fretting in its folds, drowning

in the claustrophobia of its design;

I’m too fleshy, too pink for this,

I cry too easily, strangling myself

With my own hair lengths –

It is a beautiful dress, it fits like a coffin.

October 2003

The work is in situ from 20 September - 4 October 2010.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Ainsley Hillard - Folds

Ainsley Hillard - Folds

I went to Newton House in Dinefwr Park, Llandeilo to see Ainsley Hillard's current show, Folds this afternoon. It is a site specific installation which is located in the Old Laundry of Newton House. The work is housed in the 'dry laundry' room, where the women ironed and folded the dry washing. Ainsley has researched into the history of the building and the people who would have worked there through the house archives. Having listened to an interview with the head laundry maid, Florie Keziah Hannell (1888-1985), Ainsley has made works that reflect her memories of the linens, damasks and dressing table linens that passed through her hands.

These fabrics and the repetitive processes involved in their care are explored in the exhibition. A series of doilies and fancy linens have been dipped in porcelain and fired - the firing process has burned off the material leaving a delicate porcelain ghost of their form. These are hung at table height from the original drying rack. A series of woven Jacquard panels are shown against the rough whitewashed walls, in which ghostly hands endlessly fold. A series of delicate prints - one-off pieces in which ghostly traces of handkerchiefs and embroidered cloth are printed and embossed into the paper are also shown.

It is a very evocative experience, the work inhabits the room naturally and respectfully - the intervention is considered and sensitive. The effect is ethereal and ghostly - it calls to life the actions of the many hands that worked in that space and their intimate relationship with the textiles they must have come to know so intimately.

The show runs until 19 September and is open Mon - Sun 11 - 5.

Ainsley Hillard - Folds

Saturday, 11 September 2010

warp+weft: from handloom to production

Dashing Tweeds

The show we have currently at Oriel Myrddin Gallery celebrates the fine art aspect of contemporary weaving. In The National Wool Museum in Drefach Felindre, Carmarthenshire a sister show - warp+weft: from handloom to production, looks at those weavers who have expanded to take their work into production. No more needs saying - just feast your eyes!

Eleanor Pritchard

Tim Parry Williams

Wallace & Sewell

Margo Selby

warp+weft:contemporary woven textiles

warp+weft:contemporary woven textiles (foreground work by Laura Thomas)

We finally opened our long awaited exhibition at the Oriel Myrddin Gallery, warp+weft: contemporary woven fabrics last night. It has been funded by The Laura Ashley Foundation and the curator is Cardiff based weaver, Laura Thomas. Laura has curated a sister show at The National Wool Museum which is also in Carmarthenshire.

Priti Veja - photograph: Toril Brancher

We have been working on this project for a long time and it includes a really fabulous catalogue (£12.50 in the gallery!) for which we commissioned photographs from Abergavenny based photographer Toril Brancher, she has made a stunning series of images for us.

Ainsley Hillard - photograph: Toril Brancher

Laura is nothing short of a powerhouse! She has not only curated and hung these two shows, but also arranged a symposium which happened today, warp+weft: cross-disciplinary approaches to weave which was directed by Dr Jessica Hemmings from Edinburgh School of Art. Not content with these achievements, she also organised a retrospective student show for the textile department of West Wales School of the Arts in Carmarthen where she lectures AND a Fibre Art Wales (she is the Secretary) show, Exposed: textiles in the open, both at The National Botanic Gardens of Wales which were opened yesterday.

The discipline of weave is a difficult area - it seems to lack the sexiness of other textile disciplines and carries a bundle of unhelpful stereotypes with it. In fact it is a really exciting area of craft development, cutting edge ideas and technologies are at the forefront of practice. That is what this show celebrates - it is fantastic that in the historical heart of the weaving industry here in Carmarthenshire, we are getting a glimpse of exemplary contemporary work.

The show features work by makers well known in their field, many are considered pioneers amongst their peers: Peter Collingwood, Sue Hiley Harris, Ainsley Hillard, Makeba Lewis, Lucy McMullen, Ptolemy Mann, Ann Richards, Ismini Samanidou in collaboration with Gary Allman, Kathy Schicker, Reiko Sudo, Ann Sutton, Hiroko Takeda, Laura Thomas and Priti Veja.

Ismini Samanidou - photograph: Toril Brancher

Carmarthenshire has, without a doubt been the hub of the weaving world this weekend!

Friday, 10 September 2010

The Ghosts of the Weed Garden

Kathryn Campbell Dodd - The Ghosts of the Weed Garden - photo: Kirsten Hinks

Yesterday, I installed a new piece of work in the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Carmarthenshire. It is part of an exhibition called Exposed - textiles in the open by Fibre Art Wales members. I have a space inside the Great Glasshouse.

I'm really pleased with the work in situ. The title of the work comes from the book The Divided Self by R.D.Laing, it is a line from a poem written by one Dr Laing's Schizophrenic patients. In the strange atmosphere of the glasshouse, slightly unreal and artificial, the work takes on other dimensions for me. I have used the old garden tools of my Grandfather along with a wheel barrow and wellington boots of my own that have gone beyond repair. I think it is fascinating that the simple act of covering something with white fabric signifies the idea of a ghost - it suggests that the object (or person) is either permanently or temporarily out of use; it becomes 'other'.

The exhibition opens on Friday 10 September at 2pm and continues until November 2010.

Winter House - Ty Gaeaf at Melin Medi

Photo: Kirsten Hinks

On Sunday, I installed a piece of work at New Mill, Drefelin, Carmarthenshire SA44 5BX as part of Melin Medi, a show of textile works placed in the landscape curated by Bethan Ash.

My installation, Winter House/Ty Gaeaf is the progression of an art project installed at New Mill during May 2010 for the exhibition Rhôd. The hut is constructed from my paintings made between 2000 and 2005 along with oddments from around my home in west Wales. It is a refuge of sorts. I have developed the house to make it suitable for winter residence.

Photo: Kirsten Hinks

The show opens on Saturday 11 September and is open from 10am - 8pm, then 11am to 7pm on Sunday. After this the works will remain installed over the winter months until May 2011, the degradation and changes to the pieces from the weather will be documented for a possible future exhibition. Winter visits are by appointment only.

White Shift - an installation

Kathryn Campbell Dodd and Louise Bird - White Shift - more images

On Tuesday, I spent the day at Aberystwyth Arts Centre at the launch of Culture Colony. A day of events had been organised by the man behind the venture, Pete Telfer. With a new website, Culture Colony is set to become a great place to bookmark for Welsh art - an active space where artists can show their work, blog and communicate with each other. It is also a place to view cultural content about the arts in Wales. It is responding to the dirth of cultural programming on TV, and with his television background, Pete brings a fantastic ethos to the project. He aims to keep the editing to a minimum, allowing the artists and practitioners involved to tell their own truth.

From the left: Kim Fielding, Ann Jordan, Nazma Ali, Mari Beynon Owen, Michael Cousin

I showed a collaborative piece of work with fellow Carmarthen artist, Louise Bird in the Round Studio space. Serendipitously, we we sharing the space with composer and sound artist Ed Wright from North Wales. We met for the first time in the morning and within an hour the work was installed and we had negotiated a really nice working relationship. Ed's sound pieces worked really well with our installation which also included a video projection of Louise's crochet and added all sorts of layers to the experience.

Michelle Collins - Documentation is My Downfall - photo: Michelle Collins

Other artists' involved included Kim Fielding from tactileBOSCH studios and gallery in Cardiff who installed two photographic flat light box works in the entrance to the Round Studio - I was delighted that our work was reached via Kim's. Carmarthenshire artist Michelle Collins was also showing her work in one of the amazing silver artist units on the site, Documentation is My Downfall comprised of a series of archive boxes filled with Michelle's reference materials. The visitor is asked to browse through the boxes and curate scraps, articles and images onto a pin board alongside other people's choices. There was also tea and cake to be shared - excellent!

Thanks to Culture Colony for a great day - please visit the site and join in!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

To the Buddha - Veils and Voids

Peter Finnemore - Map Maker - seen here

Jonathan Anderson - Dark Bulb - seen here

I went to St David's Hall Gallery in Cardiff last night to the opening of To the Buddha - Veils and Voids, a joint exhibition by Peter Finnemore and Jonathan Anderson. The exhibition looks at ways in which the artists "...share a common attitude towards intrinsic Buddhist values within visual art practise. Notions of illusions, voids, noble truths, iconography, tolerance and contemplation..."

Peter Finnemore's resonant photographs of his family home - Gwendraeth House in Carmarthenshire, are charged with the poetic essence of the objects and places they capture. Tempered with the lightest touch of humour, this series of images are mindful and intelligent, operating subtly on one's attention as contemplative entry points to the deeper meanings they embody. The joy of Finnemore's work is his modest mastery of Roland Barthes ideas of the 'Death of the Author' - he opens an experience and leaves you to find your own relationship with it, it's slightly mischievous - there's the touch of The Trickster about him "A photograph is always invisible, it is not it that we see" Roland Barthes.

Jonathan Anderson's coal covered objects and drawings and indeed the practice of his Coaladonia Project are infused with darkness. The fetishised covering of objects in this highly charged material, with all its political associations, is a kind of active meditation. At once ephemeral and suspended in time through their coating of sparkling carbon, the objects he has selected are drawn into a living, symbolic otherworld project. They are a contradiction, both passively captured and actively energised. There is something quite sinister about the process. The forms cast in concrete are perhaps an even more direct encapsulation of these ideas. Anderson's humour is of a darker bent, but like Finnemore, it opens a space; it is a point of connection where the process of the artist meets the engagement of the viewer.

The show runs until 2 October 2010 at St David's Hall Gallery in Cardiff.