4 November, 2016
Exhibition: ‘Weaving Futures’ | London Transport Museum
Dates: 22 November 2016 to 18 February 2017
‘Weaving Futures’ is an exhibition at London Transport Museum highlighting the importance of woven textile design to the London Transport system. The exhibition explores the process and making of digital woven textiles, as part of the Museums’, Designology season.
Each week, visitors will be able to see invited designers/artists in residence in the Designology studio, who will be working on a project brief and interacting with a weaver. The weavers will be interpreting the residents work live into digital woven textile prototypes and final works on a state-of-the-art TC2 digital jacquard loom.
‘Weaving Futures’ is curated by design & research industry experts, Philippa Brock and Samuel Plant Dempsey
The Weaving Futures season will start with Wallace Sewell, who will be in residence in the studio from Nov 22nd – 26th 2016
Other residents participating in the season include: Assemble, Beatwoven, Philippa Brock, Camira, Central Saint Martins, BA Textile students, Samuel Dempsey, Linda Florence, Gainsborough Weaving Company, Eleanor Pritchard, Rare Thread : aka Kirsty McDougall & Laura Miles, Josephine Ortega, Ismini Samanidou, Studio Houndstooth: Jo Pierce, Takram & Priti Veja
Resident artists and designers have been invited to respond to a project brief; exploring the role of textiles in modern transport now and in the future. They will focus on ‘untapped’ sources of data generated by, or helpful to, the transport system. Their responses will then be interpreted into woven textiles, live for museum visitors.
The weavers for the season are Rosie Green & Hanna Vinlöf Nylen
Creative responses may span from future speculations on data capture and its textile use, to new methods of digitising human interactions, to creative interpretations and visualisations of existing TfL data sets.
Design & artistic approaches may include drawing, photography, film, sound, mark-making and model making.
The Weave Shed will highlight each resident each week of the season with images, biographies and contact details.
The Weaving Futures: Data and Transport project brief given to the Designers & Artists explores the significance of Jacquard loom weaving beyond textiles, looking at how the Jacquard loom punch card system led to the development of computers and digital data, and how these have affected transport systems as a whole.
The season will also bring to the fore London’s most loved urban fabric – moquette. Many people who have travelled on the London transport network will be familiar with the patterned seating fabric on Tube trains, buses, DLR, the London Overground and Croydon Tramlink, but they may not know of its rich history as integral to the design of the capitial’s public transport since the 1920s.
Derived from the French word for carpet, moquette is a type of woven pile fabric, in which cut or uncut threads form a short dense cut or loop pile. As well as giving it a distinctive velvet-like feel, the pile construction is particularly durable, and ideally suited to applications such as public transport.
Digital Weaving Norway has sponsored the installation of a TC2 Digital jacquard loom for the duration of the exhibition.
The programme is also supported by Camira, The Worshipful Company of Weavers and Pointcarré.
Weaving Futures events will take place every week in the Museum’s pop-up Designology Studio from 22 November until 18 February.
All day-time events are drop-in and free to attend with the annual London Transport Museum admission ticket. There is also a Late Debate on the evening of 26 January 2017.
The Designology studio and Late Debate series of events, including Weaving Futures, are part of London Transport Museum and Transport for London’s Transported by Design season which is supported by Exterion Media.
The 18 month programme of events and exhibitions explores good design on the transport network and its role in the lives of the millions of customers who use it each day.
The Weave Shed will cover the exhibition on @weavingfutures twitter and @theweaveshed instagram
@ ltm #designology
Images: Wallace Sewell ( moquettes and loom), Digital weave Norway (image 2)
10 January, 2016
I feel very privileged to be living in an era where being an artist does not mean struggling on your own, trying to justify what you do and why you do it against more ‘worthy’ occupations. I know – most of us work on our own, and yes, we do end up trying to explain, and on occasion trying to justify, what it is that we do, and its validity. But in the world that has access to the internet and social media, we are no longer emotionally or professionally on our own any more. There is so much information online, some brilliant, some good, some mediocre and some downright wrong! But we can reach out, through blogs, through online forums, through social media.
And when we connect with others, we sometimes get criticism, we often realise just how much we have yet to learn about our chosen medium/media, but more often than not, we get support, encouragement, validation, understanding.
I’ve spoken before about getting those ‘aha’ moments, and how wonderful they are. But I had never before read an account of how these moments happen. To me, I knew that the connections were made between specific techniques/problems/topics and my more general region and that there is not really much that is new but the individual voice and ‘genius’ comes from connections that are made between things that might not have been connected before, or thought about in that specific way before. I also knew that many of my ideas come from quiet moments – the middle of the night, just before falling asleep (and thus preventing sleep!!) or immediately on waking, in the shower, walking the dog – and had assumed that my subconscious had been working on things whilst I was actively or passively engaged elsewhere.
Then I read a newsletter from somewhere – possibly Sam and Joe at TextileArtist.org (more of them later) – and the author had written of a fabulous little book called A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Webb Young, published in the 1940s. I searched on Amazon and bought this little tome. It arrived and this morning, whilst drinking my mid-morning coffee, I read it from cover to cover. Don’t worry – this is not impressive!! It is a short book – 48 pages cover to cover. But it expressed exactly what happens in the creative process in such a lucid and succinct way.
This leads me on to my main point in this blog post. The world is now a much smaller place thanks to the internet. We can connect to each other like never before. The guys at TextileArtist.org are part of this amazing chain of connections and they publish really good material. If you haven’t come across them yet, please do click on a link in this blog and go and visit their site. Their story alone is one of connections and curiosity. Watch the videos that they are currently putting on their site – there is a time limit on them (good publicity ploy!) so go and check it out before the videos disappear.
The only danger is that we can get so easily side-tracked with all this social media - so many people to connect with, so many wonderful textiles to look at and admire. But connectivity-wise, we have never had it so good!!
8 November, 2015
It’s been a while since I posted, but life has been busy. More on that in a blog later this month. However…..
The Textile Society 33rd Annual Conference was held at the newly extended Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester this weekend. The topic was Textiles and Architecture and the speakers included Prof Alice Kettle, Dr Lynn Hulse, Jane Scott, Dr Lindsey Waterton-Taylor, Sally Freshwater and Prof Lesley Millar MBE. It was a full day of inspiration, diverse approaches, technical and innovative explorations. We were also able to take advantage of a current exhibition at the Gallery called Art_Textiles which has its own publication available from the Gallery.
Prof Alice Kettle started the day’s presentations with quotations from Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space and references to Anni Albers – both guaranteed to grab my attention and get the thinking juices going!! Taken from The Pliable Plane from 1959, and posing the juxtaposition of architecture (grounded/fixed/permanent) and textiles being not only the antithesis but also complimentary and inter-related, Alice went on to give her definitions of certain terms – walls, curtain walls, etc and to engage us with different approaches in architectural and textiles, including some of my favourite practitioners such as Ann Hamilton, Christo, and Janet Echelman as well as her own work in public buildings and site-specific commissions.
Dr Lynn Hulse presented a very different research project on the embroidered furnishings of the Lethbridge Sisters (1899-1922). This was a fascinating glimpse into the lives and practice of Lady Julia Carew and Lady Jane Cory who produced some amazing and large-scale embroidered panels and countless interior furnishings for the homes in which they lived. These were much more than home furnishings and were rightly regarded as fine art by the society of the day. Lynn will be publishing a book on the sisters in early 2016.
Jane Scott, a lecturer in textiles in the University of Leeds, is working with humidity and textile properties to create knitted fabrics that have a physical reaction to their environment, moving in animation when exposed to high humidity and moisture and gradually returning to primary states when the humidity or moisture level drops and the fabrics dry out. It was totally engaging to watch video of the actions of the fabric. We are so used to external forces working on fabric, such as drapery, movement of the body, wind, but there was something eerily mesmerising to watch the contortions of the fabric under puffs of water spray, reminding me powerfully of the compelling yet repulsive attraction of watching the squirming of a slug after being sprinkled with salt. We are used to seeing electronics working within textiles (e-textiles) now, but Jane also incorporated wood veneer within her textiles and used knit together with the wood veneer as a responsive architecture to create dimensional pieces which move according to the climate in which they find themselves.
Dr Lindsey Waterton-Taylor is a weaver after my own heart! Dealing with multi-layered woven fabric, Lindsey gave detailed cross-section diagrams to a multi-discliplinary audience to express the intricacies of weaving 6-layered fabrics for specific technical requirements in an engineering environment using inelastic yarns and fibres. As a weaver who uses multiple layers and tubes within tubes myself, this was wonderful brain food! Our respective end-uses are poles apart but the mental and technical challenges are fairly similar. Lindsey incorporates the performance characteristics from the woven technical textiles within multilayer multilevel 3D forms into modular forms – think of it as textile ‘vertebra’. Her work is exciting and has medical as well as engineering applications. This is weaving as architecture in ways in addition to buildings!
Sally Freshwater is well known for her architectural and site-specific artworks involving the suggestions of sails and other flexible fabrics in sculptural installations. Looking at translucency and opacity, and looking at various artists who have created large-scale site-specific artwork her talk was more a ‘thinking out loud’ musing of ideas that inspire and promote thinking through her practice.
The final presentation by Prof Lesley Millar was a typically meaty presentation of text, textiles, interior spaces, literary references, and philosophical thinking discussing ‘how the use of textile structures in architecture influence our perception and interpretation, and ultimately our memory, of things experienced’ (taken from the conference abstract). As ever, it was so jam-packed full of content that I wished for a transcript that I could study with time to absorb all the connections she made. Using images sourced from exhibitions Lesley has curated in the past, all of which have had a huge impact on how we, in the UK, view and understand textiles as art, including from Textural Space, and Lost in Lace, and also the recent exhibition in Salts Mill, Cloth and Memory, we were taken on a narrative of threads which joined, defined, revealed and concealed interpretations and left us with plenty to think about.
In addition to all this mental stimulation, we were also able to take time over lunch to visit the Art_Textile exhibition. One of the highlights for me was my first real experience of an Abakan, a large tapestry piece by Magdalena Abakanowicz. Interestingly, I was also drawn to the shadows created underneath the piece by the positioning of the lighting on both sides of the work. I was also really pulled in by Anne Wilson‘s delicate stitching of holes on old damask table linens. They had an ephemeral appeal to me, the tiny stitches of colour like finely ground powder grains, piled on top of each other to give a feeling of brightly coloured growths of decay, ‘blossoming’ on the old fabrics.
At the end of the day, I was left sitting on a crowded train with my brain in overdrive and a contented smile on my face! Stimulation for mind and soul. Many congratulations to Sonja Andrew, Dr Brenda King and all those involved in co-ordinating and organising such a stimulating day!
Next year’s conference will be on Saturday 5th November 2016 at the Wellcome Trust, London and is entitled Textile Futures: Technology Materials and Preservation. It will examine recent advances in textile design, materials and technology, particularly emerging ideas and appraoches that may change the way we design, make, use and preserve textiles in the future. I urge you to register your interest early : firstname.lastname@example.org
10 August, 2014
It’s been a while since I last sat down at my AVL to weave serious amounts. In fact, I warped 12 metres on back in February, and threaded up for the Complex Weavers study group samples for Collapse, Pleat & Bump. Those samples were finally woven in May after my return from New Zealand, and then the warp was left ready for another Growth Form on my return from Washington.
With one thing and another, it has taken me until this week actually to sit at the loom to start weaving. Having created a new liftplan and decided to change the amount of plain weave in my overshot tie-up, I started work.
Everything started badly. The paper weft had been left on the bobbin, wound since May. It doesn’t like to do that! The yarn had set itself into its tightly wound spirals and did not want to behave. Rather belatedly, I remembered that I should always wind it off the bobbin once I have finished my weaving if it is to sit more than a night or so before being used again.
Shafts began to play up and not lift when they were supposed to – rather a problem when they cross layers and you are attempting to weave a tube! I was getting quite frustrated.
Then I realised…..I was trying to weave too fast.
My thinking was all skewed. I needed to allow myself to slow down, breathe deeply and focus just on the moment, not on how much I had to do and how little time I had to do it. Get back to basics. I had to do what I advise my beginning students to do – enjoy the moment and be aware of everything that is happening. I started to pay attention to the shafts and not expecting the loom to do it correctly every time. I allowed myself to smile when one of the shafts misbehaved, and to congratulate myself for having noticed the miscreant! I decided I would weave a certain amount of picks, and not to worry if it took a long time.
Three hours flew by and 1008 picks (the pattern repeat) looked good.
The next day, I set myself the same 1008 pattern picks to weave. This time, I thought I was already mentally in the right place, but I wasn’t. My mind was zooming all over the place and I found myself having conversations aloud with myself! Two hours dragged, and I wasn’t getting anywhere very fast. So I stopped for a little while and thought about why this was happening. OK, so we have a lot going on in our lives at the moment…. Who doesn’t??! So what could I do to quieten my thoughts and focus on the moment?
Weave 12 picks at a time! One short burst of concentration. Followed by another. And another. Before I knew where I was, I had woven my complete 1008 picks in a fraction of the time it had taken to weave the first 400 or so!
I now have two intense weeks of teaching ahead of me, and when I tell my students to slow down and savour the moment, I shall smile to myself and remind myself that I still need to learn that lesson myself!
Make haste slowly!
20 July, 2014
I must admit to being a little shell-shocked with the past 7 months’ activities. It has been a total whirlwind of travelling, teaching, experiencing new places and people and now I have landed back on planet reality!
But time to reflect before plunging into the next phase.
January – completing my masters degree and finding out I had been awarded a distinction! What can I say? Three years of focused learning/investigations into weaving, art history, philosophy, materials, writing essays and fine-tuning things, but most of all, learning about how I think, how others think things through, what art can mean, abstracting ideas and honing in on specifics and details in order to create something that means many different things to different people. I knew when I began the MA that I would learn so much and develop as a person and an artist, but I have truly discovered so much more through this process than I could possibly have imagined. I would encourage you, if it is something you have considered doing, take the plunge.
February – immersed in finalising details for workshops in New Zealand, February swooshed by. Packing my exhibition and teaching materials into two suitcases, as well as a few clothes for a two month visit, took a fair bit of trial and error, and eventual sitting on the suitcases to squeeze out enough air to close the zips!
March – arriving in New Zealand and hitting the ground running. Agnes didn’t give me time to breathe, which was probably a good thing! Straight into the Professional Weavers Network Conference at Coopers Beach, North Island. Stunning area of natural beauty. The first leg of our joint exhibition Nature in the Making at the Earth House, Peria. A huge thank you to Dhaj Sumner, amazing lady and so warm-hearted, who created the Earth House in the first place, and gave us such a welcome! Great reception of our work – it looks like it was made to live here! Continuing preparations for the start of the teaching tour, although a little time to visit a couple of places for geology and relaxation. Then on tour. A series of workshops travelling from North to South, from Oruru, through Whangerei, Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, meeting lots of new people, lovely weavers, stunning scenery and warm welcomes from generous hosts. including an unexpected holiday in Wellington thanks to Robyn and Dave Parker.
April – over the straits to South Island. Workshops in Blenheim, Canterbury, Timaru and Dunedin meeting felters as well as weavers and making new friends all the way. A short break and chill time in Nelson, thanks to Sue and Tom Broad. Setting up for the second of our exhibitions in New Zealand at Arts in Oxford, near to Christchurch. Delighted with the gallery – lovely space and warm people. Special thanks to Rachel McRobb, the gallery manager, and the volunteers, especially Celia for her generosity in sharing her love of local pigments! The work looks amazing in this fine-art gallery space! And thanks to our hosts here, Wilson and George! And in Timaru, lovely Mary and Gary Anderson. Then after the Creative Fibres Forum Festival at Dunedin, a holiday incorporating lots of geology and the west coast. Amazing! Firsts include seeing albatross, Hector’s Dolphins and 3 Keas.
May – home again and trying hard to absorb all the sights and sounds of New Zealand whilst preparing for the Complex Weavers Seminars in Tacoma. Learning how to cut and twist paper for weaving, and busily weaving some more samples to enhance my presentation on textural techniques for 4 – 8 shafts, the month zoomed by.
June – completing preparations for Tacoma, and wondering how I managed to fit all my samples and my exhibition into my suitcases as the samples now seem to be taking up most of my luggage allowance! Then off to the Pacific NorthWest to hang our exhibition in B2 Fine Art Gallery, visit Seattle to see the Chihuly Museum, and travel some of the west coast of Washington State and pop down to Oregon before the whirlwind that is Complex Weavers Seminars. A huge thank you to Gary and Deborah Boone, owners of B2 Fine Art Gallery, and wonderful people, for their support and generosity! Not only did we have an opening ‘do’, but also an artists’ reception and then a very special ‘Nightcap’ dessert reception during Complex Weavers Seminars when the gallery opened especially for the weavers to visit! Then Complex Weavers Seminars! Exhausting, exhilarating, and exuberant! With minds fully overloaded from inspiring teaching seminars, and friendships renewed, new ones made, and amazing sunsets appreciated, it was time to depart.
July – an awe-inspiring trip to Mt Rainier started an incredible two weeks of travelling in Washington and Oregon, visiting geological highlights of Oregon’s coast, mountains, high prairies and river gorges, with huge thanks to Barb and Steve Walker for their hospitality! Big thanks, too, to Suzie Liles, as our exhibition will travel from Tacoma to Eugene Textile Centre for its next showing from 1st August to 11th October!
So now….. getting my head around these amazing 7 months; writing up my notes from the US trip and writing down all those weaving ideas that the inspiring countryside and geology have given rise to, then prioritizing those ideas into things I can instigate immediately, and those that will have to wait a while; preparing for an intensive month of teaching; and also researching possible venues for our exhibition here in the UK. On that last note, if anyone has any suggestions for galleries or museums that might be interested in our work in any country, please don’t hesitate to email me: email@example.com and I will follow up!
Who knows – I might even start blogging regularly again!! :^)) Thanks for bearing with me over the last 3 years!
And Happy Weaving!!
27 June, 2014
Deborah Boone (B2 Fine Art Gallery) suggested we might like to take a trip upstate to La Connor, a small waterfront town with an excellent quilt museum, so we did just that. La Connor is delightful and, despite not being well sign-posted from the surrounding roads (we avoid the Interstates wherever possible!), we found a bustling historic town and a Victorian building lovingly restored in the last couple of years which houses the quilt museum. Not just a museum, either, but a vibrant and active quilting shop, exhibits, and activities.
With the advice of Kathleen (the curator) and Susan (the sponsor) we took the road across to Whidbey Island and drove down the length of the island, part of the San Juan group of islands. A stunning day, some amazing bridges and beautiful views. Susan had suggested we pop in to meet her sister and brother-in-law, so we did! What a beautiful spot right on the waterfront looking towards the mainland. A lovely two hours beachcombing, heron watching, and seal spotting, was spent with strangers who welcomed in two travellers! Those kinds of memories certainly make a trip! Thank you Marilyn and Jim for your hospitality and company!
6 April, 2014
Well, ‘Windy Wellington’ did not live up to its name! We had glorious weather for our sightseeing! Whereas most people whizz round places and see lots in a short space of time, Agnes and I prefer to take our time, enjoy the vibe, have a coffee/tea, take lots of photos, look around some more….. you get the picture! So on our first visit to Wellington we managed to take the cable car, visit the Carter Observatory and mooch through the Botanical Gardens, and the second day we slowly strolled along the Waterfront and visited Te Papa, the national museum and art gallery.
Here are a few photos from that day…. a lovely statue to Katherine Mansfield (author), a token tree from the Botanic Gardens – a hugely tall eucalyptus – and water, water, water from the waterfront.
We were photographing some water shots at the end of our day when Agnes and I independently got approached by passers-by asking us what we were photographing. When Agnes explained, the lady looked again and started seeing the patterns, but unfortunately, I don’t think the man who asked me could see what I was seeing – to him it was ‘just water’. Just as well we all think and see differently!!
The clouds weren’t bad either!!
The next day we had a quick stroll around a reserve at Whitby before heading off to catch the ferry. Farewell to the North Island… and hello to the South Island with a little bit of water in between (just for a change :^))
Two Texture Days followed with weavers and felters from the lovely Marlborough textile group before moving on to Nelson across the vinyards of Marlborough, a beautiful river crossing, and the winding mountain pass, into a glorious evening overlooking Boulder Bar and Nelson… One amazing view after another! That’s my experience of New Zealand!!
Hope you are enjoying the trip along with me!
31 March, 2014
2 March, 2014
Older Posts »
Well, D-day has finally arrived. Everything is packed – I hope – and it’s double-checking time. Passport? E-ticket? Double-check the weight of the bags? Money? Everything electronic charged? Charging cables etc packed? Camera? Oh yes…. and mustn’t forget the artwork!!
Now – how to get the zip done up!!
There are so many people involved in preparing for a trip of this kind…. Agnes got the ball rolling in the first place with an invitation to give the keynote speech at the Professional Weavers’ Network annual gathering. Although she is well versed in organising things, I don’t think even she quite expected the myriad details this trip has entailed!! Then Sue who so kindly volunteered to do the printing probably didn’t realise quite what a deluge of handouts, drafts and booklets she’d be inundated with! She has also done a lot of organising of the different workshops and lectures I’ll be giving on my round NZ tour, finding host organisations who wanted workshops, arranging for accommodation etc. Then the trip will finish up at the Creative Fibre Festival in Dunedin in April, and Sarah has organised that aspect of things!
Then there is the exhibition! Agnes has really worked her magic here! Late nights (sometimes no-sleep nights!!), organising 2 different venues – the Earth House in Peria, and the Arts in Oxford gallery, getting together the different hanging systems and methods of hanging from grid walls to monofilament or fishing line, ordering the catalogues and postcards, getting the PWN conference fine-tuned, organising the funds, the logistics, and all the time interleaving (pun intended!) her own professional weaving work and teaching, and getting the house and garden ready to receive visitors and a workshop! No one would believe that just a few short months ago, Agnes was airlifted to hospital and not at all well!! Her stamina is amazing!
This is all set to be an amazing two months. I am so looking forward to meeting old friends and making very many new ones, spending time with weavers and other fibrey, textiley people, seeing amazing natural history and geology and generally having the trip of a lifetime! Without a number of people, some of whom I have not yet met, none of this would be possible. So thank you to everyone who has worked so hard and tirelessly, despite all the difficult stuff that arises in our lives, to pull this together for a person they don’t yet know! I’ll do my best to make it everything you want it to be!
See you on the other side (of the world!!)