This week I went on a little trip. Around 150 miles in total. In retrospect, I would have gone a lot further. This exhibition is most definitely worth it!
Labcraft is a touring exhibition under the auspices of the Crafts Council. Currently, it is showing at The Civic, Barnsley. The participants are makers from various disciplines from woodwork through textiles to jewellery and sculpture. What they all have in common is the use of digital media to assist in the creation or design of their artifacts. Obviously, seeing as I am a weaver, I was drawn to the woven pieces, most especially that by Philippa Brock. I am delving in the same field as her with dimensional fabrics and her Self-Folding #1 and #2 were based on paper-folding ideas and realised through her knowledge of weave structure and a computer jacquard power-loom with the assistance of elastomeric yarn in addition to silk, organzine, paper and silver lurex. Wonderful!
Other items that particularly caught my eye were Zachary Eastwood-Blooms’ “Information Ate My Table”, table of beech with chunks ‘eaten’ from one corner. I loved the humour! I also loved seeing Gareth Neal’s “Louis” table – I remember seeing an article in Crafts on him and loved his approach to construction of furniture. Daniel O’Riordan’s “Ripple Tank Table” was also a covetable piece.
In the metalwork area, I fell for Drummond Masterton’s “Terrain Cup” which holds a topographical formation within it, and his “Decagon” which reminded me of relief maps and Chinese rice fields ranked in rows up a steep hill. Lynne MacLachlan’s Bubble Jewellery was very topical as I’ve just read a book on the science behind soap bubbles and films!
In glass, I really loved the concept behind Geoffrey Mann’s “Cross-Fire Wine Glass, Teapot and Knife, with the shaping influenced by sound waves caused in an argument. Who would have thought that the sounds of an argument could lead to such funky pieces?! And Shelley Doolan’s “Iteration 512” appealed to my love of sand dunes. With the rippled effects happening dramatically on the back of the work, I was drawn in to see the close-up effects on the surface. Very engaging.
Also interesting were Michael Eden’s “The Babel Vessel #1” although I preferred another piece of his I saw at the Ceramics Biennale two years ago, and Daniel Widrig’s “Cloudlike” sculpture in polystyrene.
It’s really good to see the marriage of hi-tech digital technology with traditionally based craftsin a quality exhibition such as this. It’s a marriage I think is particularly exciting and one that brings crafts’ contemporary relevance to a technology-savvy audience. I was converted years ago, but this may be an exhibition that brings new people in and raises the profile of contemporary crafts.