13 Aug 2015

Catch Up 3: Naked Craft on tour in Canada

Naked Craft

Touring craft exhibition in Canada and Scotland 2015-2016

First opening at the Art Gallery of Burlington in Canada 

June 20 – September 6, 2015

Location: Lee-Chin Family Gallery

Curators: Sandra Alfoldy (NSCAD), Denis Longchamps (Art Gallery of Burlington), Juliette MacDonald (Edinburgh College of Art), Emma Quin (Craft Ontario), Arno Verhoeven (Edinburgh College of Art)
This international project brings together the best of contemporary Canadian and Scottish crafts. Makers from these two countries are united in this exhibition to celebrate the shared sense of northern resilience as both of them rest to the north of a southern powerhouse. People in Scotland and Canada have a tendency to identify themselves by what they are not; Not English, Not American, and our countries appear to struggle to retain our freedom from those southern neighbors. Contemporary craft builds upon traditions and heritage that are place holders that aid in defining our identity and cultures.

The Naked Craft exhibition strips ideas of craft back down to four sub-themes that bridge the past and the present, Old Scotland and New Scotland, traditional and changing ideas. The following categories are intended to form a creative, open-minded focus on exploring disciplinary, theoretical, conceptual and methodological approaches to the discipline. This project provides a novel and timely approach to issues of production and consumption of craft from a range of historical and contemporary perspectives.  

Under the theme of Do-it-Yourself: DIY, objects are related to the long and rich history of small craft and home improvement projects, of makers making with an ethos of self-sufficiency. In Down and Dirty: politics and materials the selected works highlight a personal or communal attachment with place, emphasize a sense of loss or displacement, or highlight renewed engagement or innovative development. Through New Positions; the work of current generations of makers, of all ages, who embrace new methods of craft production, and new terminology such as craftivism, yarn bombing, and sloppy craft are profiled. Finally, Tooling Up: new technologies and economies, contrasting a selection of makers who are exploring their tools and materials from new perspectives, putting into place challenging processes, interpreting new ways to understand their materials, and constructing new approaches and tools for their own purposes.

'Amanda Simmons considers our fragile relationship with birds and mourns the many dead found in the rural land. She also incorporates a sense of hope that is reflected by the returning migrants that breed in her workshop. To these themes she thinks about the displacement of people and the recent Scottish independence vote.' 
From the Naked Craft Catalogue

Art Gallery of Burlington (image by Christine Saly at AGB)

Nest Egg - Amanda Simmons

After the AGB, the exhibition will be touring to Centre Materia in Quebec (September 26 – November 28, 2015) and then the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax (January 14 – April 10, 2016). The exhibition opening for Centre Materia will be Saturday September 26, 2015 from 5pm-7pm. This will then tour in Scotland with venues and dates to be confirmed at time of writing.

My work continued with my Bird and Bone theme using very lightweight powdered glass vessels to mourn the many deaths of birds around the rural regions of Scotland.....a memorial to those beautiful wee birds that exist fleetingly. The forms of the pieces are linked to the swallow nests that surround my ceilings in the workshop and many abandoned crofts and out-buildings in the North of Scotland. Each year the swallows return to build communities, breed and feed, back to the same nests. The light lines are reminiscent of the swooping flight paths across my studio. At the time of making these pieces the Scottish Independence vote was being debated passionately up and down the UK and as an English woman living in Scotland I took the question very seriously and thinking how it would affect us globally, nationally and locally. I quite often travel to the North of Scotland and could feel how different it was to live so far from London and how important some issues are in a small rural community that would not be considered by London.

It was a pleasure being invited to join this show and will follow it remotely until it comes across the pond. Many thanks to all those involved in the curating, administration and setting up of this show.

 Images of the first Naked Craft Exhibition in Burlington from Christine Saly at the Art Gallery of Burlington).

11 Aug 2015

UK Handmade Autumn Issue

The editor of UK Handmade Bebe Bradley, has written an article on my practice for this seasons issue. A lovely quarterly issue with many inspirational makers and articles.

14 Jul 2015

Catch Up 2: Modern Heritage Craft Project with Spring Fling

At the beginning of this year I joined a project with Spring Fling supported by The Holywood Trust and The Heritage Lottery Fund. The project, in it's second pilot year, gave 15-25 year olds the chance to create contemporary functional objects with professional makers in Dumfries and Galloway. We worked intensively together for 10 days, learning not only the physical skills to create a piece of glass but also an insight into the daily life of a maker culminating in an exhibition of their work in Designs Gallery in Castle Douglas.
'Craft makers work with their hands and using tools, machinery and technology to make (usually) wearable or usable objects such as jewellery, clothes, shoes, furniture, pots, bowls and hats. They use materials such as metal, wood, glass, plastic, fabric, leather and clay. Some makers use traditional techniques and machinery, some use cutting edge new technology, and some may use a combination.'
                                                                                                            From the Spring Fling website

I was a bit hesitant at first as I felt 10 days was too short to produce exhibition quality work for those who hadn't worked with glass before. I also hadn't taught this age group before. I shouldn't have worried, from the first meeting we had at Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries I knew they would be an excellent group. All very interested, quick to learn and took on ideas in an unknown medium so well. Maybe it was because of the unknown but they had no fear and all had very strong concepts from the start that grew at each step as they learnt more about glass.

The whole project was documented by Colin Tennant, taking stills and creating a film from both years (see end of blog post). This two year pilot project will be used to secure funding for a long term apprenticeship project in the region which I highly support. All images here (apart from a few indicated) are taken by and copyrighted by Colin Tennant along with Spring Fling (soon to be Upland).

We spent two days in the print room at Gracefield getting to know one another, learning the basics of glass and some printmaking to inform our glass work, a similar pattern to how I work. Next, to produce samples and the finished pieces I led two blocks of 4 days in my workshop, learning fusing, slumping, sheet glass and powders (all Bullseye Glass) and cold working techniques such as hand engraving, diamond wheel lathe engraving, diamond flat bed grinding and sandblasting. As you can see from the images we had a brilliant time and the work they produced by themselves was excellent. I think it was a little daunting for them to have work finished for an exhibition but they all rose to the challenge in style. They were involved in the whole process right through to the professional photography by Colin of their finished work. I was so happy to hear that they loved the experience and has informed their choices for the next step of their careers.

I'd like to thank all those involved for instigating a vibrant scheme for the young people in D&G, inviting me on the project and producing amazing marketing materials and putting on an excellent exhibition that was very well received (especially as the students didn't want to sell the work and this was in a commercial gallery)....but especially to my lovely students who I'm very happy to call friends and have back in my workshop at any time. I look forward to watching what they achieve in the future.

Working in the studio on their separate projects
 Glass powder application
Working from printing research
Detail of glass powders ready to be fired
Application of glass powders onto previously fused glass building a depth of colour

Working with the huge range of glass powders from Bullseye Glass


Finished piece - Large vessel form working on the devastating effect of the Lockerbie air disaster

Finished work - Water falling through free form vessels (on custom built stand in the exhibition)
 Looking for bubbles and how the light comes through the glass

 Finished work - Moons, tides and gravity
Setting up for photographs with Colin Tennant
 Finished set - Vessels representing memories, monuments and fragments
 Colin Tennant behind his camera and in front of mine
A selection of snaps taken by me before the exhibition at Designs Gallery opened

The final film by Colin Tennant that documents the two year project with the 3 other professional makers.

http://www.hlf.org.uk/ (Heritage Lottery Fund)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/colintennant/sets/72157634675185429/ (Colin Tennant's Flickr site as website undergoing revamp)

7 Jul 2015

Catch up 1: Spring Fling Open Studios

It's been a difficult year interspersed with some lovely moments. These images were sent to me by Spring Fling Headquarters today, all taken by Colin Hattersley on his travels around the Spring Fling Open Studio event at the end of May.

It was a record year for visitors with wonderful weather and again my lovely Mum and sister Kim helping out loads with cake, sales and generally keeping me upright. I managed not to bake one cake and to only wrap up a few things the entire weekend.

Great sharing with the very lovely jeweller Natalie Vardey, our third time and a beginning of a jewellery collection with this years theme of Flotsam and Jetsam.

Unfortunately I didn't have as much stock as anticipated due to kiln breakdown and my compressor blowing up but luckily had a good collection of some larger pieces that I exhibited at SOFA Chicago to make a good display.

This years firsts....bunting inside and out, framed and mounted prints and lovely pansies in Hannah MacAndrew's wee mugs, used as table decorations at the potters wedding of the year, Hannah and Doug Fitch.

Next year I will be celebrating our 10th year here in Corsock so hopefully (selection permitting) will be making some limited edition vessels, panels and re-visiting some of my favourite older pieces from the past 10 years.

 Space Drinking Vessels (Orange and Yellow)

 One of my lovely returning visitors (Hope you liked your surprise!)

All images copyright Colin Hattersley / Spring Fling Open Studios 2015

13 Apr 2015

Spring Fling International

Some wonderful images by Colin Tennant for Spring Fling Open Studio's first International exhibition in Berlin. Very happy to have been selected for this great exhibition...more images here.

(all links above for more details).

30 Mar 2015

Emerge Evolve at Bellevue Arts Museum

A few shots from the Emerge Evolve show taken by Lani McGregor on her recent visit. Lovely to see the work displayed so beautifully and lit so atmospherically. Happy kiln former!

http://www.bellevuearts.org/exhibitions/emerge_evolve_2014.html A link to the Museum

For more about Bullseye Projects http://www.bullseyeprojects.com/index.cfm

My work on plinths and wonderful wall work by Martie Negri.

All Pictures by Lani McGregor Bullseye Projects

27 Mar 2015

Crafts Council Makers Directory goes Live

The Crafts Council have just launched the new Makers Directory. There are some familiar faces and a wide range of contemporary craft to search through. Here's the link to my profile...still have some projects to load.

(Cluster II - from Collect 2014 with Contemporary Applied Arts)

18 Mar 2015

Spring Exhibition at The Green Gallery

New spring-like pieces are headed off to the Green Gallery in Aberfoyle for their Spring Exhibition opening 22nd March

See www.greengallery.com for more details.