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Event: London Craft Week

London Craft Week (LCW) returns for its seventh edition with a curated programme of events across the capital, showcasing exceptional craftsmanship and creativity from emerging and celebrated makers. This represents LCW’s most ambitious, wide-ranging festival to date, featuring over 380 events, more than 450 makers and over 240 partner organisations.

From heritage crafts to immersive experiences to pioneering practices using the latest materials and technology, LCW celebrates the art of making and champions the talent, skill and stories of both independent makers and behind leading luxury brands. With workshops, tours, tastings, pop-up stores and unique exhibitions over seven days, visitors are invited to engage with extraordinary craftsmanship from London and beyond, with 31 countries represented in this year’s programme.

Spanning the fields of art, design, craft, luxury, fashion, food and beauty, the festival will highlight how the pandemic has been a catalyst for creative development and new collaborations, spotlight innovative sustainable practices and showcase unique, collectable pieces that enrich our lives and homes.

London Craft Week runs from 4th-10th Oct 2021
You can find the programme of events by clicking here

With thanks to LCW organisers for text and images

Event: British Textile Biennial 21

British Textile Biennial 2021 returns this year with new artist commissions, exhibitions and performances presented against the backdrop of the impressive infrastructure of the cotton industry in Pennine Lancashire. The Biennial runs from the 1st – 31st Oct 2021

This October, BTB21 turns its attention to the global nature of textiles and the relationships they create, both historically and now, with a major new commission by Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid, fashion historian Amber Butchart as guest curator, a groundbreaking, sustainable fashion project with designer Patrick Grant and a collaboration with artist James Fox and actor Maxine Peake. The final element of the programme is announced with C.P. Company Cinquanta, a retrospective of the Italian Sportswear company’s 50th anniversary.

In line with celebrations for the brand’s 50th anniversary, C.P. Company will be taking part in the British Textile Biennial 2021 programme, presenting a retrospective dedicated to five decades of Italian Sportswear, and Massimo Osti’s lasting legacy. Taking place in Darwen, Lancashire, from 1 – 10 October, the display will feature exclusive C.P. Company archive pieces from throughout the label’s illustrious history.

An arrangement of activities will run alongside this exhibition, including student workshops and panel talks, which will include speakers from the brand, as well as respected names in sportswear and casual culture.

With an abiding interest in the history of textiles within both an African and European context, Turner Prize winner, Lubaina Himid will present a major new work responding to the Gawthorpe Textile Collection in Burnley, exploring the histories of industrialisation, female labour, migration and globalisation in the Great Barn at Gawthorpe Hall.

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Drawing With Threads: Royal Academy

Join the Royal Academy for a weekend-long weaving course, to reclaim the magic of making through a simultaneously universal and often-overlooked artform.

Taking inspiration from self-taught artists and visceral art making practices – themes that RA Summer Exhibition Coordinator Yinka Shonibare RA will be exploring in this year’s show – artist and weaver Ismini Samanidou leads a course exploring the physicality of working with threads.

Over the weekend, using a small frame loom and threads from Ismini’s studio materials collection, you’ll choose and adapt images, as well as learning to develop a colour palette. You’ll focus on using colour, proportion and texture to develop ideas for a finished piece of work – an approach that is central to Ismini’s practice.

This workshop is part of the RA Summer Exhibition 2021 programme: Reclaiming Magic. Focusing on celebrating the work of historically marginalised and overlooked practitioners, this workshop will celebrate the artistic processes of traditional makers (very often women and people of colour), whose work is often deeply embedded in their cultural worlds.

Participants can bring their own visual references to work from, or will be able to choose from a selection of works relating to the Summer Exhibition and the RA’s permanent collection. Continue reading →

Company Profile: Lark & Bower

Sarah Ward is a hand weaver based in Essex, mostly known for her work as The Aviary Studio. Now she launches Lark & Bower, a new endeavour born during the Covid pandemic.

Most of Sarah’s weaving career since 2010 has been spent producing seasonal collections of hand woven swatches which she sold as design ideas, working closely with brands to develop woven concepts and colour stories for their collections.

The ‘enforced pause’ that came with the pandemic, though initially turning the studio on its head, was an opportunity to evolve and diversify, to re-evaluate a weavers place in the industry.

The idea of ‘off-loom’ weaving was conceived during the first lockdown in 2020, when Sarah didn’t have access to her loom or studio. Desperate to weave, she started using leftover yarn and a needle and thread to make small studies of woven structures; twills, hopsacks, houndstooth, waffle.

Now, despite having access to both, she has continued to work on these small, intricate offerings, whilst pondering why woven structure isn’t more celebrated.

Hand-weaving is an often forgotten art, and one which deserves to be appreciated without necessarily being part of a functional or ‘throw away’ item.

As an ancient craft, weaving is deeply connected to what it is to be a human. Like music, weaving developed in many parts of the world simultaneously, long before civilisations had communication with one another – an idea often forgotten in our new digital and industrial world.

Rejecting the constant demand for newness and instead supporting slow-design and sustainable practice, Sarah plans to use these woven pieces to raise awareness about waste and the impact of the textile industry on the environment, and to shine a spotlight on craftsmanship and woven structure as an art form in its own right.

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Social Enterprise: AMMA Natural Textiles | Sri Lanka

AMMA Natural Textiles, is a social enterprise championing the tradition of hand weaving in Nuwara Eliya, a tea estate region in Sri Lanka. AMMA was founded by Josie Mackenzie who was curious to explore the role natural dyes play in the Sri Lankan textile industry and how, when used in combination with handloom could contribute to providing livelihood creation for women living rurally.

This innovative business empowers marginalised women by employing them to make handwoven zero waste garments and accessories. AMMA’s current Kickstarter Campaign is raising money through maker made rewards so that they can continue to keep their workshop doors open and their artisans employed on full salaries. Continue reading →

Art Quill Studio & Blog | Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Art Quill Studio: A website featuring glossaries & articles relevant to Textile Art

Marie-Therese Wisniowski works as a full time studio artist, researcher, author, curator, university lecturer and is the former co-editor of Textile Fibre Forum art magazine.

She is the Director of Art Quill Studio & Blog. Her first post on the Art Quill Studio blogspot was published on August 26, 2010 focussing on the first ArtCloth exhibition in Australia featuring international and national textile artists and was titled – ArtCloth: Engaging New Visions and featured important textile artists such as Norma Starszakowna (UK), Joan Schulze (USA), Joan Truckenbrod (USA), Cas Holmes (UK), Jane Dunnewold (USA) and Ken Kagajo (Japan) – amongst others. At the present time over 500 posts have been published.

At the outset Art Quill Studio blogspot was designed to educate as well as to entertain. The education posts were titled, Art Resource, under the header of the post. At the time of writing more than one hundred Art Resources have been published. These are mostly published in the first week of every month. In order to access these resources more quickly, in the ‘Preamble’ of every Art Resource post are links to all of the other Art Resource posts on the blogspot. Example:  One Hundreth Art Resource. Continue reading →

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 →

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 →

Profile: Orkney Cloth Company

Orkney Cloth Company
Orkney had a rich heritage of textile weaving which had been lost for over 30 years, and the Orkney Cloth Company is hoping to revive it once again.

Weaving in Orkney completely disappeared in the mid-1970s, when the two mills, Argarden and Sclaters closed. Orkney’s cloth was once more renown than Harris Tweed, well regarded for its softness and lightness, and sold all over the world. Unlike Harris Tweed, without a well known tradition of weaving, Orkney tweed weavers were able to create new and contemporary designs, using bold accent colours.

However, by the mid-1970’s the industry had moved on, with the arrival of ready to wear garments and synthetic materials. Their reluctance to invest in wider looms meant that Harris Tweed had the competitive advantage, and both mills closed down.

The Orkney Cloth Company was started by India Johnson, who aims to revive the industry once again. After arriving in Orkney on a graduate weaving placement with ScotGrad and Orkney Creative Hub in October 2018, she began teaching hand weaving.

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Rita Parniczky: ‘Broken Bones’

Rita Parniczky works with photography, video and sculpture including weave and mixed media. Her work predominantly explores structure, visual change, slow time and human behaviour.

Amongst other awards, the work has received the Wall Hanging Award from The Worshipful Company of Weavers and is included in the permanent collection of the V&A Museum.

Most recently, Rita has become recipient of the Theo Moorman Trust Award. Her project reassessed her woven work investigating the role of textiles through experimentation, with new structural works and meeting Sheila Hicks.

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