Sunday, September 19, 2010

warp+weft, Oriel Myrddin Gallery, Carmarthen

The catalogue, £12.50
I'm really delighted with how my first curation project at Oriel Myrddin has come together.  14 contemporary weave artists / designers have been selected, who in my opinion, all show a decidedly unexpected approach to weaving.

The exhibition was generously supported by The Laura Ashley Foundation which allowed us to produce a fabulous catalogue, education poster, and put together a tour package.  The show opened on Friday 10th September and is on until the end of October.  It will then go on to Craft in the Bay, Cardiff and then to Smith's Row (formally known as Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery).

I'm giving a gallery talk this Wednesday 22nd Sept at 2pm.

Below are some images from the catalogue taken by Toril Brancher, along with some shots of the exhibition opening by Kathryn Campbell Dodd.

Bristle Box by Ann Sutton
Makeba Lewis

Priti Vega

Ismini Samanidou

The beginnings...

To begin, an introduction: I'm Laura Thomas, a weave designer, artist, curator, lecturer, researcher, craftsperson, consultant.....

I've just curated warp+weft a celebration of contemporary woven textiles at Oriel Myrddin Gallery in Carmarthenshire. Alongside this show was warp+weft: from handloom to production at The National Wool Museum which I also curated, Exposed: textiles in the open by Fibre Art Wales at the National Botanic Garden of Wales which I coordinated, and '10' BA Contemporary Textiles from the West Wales School of the Arts, also at the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

To mark the opening of all these concurrent exhibitions, a symposium entitled warp+weft: cross disciplinary approaches to weave was held at the National Wool Museum on the 11th Sept 2010, directed by Dr Jessica Hemmings.

I'm delighted that for the two days of the exhibitions openings and the symposium, Carmarthenshire was buzzing with enthusiasm for all things woven.  There was a little lamenting for the struggling weave industry, the lack of a thriving collectors markets for art textiles and the struggling skills base in weaving.  BUT there was also a great deal of energy and enthusiasm that the oft overlooked world of woven textiles is coming to the fore.  Much was discussed between the delegates and exhibition visitors and I'm hoping that one or two exciting collaborations and projects will happen as a direct result.  There was also a real feeling / need for 'something' else to happen - a sense of momentum is building.

I'm already plotting and planning what to do next, and I'm hoping too that many of the visitors and delegates are thinking similarly about they can do.  We must ALL try to promote what we do better.  We ALL need to work harder to prove the relevance of weaving in contemporary art, design, science and industry.  For want of a better description the world of weave needs to 'sex up', shout louder, and question more.

The first thing the symposium has prompted me to do is to get this blog up and running.  I'm going to start blogging about all the intriguing, beautiful, curious, challenging, elegant, obscure weave related 'stuff' that I stumble across which captures my imagination. I hope you find it interesting, stimulating and unexpected...... and I hope you actively comment and contribute your thoughts.

'Arc' 2010, Laura Thomas.
warp+weft exhibition at Oriel Myrddin Gallery, 11th Sept-31st Oct 2010.
Leno weave encapsulated in acrylic form