Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Off the loom: woven explorations and applications in art, science & industry, Stroud International Textile Festival, Sunday 8th May, 2011, 11-4.30pm

I’m delighted to announce that I am hosting a forthcoming day of talks as part of the 2011 Stroud International Textile Festival, that will celebrate some of the innovative applications and aesthetic explorations in contemporary weave practice.

With a respectful nod to tradition, the invited speakers are all forging new ground within the fashion, science, furnishings and art spheres taking weave into dynamic new arenas. From e-textiles to art for architectural spaces, each speaker is a pioneer in their discipline and is taking their expertise into unexpected arenas.


Laura Thomas, artist, curator and design consultant. Well known for her trademark encapsulation of delicate textile structures in acrylic resin, recent significant commissions include a Museumaker project to design a triptych window for The Beaney Museum and Art Gallery in Canterbury and a vessel presented to Cricket Australia from the Welsh Assembly Government to commemorate the Ashes being played in Cardiff in 2009. A recipient of a Creative Wales Ambassador Award from the Arts Council of Wales, Laura is currently developing new bodies of work in residence at the Ruthin Craft Centre.

Asha Peta Thompson, is a founding partner of Intelligent Textiles Ltd (ITL)along with Stan Swallow. Asha is an expert in woven technical textiles, specifically electronically active ‘e-textiles’. The ITL patented processes have been applied to many products and principles from heated bedding to iPod connected garments. Recent press coverage has focused on their partnering with the Ministry of Defence to develop embedded technical functionality into military clothing, predominantly as a replacement for conventional cables in soldier systems.

Kirsty McDougall, is one half of Dashing Tweeds, Britain’s latest tweed textile company. Opening up a contemporary arena for a classic quality fabric, Dashing Tweeds has created a range of tweeds for the 21st century, designed by photographer Guy Hills and weaver Kirsty McDougall. Quirky colour palettes, inventive yarn combinations and sophisticated tactile qualities have taken the traditional tweed into uncharted territory, winning them fans across the fashion world. Of particular note is their LumaTwill™ range which is a fusion of technical sportswear with elegant tweed cloth. Light reflective yarns punctuate the woollen checks, so when worn at night it illuminates as light hits the fabric.

Melissa French, artist, designer and coordinator of the Puff & Flock textile collective. Melissa’s practice sees her span the commercial and conceptual sphere. A graduate of the renowned MA Textile Futures at Central St Martins, Melissa has garnered a reputation for work that questions the expected application of woven textiles. Her Urban Upholstery concept takes textiles beyond decoration. This time-based work integrates various metals in her woven fabrics to enable them to endure time and weather whist evolving through natural rusting or oxidising. Inspired by graffiti, urban guerrilla movements and traditional interior textiles and design, Melissa wants to bring an element of beauty, pattern, design and ultimately surprise to the urban landscape.

Ptolemy Mann, artist and architectural colour consultant. Renowned for her impeccable eye for colour, Ptolemy produces striking ikat dyed woven artworks for corporate, commercial and domestic spaces, which have been exhibited and specified all over the world. Working with a UK manufacturer, she has also recently added limited edition mill woven cloth to her repertoire, suitable for cushions, drapes and other applications. Ptolemy is also in demand as an architectural colour consultant, bringing vibrant palette’s to the usually colour-shy world of external facades, as well as devising internal colour schemes for healthcare environments to aid way finding and psychological well being.

Tickets are available from the Stroud International Textiles website:

Cost: £40/£35 (Students/Friends of SIT)

£5.00 for light lunch

There are limited tickets available particularly at the concessionary rate. The last weave symposium I was involved in (warp+weft at the National Wool Museum) ended up with a waiting list of disappointed people, please do book asap!

I look forward to seeing you there!

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