Monday, 24 October 2016

Here and Now

Here and Now is the title of the new exhibition of tapestry at the National Centre of Craft and Design in Sleaford, UK.  As I specialised in hand weaving at uni I thought it'd be worth a visit, especially as it's quite rare to see an exhibition devoted to tapestry.  The exhibition is billing itself as " the first major curated exhibition of contemporary tapestry in England for over 20 years" which I'm not convinced is strictly true as I took part as a student in a tapestry exhibition and symposium by the British Tapestry Group in 2008 at Halifax, UK, but anyway... some highlights:

I loved the detail in these portraits by UK artist Pat Taylor, the subtle colour changes and the way she has captured expressions is an amazing feat of craftsmanship.

I am always drawn to tapestry used in an innovative and exciting way, taken off the wall and displayed in an unconventional manner.  This one is by Norweigan artist Tonje Hoydahl Sorli.  I'm not so fond of the subject matter, but I love that it has been left on the frame - which in itself is not a conventional frame and that she has used the warp threads and ends of the wefts as elements of the design.

This one by UK artist Joan Baxter is more traditional but I was impressed with the atmosphere she has captured and the technically excellent way she has mixed colours and created texture.

Overall, it was an interesting exhibition but not as wide ranging as I hoped it would be.  There were only about 25 artists represented and I thought there were a few obvious omissions such as Hillu Liebelt and Cos Ahmet who would have widened people's perception on what tapestry is and can be.  Most of the works were two dimensional, wall hung and made in the traditional manner, which whilst impressive, didn't defy any expectations or break any boundaries.

Upstairs, in the corridor was some MA work from Craig Fellows.  I really like to see sketchbook and process work alongside the final outcome so this was a treat.  The walls were covered with beautiful colour studies, mark making, experimental layering and cutting of paper, drawing and finally his mood boards and textile samples.  I wish I could bottle the sort of inspiration this gives me and save it for a day when ideas are in short supply!


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