We are feeling rather pleased with ourselves here at SIT HQ. What began as an idea for a small seminar, has grown into a day-long Symposium attended by some of the most illustrious names in the worlds of contemporary craft and design.
We have Grant Gibson, Editor of Crafts Magazine discussing the question ‘Is the division between Craft and Design still relevant today?’ with the Chair of Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen Mary Greensted and leading designers Simon Pengelly and Nick Munro, followed by a seminar in which we ask a panel – which includes ceramicist Michael Eden and textile designer Harriet Wallace Jones – whether craft has to be handmade? All that, plus talks from a line up of innovative designers such as wallpaper artist Tracy Kendall, winner of the Elle Decoration British Design Award for ‘Best British Pattern 2013’.
As the doors open on Stroud International Textile’s inaugural Maker in Focus showcase at The Guild at 51, SIT’s resident blogger Charlotte Abrahams sits down with the very talented Joseph Hartley. www.josephhartley.co.uk
Who are you – designer-maker, ceramicist or potter?
Definitely a designer-maker. I avoid both ceramicist and potter as titles because making clay objects is not all I do: I also work with wood and textiles and I’m always trying to push my practice in other ways.
I (Charlotte Abrahams – design journalist and SIT’s resident blogger) spent last Sunday afternoon immersed in the Museum in the Park’s latest exhibition Material Matters. This is a solo, selling show of work by Matthew Harris, an artist whose work explores the journey of drawn marks across cloth. The finished images are contemplative expressions of colour and texture but, for me, the real appeal of these pieces lies in their physicality. In Echo Cloth, for example, each fragment of cut and hand-stitched cloth is clearly visible, while the ink marks do not simply lie on the surface but within the very structure of the piece.
A huge welcome to Cheltenham’s newest and most gorgeous gallery – The Guild at 51. Opened last week at 51 Clarence Street as part of the £6m redevelopment of the Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum, it offers lovers of contemporary applied arts the chance to browse, buy and commission work by members of the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen. SIT has long been an enthusiastic supporter of the Gloucestershire Guild (which, incidentally, is the oldest Guild of Craftsmen in the country) and will be collaborating with them on various projects beginning next month with an exhibition of work by ceramicist Joseph Hartley. I will be posting more about the Maker in Focus programme and the very talented Mr Hartley in due course so watch this space. In the meantime, here are my highlights from the inaugural showcase.
SIT stands for Stroud International Textiles. We’re an arts organisation that profiles the work of nationally and internationally known artists, as well as emerging new talent. We like to broaden our textile thinking to show how exciting and innovative textiles and contemporary craft design can be.