Kendall Clarke | Materials Hub
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Transition Member: Kendall Clarke

Artist Statement

I make two- and three-dimensional woven textiles for exhibition and installation. My work is concept-led and driven by experimentation with materials. It is characterized by fineness and detail, and is informed by a subtle aesthetic, influenced by the simple beauty of traditional and contemporary Japanese crafts. I use painting, mark-making, erasure and other techniques together with hand weaving to produce structurally-complex pieces that explore surface, layers and time.

The work I produce is non-functional fine art, with a sound technical and design underpinning, and a strong craft bias and dedication to craft excellence. The commitment to material experimentation and dedicated craft practice found in particular among Japanese textile artists is a source of inspiration to me in terms of approach and outcome. I often use a combination of traditional and contemporary techniques and materials to produce interesting contrasts and juxtapositions. I am particularly interested in exploring the potential of paper and paper-like yarns.

I am based at Cockpit Arts in London where I make work for exhibition, in the UK and abroad, and on commission.

 

 

Materials

My work is driven by materials experimentation. The act of making feels like a dialogue between my intentions and the inclination of my materials. Although an idea might come about through research and sketchbook development, the ultimate success of a piece comes through allowing the materials to direct the course the work takes on the loom. My part in the making is to feel what the materials want to do, and to adapt my intentions to make the most of the opportunities they reveal.

My choice of materials is guided by a number of parameters. I may choose them for specific physical characteristics such as having ‘memory’, being able to hold a form; or for their tactile qualities and texture; or because they have strong associations, such as using Japanese paper yarns when I am working with calligraphic marks. Sensitivity to materials is key, and I enjoy subverting their obvious character to bring out unexpected qualities, sometimes so much so that they may come to resemble something else. 

  “The act of making feels like a dialogue between my intentions and the inclination of my materials.”

 

New Materials

For this exhibition, Materiality, I am working with a material that is relatively new to me and has been prompted by Transition’s collaboration with our sponsor Goodfellow and their extensive catalogue of metals. The pieces use stainless steel thread wrapped in silk. This material has a ‘memory’ – meaning, once woven, it will hold its form

 

The silk-stainless steel yarn is here used in a new combination with one of my favourite materials, Japanese paper yarns. The steel lends the paper yarn sculptural qualities and enables it to be manipulated into three-dimensional, textured forms.

This dimensionality is created on the loom through weave structures and techniques, rather than by manipulating the fabric once off the loom. These techniques include creating pleats (through two warps woven simultaneously and separated into two layers at various intervals to create a pleat), and the ancient Japanese technique of ‘shibori’, here weaving pattern threads into the cloth that, when gathered, force the cloth into a three-dimensional form.

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