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Transition Member: Kate-Lucy Cottam

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Kate is a UK-based textile artist and designer who specialises in hand weaving. She graduated from Falmouth University in 2013 with a BA in Textile Design and went on to study at Masters level in 2017 at UCA Farnham. While in her last year at Falmouth, Kate won the Bradford Textile society 1st prize Clothworkers’ foundation award for a woven fabric for mens or womenswear.

Since university, Kate has worked as a freelance woven textile designer and worked within local community arts and craft organisations.

Kate’s woven collections and one off pieces are delicate and intricate; they encompass mood and narrative through use of colour, structure and choice of yarn. She draws inspiration from a wide pool, but mainly Kate is interested in how we see and view art, craft and colour and translates this into abstract hand painted woven textile pieces.

 

 

“They encompass mood and narrative through use of colour, structure and choice of yarn.”

My work is mainly about an investigation into colour, and visual perception and increasingly I am interested in the visual representation of the fragility of memory. I investigate colour through the use of woven textiles and paper weaving, and aim to evoke a sensitive kind of seeing through this medium. I work towards an outcome that is ambiguous in nature; one that allows the viewer to negotiate and discover a personal happening on the visual senses. I have been influenced by Abstract Expressionist and Colour Field painters such as Helen Frankenthaler and Rothko, who’s works of art are vast swaths of colour that are said to be a ‘simple expression of complex thought.’

Within my practice, I use fine silk filament yarns, reflective yarns and hand painted or dyed yarn to create a visual stimulus. The yarn I use is hand dyed or painted in a variety of methods and woven in subtle single and multilayered structures that react to ambient changes and create atmospheric nuance. My woven pieces initiate and develop from found deconstructed magazine images which are then woven together, making two images one, the obvious ambiguous and meaning in flux. This is then deconstructed further into abstract colour studies with a concentration on hue, chromaticity, saturation and value which, in turn, I translate into a woven piece of art. 

I explore how cloth can become something visual, how it can appear different depending on the time of day or type of light or where the viewer stands. Reflecting light and casting shadows. The fragile quality of my work aims to enhance the viewers experience of it – one can physically see the craftsmanship, the working of the warp and weft and subtle use of dye adds to the experience of a textile collection of art work. 

“I am often dawn to the
lightest of yarns…”

Materials

 

 

 

The themes Kate explores within her woven practice is reflected within her choice of materials; She is often drawn to the lightest of yarns, enabling her to almost create a moment in time with colour.

Kate’s use of filament allows the colour to almost float in the air, catching the light from different angles and generating a visual response from the viewer and has often been described to her as colour in air or a breath of colour.

When considering what materials to use in a piece she often asks herself questions regarding weight, drape, texture… will this material react in a way expected or will extensive sampling be needed? Does the yarn need to be dyed before weaving or paint onto the warp once on the loom?  Her material development often occurs through experimentation and testing.

New Materials

For this body of work, Kate has experimented with a thicker cotton which she hopes will accentuate the fineness of the silk filament yarn. It provides a depth of colour when painted or dyed, which is often absent in the filament pieces because of its transparent and translucent qualities.

 

 

Transition Member: Jo Lally

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Jo Lally is a narrative jeweller with a passion for gemstones, especially included quartzes. The stories she tells through her jewellery often deal with the play between the hidden and the visible, and the tension between the acts of revealing and obscuring.After focusing on jewellery, inspired by cartoons during her MA in Jewellery at UCA Farnham from 2016-2018, Jo is currently exploring the tactile and visual properties of materials and questioning what it means to have materiality. She is also returning to her love of unusual gemstones. Jo is a Fellow and Diamond Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain.

Jo’s work incorporates Silver, Gold, stones, words, found objects and technical materials. She takes an ethical, sustainable approach to making.

Since 2019, Jo has been Editor of Findings, the magazine of the Association for Contemporary Jewellery. She is on the point of submitting a proposal for a book, Exploring Contemporary Jewellery, too.

“The stories she tells through her jewellery often deal with the play between the hidden and the visible.”

I am currently exploring the tactile and visual properties of materials and questioning what it means to have materiality – for instance, do words have materiality? Are they a material we can work with? And if so, how can they be combined with Gold, Silver, stones, copper foam and reactive metals such as titanium and tantalum?

What about light? I sometimes feel that if I could work directly with light and give it shape and tactility, I would, but the next best thing is creating jewellery that plays with light in ways that make light seem to be one of the materials used.  

Stones often have wonderful optical properties that can be exploited – some gemstones almost seem to be made of light, or to be pure red, blue or green. Included quartzes, which can be stunning miniature worlds or tiny artworks, play a wonderful game with light. They simultaneously reveal and conceal – sometimes it is the very reflection of white light from an inclusion which reveals that it is present, yet also conceals the inclusion behind the whiteness of the reflection. This property fits well with my underlying fascination with the hidden and the visible, the concealed and the revealed.

Reactive metals such as Titanium and Tantalum can be coloured with heat or electricity.  This creates layers of oxides, which reflect the light back at certain wavelengths, corresponding to particular colours. So, it seems to me, to be an open question, whether I am playing with the properties of the metal or exploring the reactions of the light.

Transition Member: Jennifer Jones

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Jennifer’s early training was in pattern cutting, dressmaking and soft tailoring. She loves cloth, its haptic qualities and how, by expert manipulation and working with the individual qualities of each piece, she could construct three dimensional garments to fit and flow.

Her interests have extended into the fibres and yarns that cloth was constructed from and, how by the combination of particular fibres, cloth of all qualities could be made. After BA graduation, she spent 6 years working in the British woven textile industry, designing cloth for a variety of uses from floor rugs to suitings, furnishings and luxury accessories. In 2016, her focus shifted back to the exploration of fibre and the technical processes within weave, explored in more depth during an MA to further her studies.

Study and exploration confirmed that she is driven to investigate the exact processes involved in the creation of constructed textiles, her particular field of interest is in hand woven textiles, created using hand weaving looms and all associated equipment. Jennifer is concerned with investigating that further. By gathering together all that she has already learnt, she now exploits that potential to design and develop new, possibly novel, surfaces and methods. The work is a continual exploration and investigation of the relationship between fibre and structure in woven cloth.

Often organic and architectural, her clothes are the result of a methodical and carefully contemplated juxtaposition of warp and weft yarns, introducing tension and space in an unexpected manner. Her constructed, expressive, three dimensional surfaces often introduce layers to cause controlled distortion elsewhere within the piece. Every piece, an evidential stage in her journey to move ideas of woven cloth away from the flat planes of fabric. She expects each one to comfortably inhabit its own undefined space.

Her aim for every piece is to provoke inquiry and reflection. They are designed to invite the observer to query their own ideas about cloth and to consider the potential therein. Each piece is individually unique.

 

“I expect each one to comfortably inhabit it’s own undefined space.”

The title ‘Materiality’ precisely describes my ideas for my work for this exhibition.

My cloth pieces are usually made using unexpected combinations of yarn and weave structures, no two are ever the same, but often the differences are caused by the altering of one element of the composition of the piece. It might be that a different fibre or yarn is used, or that I have altered the weave structure in such a way that the interaction between the warp and weft yarns creates a new or unusual effect.  To demonstrate how effective these subtle changes in the materiality of this type of work, I have selected a particular weave structure and used it to construct three lengths, but each one has been made using diverse and completely different materials. Each piece will show just how unrelated the same construction can appear due to its materiality of the selection of yarns and colours.

Hand Weaving is very time consuming. The weaving plan has to be made before you can start and mistakes at this point will cause serious problems later on. It has to be accurate, the number of threads, shafts, heddles, the draft order and the denting all have to be decided before you start. The loom set up can take several days depending on the type of yarns and the number of threads being used. For example, a warp in a fine thread might require 900 threads, if you make a mistake when threading the 460th thread and it is left uncorrected until you have finished threading all 900 threads, you will either have to start again or there will be an evident mistake down the full length of the cloth.

Weaving requires enormous patience but is very rewarding when everything goes well.

Materials

The materials Jenny uses are the very essence of what she makes. The character of each yarn and fibre determin the final appearance of each piece. An in-depth knowledge of fibres and the possible reactions between them is essential to make the right decisions. Often sampling has to be done to ensure the right outcome.

 

Each yarn has to be very carefully selected. The following considerations have to be taken into account:

  • The fibre, is it natural or man made?
  • What plant or animal has it come from?
  • What is the spin or twist of the yarn?
  • How many strands make up the twist, are they the same fibre?
  • Is it sustainable?
  • Is it recyclable?
  • Will it need to be dyed, if so, using what and how?
  • How will it behave during the weaving process?
  • Is it suitable for warp and weft?
  • How will it behave during the finishing processes, will it change character?
  • Are there any particular extra effects to be added during finishing?
  • Will the combination of yarns being incorporated in the work cause a particular effect by working together, if so, how?

New Materials

In addition to the considerations on the Materials page, in 2019, Jenny decided that at least 90% of her future work would be made from yarn that she already owned, so no piece would contain more than 10% newly purchased yarns.

Jenny’s time in the weaving industry meant that she has a large collection of yarns in a wide variety of colours, fibres and counts.

Whilst she might use similar yarns in a lot of her work, she does not use the same combination of yarns for each piece she makes, the purpose of her work is to experiment with combinations and the interactions with weave structures.

However, most of the yarns she owns are of natural fibres, they may be wool, cotton, silk, linen, paper, hemp or modern fibres like banana & bamboo, each with its own personality.

The combination of those fibres with the count (thickness), the spin, direction of twist and number of ends (strands) throw up endless possibilities, so when the threading and weave structure (of which there are hundreds if not thousands) are brought into play, along with colour variations, the outcomes are going to be varied and often unique.

 

Transition Member: Colleen Hillman

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Colleen Hillman is a ceramic artist. Her work is slip cast in porcelain which is then altered in a variety of ways. Slip casting is a very precise process, but by cutting and piecing forms, Colleen produces work of a different visual language.

She is drawn to plain, simple forms with clean lines which can be seen in her work. Materiality is important to her practice. She uses porcelain for its whiteness and its smooth surface finish. Her work is unglazed and polished which gives an ethereal quality and lightness to her minimalist forms. The pieces are carefully placed together in groups to create a sense of calm, order and balance. Her recent work has been shown at James Hockey Gallery, Farnham; Espacio Gallery, London; and Oxmarket Gallery, Chichester. She has participated in Barnes Artists in Bloom, Barnes Art Fair 2019 and Barnes Art Trail 2020.

I am one of the members of this art collective and a ceramic artist. My work, inspired and informed by contemporary architecture, continually questions and explores the use of innovative design and new materials.

At the heart of my work is one of the more sophisticated methods of manufacturing ceramics into complex shapes that is used today– slip casting. Slip casting is the process of filling the moulds with slip (which is the liquid clay), allowing it to solidify and after a while forming a layer, called the cast, inside of the mould’s walls. It is a very precise process, but by cutting and piecing forms and altering them in a variety of ways, I produce work of a different, very personal, visual language.

Materials

Material plays a crucial role in her work since it is essential for the material she uses to adjust to the needs of slip casting. Colleen chose a liquid clay body called Parian – a type of porcelain. As she has worked extensively with Parian, she understands its limitations and foibles.

“Parian goes through a dramatic change through the various stages of making and firing.”

After much experimentation with other raw ceramic materials, Parian was chosen for specific reasons. Not only does a Parian liquid clay body have the qualities and properties that are essential to the slip casting process, but it is also crucial to the final surface finish that she strives to achieve. Collen´s final pieces are unglazed and polished, giving an ethereal quality and lightness to her minimalist, pure forms.

Parian goes through a dramatic change throughout the various stages of making and firing- starting as a liquid form, and after the final firing, ending completely vitrified, impermeable and white, with a smooth surface and a slight sheen.

Finally, once her pieces are made, Colleen thoughtfully places them next to each other extending a sense of calm, order and balance to the viewer. Some of her work is even pierced and connected by glass and metal, once again reflecting her interest in architectural forms.

New Materials

For the Materiality exhibition Colleen has been looking at constructing and deconstructing simple ceramic forms to make a series of still life compositions using only one material and one original form.

She always uses the same material in her work; a particular type of porcelain called Parian. It is a material she has got to know, therefore understands its limitations and foibles. Colleen uses it in a liquid form that is essential for the process of the slip casting. Slip casting is a precise process, so it is necessary to know how the material behaves at each stage. She knows how this clay body reacts to temperatures in the kiln, therefore she feels confident in the outcome.

Transition Member: Annette Mills

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Annette works with fibre and plant material. She researches and incorporates traditional basketry techniques to create dynamic and tactile sculptural forms. Annette works with a variety of plants which she can grow, harvest or forage. Using daffodils, iris, grasses, rush and willow, she makes cordage, braids or fibres to weave or coil. By combining them with the traditional techniques of looping and twining she makes baskets with a contemporary twist.

Annette investigates how basketry techniques, which have been passed from one generation to the next, have been adapted, reinvented and transmitted around the world since ancient times. The materiality of her gathered raw materials carry within them not only the source of containers, vessels, dwellings, but also provide a way to understand communities and connect with the primacy of a sense of place. In this way, the haptic qualities and purpose of basketry in different cultures can be read in the use of materials and shared techniques. Change is inherent in the physical processes of her making and consequently, guide and structure her decision making.

Her use of basketry techniques appears random, repetitive and without form until, working with the dynamic twist and tensile qualities of the material, a potential form is suggested, and a structure begins to emerge. Her work explores how this process can be considered as movement through transitional spaces: physical, emotional, imaginary and remembered.

Annette explores how the initial feelings of excitement and energy can be retained within the captured space of the refined and completed work.

Annette continues to extend her range of materials to explore the interface between basketry and ceramics and their relationship with the space they contain and inhabit.

The work being developed for this exhibition is a new departure. I have worked with ceramics in the past, but not as part of my creative practice. I have long been fascinated by the interface between ceramics and basketry and the theories of how they evolved. There is evidence of pottery from Neolithic times and woven basket structures have been radiocarbon dated back to 25,000 and 27,000 years ago. One theory is that a basket covered in mud was left too close to a fire which burned off the fibre and fired the clay leaving a solid vessel.

My recent experimental work exhibited as Work in Progress at Folkestone (Oct 2020)  involved working with cob and random weave structures exploring the free flow of space in the open weave of willow and the containment of that space within the solidity of the cob.

I am interested in continuing to develop this juxtaposition of materials in Materiality. I will focus on the notion of containment and displaced space. Working with the ancient technique of looping and handmade cordage from a variety of plant material I will make vessels and containers, the space within will be filled with strings of porcelain fragments which have been incorporated into the cordage.

The themes will explore one of the fundamental functions of a baskets and its difference to ceramic vessels – the tactile nature of the plant material and the ephemeral nature of the processed material compare to the durability of clay.

“My work explores how this process can be considered as movement through transitional spaces.”

Materials

The forms and structures evolve from, and are totally dependent upon, the materials that Annette uses. She works with raw plant material which she grows or forages. Her work follows the seasons, she grows her materials: bluebells, daffodils, tulips, Siberian iris, yellow flag iris, bur-reed, cattail, English bulrush, soft rush daylilies and willow. The harvest begins in January, with willow, and during the spring 6-8 weeks after the spring bulbs have flowered and continues throughout the summer and early autumn with iris, rush and daylilies.

The leaves are separated and dried naturally out of doors when completely dry they are boxed and ready to dampen or soak in water to make cordage and braid to loop or stitch into basket structures.

Annette uses the plant stem, leaf and bark depending on what is being made. Different preparation processes allow for different properties to be accessed, e.g. willow can be used in the brown cut form or the bark can be stripped – providing a new material- this white willow can be split using a cleave to produce thinner strips with a curved and flat side. The making reflects the time of year – random weave willow work happens outside from Easter through to September. Cordage and braid happens during the summer months and is then stored for stitching over the winter months. Annette makes cordage throughout the year as it is needed.

She enjoys the availability of the everyday garden plants and the simplicity of the processes and minimal hand tools. Time is the main ingredient. It is slow work and once the material is used up, it can’t be replaced until next year’s harvest.

Introducing clay into her work takes her away from her original source material. but it is important that she uses it with hand tools and not a wheel. Annette has a good understanding of the processing of clay and uses the clay earth in her garden to make cob.

 

New Materials

Annette works with her usual material, plant material, to create structures and vessels. She will use porcelain as a new material to be incorporated into the cordage and/or looping to be formed into strings and contained within the vessel. The plant material will include the leaves of iris, bur-reed, daffodil, day lily. The porcelain will be unglazed and made into leaf forms or fragments.

Transition Member: Tara Kennedy

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Textile Artist Tara Kennedy is interested in creating messages within her work, originally being inspired by the unity of her mixed cultural heritage. The despair of different cultures and religions suffering in conflict drives her to communicate important messages of acceptance, empathy and hope in her work. She feels it is possible, through understanding these messages, there could be more harmonious outcomes.

Her current body of work ‘Hope Emerging’, creates expressions of hope arising from this pain. It is essential to her to that the context of her work leaves an impression on the viewer, leaving them to contemplate and consider.

The materials she uses are chosen for their tactile quality, seeking to create a comforting feeling. They include yarns, threads and fabrics and involve techniques of knitting, wrapping, felting, knotting and stitch. Process is also significant and references therapeutic, meditative and calming practices.

“Expressions of hope emerging
from this pain.”

She creates soft sculptures and wall hangings as well as detailed drawings. These drawings provide an alternative viewpoint and compliment her 3D work.

To encourage the viewer to engage with her work, she uses the imagery of cages, bundles and wrapped forms. The coloured yarns provide a metaphor to show the transformation from the  blood spilt and pain of suffering through graduated  tones to ivory conveying hope. Knots express tension, wrapped bundles convey unity and cages suggest protection.

Selected pieces from this collection have been exhibited at the James Hockey Gallery in Farnham, the Espacio Gallery and the Menier Gallery in London, St Marys Church in Purley-on Thames, The Old Fire Station Gallery in Henley-on-Thames, The Oxmarket gallery in Chichester, four of the knitting and Stritching shows in UK and the Workers Gallery in Ynyshir, Wales where she won the People Choice Award in their Home/Hope exhibition. Tara completed an MA in Textiles at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham in 2018 and is currently developing her practice with new areas of interest leading to the next body of work.

The painful suffering from cultural conflict could transform and develop into hope through unity and empathy. My textile work started from a need to express the unity of my mixed cultural heritage. The despair I feel of different cultures and religions suffering in conflict drives me to communicate important messages of acceptance, empathy and hope in my work. It is possible through understanding these messages there could be more harmonious outcomes. 

My work is about creating expressions of hope emerging from this pain. It is essential to me to that the context of my work leaves an impression on the viewer, leaving them to contemplate and consider, but it’s not essential to me they understand what it’s really about. People observe differently and I find it intriguing to hear their views and how it makes them feel.

The materials I use are chosen for their tactile quality, seeking to create a comforting feeling. They include various yarns, threads and fabrics with which I craft relevant textures. My techniques involve knitting, wrapping, felting, knotting and stitch, therefore my materials are usually of a soft and flexible nature. Process is also significant  and references therapeutic, meditative  and calming practices. I am motivated by the reaction I have from creating and making. I find the act of wrapping and binding not only produces feelings of wellbeing but adds to my concept of protection and healing.

I create soft sculptures and wall hangings as well as detailed drawings. These drawings provide an alternative viewpoint and compliment my 3D work. To encourage the viewer to engage with my work, I use the imagery of cages, bundles and wrapped forms. The coloured yarns provide a metaphor to show the transformation from the  blood spilt and pain of suffering through graduated  tones to ivory conveying hope. Knots express tension,  wrapped bundles convey unity and cages suggest protection. 

My practice as an artist continues to evolve with new areas of interest leading to the next body of work. This includes creating work following a Textile residency in Iceland, where I started to create work in response to the landscape. I am using mostly Icelandic materials including raw sheep’s wool, horse hair, fish skins and Icelandic wools, some of which I hand dyed with Icelandic plants. This work will be shown in a group exhibition along with three other Textile artists that I went with.

Materials

Tara’s textile art concerns conceptual themes that she has an emotional connection with. The subject of the work informs what materials she chooses, although she is drawn to some materials more than others. This current body of work is about the despair she feels of different cultures and religions suffering in conflict. Therefore, the materials are chosen for their tactile quality to help express feelings of comfort and protection.

 

Tara’s textile art concerns conceptual themes that she has an emotional connection with. The subject of the work informs what materials she chooses, although she is drawn to some materials more than others. This current body of work is about the despair she feels of different cultures and religions suffering in conflict. Therefore, the materials are chosen for their tactile quality to help express feelings of comfort and protection.

They are mostly soft materials that have a warm and soothing quality.  She also finds the process of making significant, in creating feelings of comfort and wellbeing and the techniques she uses of wrapping and tying further enhance these sensations. The materials she uses are mostly mixed yarns, threads, carded wools and fabrics and sometimes she adds other contrasting matter. Tara tries to use mostly sustainable materials but she often uses recycled textiles or materials form her store cupboard that were left or donated to her. She likes the idea of using something that would otherwise have been thrown away, even if it’s just something used for stuffing. It adds a personal touch even if she is the only one that knows about it.

“Therefore, the materials are chosen for their tactile quality to help express feelings of comfort and protection.”

New Materials

She mostly uses soft materials and tries to use sustainable or recycled matter as much as possible. Recently, Tara has been experimenting with adding contrasting materials to the soft ones to help express the contrasting concepts of suffering and hope. She has been using wire for quite some time, but normally it’s hidden on the inside where it’s used to make a part flexible. She decided to use it on the outside and wrap with it, which she would normally do with yarn. She then uses them together, wrapping lengths fist with yarn and then wrapping over the top with wire. This has created a different look than she would normally use, more severe and harsh expressing a tightening constricting feeling. It contrasts well against the soft yarn that is trapped inside helping to create the concept of suffering.

She has also started to experiment with clay, which again is a good contrast to her usual soft materials. Her husband is a ceramic artists and she collaborated with him to make her ‘Vessel of Hope’ piece. It’s a ceramic vessel with dents and blisters which she attached, knotted and wrapped yarn pieces to. She was very pleased with the outcome, so she decided to experiment some more. They made some ivory clay buds that attach to the ends of wrapped yarn lengths, representing hope growing or flowing from the suffering. She normally uses something soft to express hope, as it’s a comforting expression, but she felt clay would make a good form for a bud shape. Tara likes that it’s a different texture next to the rest of the artwork, making it more of a focal point for the subject matter.

Transition Member: Susan Stringfellow

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Susan Stringfellow was born in the 1960s and grew up in Cheltenham. She is a trained nurse who specialised in oncology working at the royal Marsden in London. After this, she went on to train as a social worker and worked for many years in mental health care.

Later, she also became a counsellor for one-to-one work. This has influenced her artwork and has continued to grow her passion for helping people to improve their own mental health, often by making art for themselves. She is also an art activist, campaigning for better services in the mental health sector as well as the de-stigmatization of the subject.

“Her work often offers an experience or interaction element”

She currently lives in Southampton with her husband and has two adult children, one of whom suffers from a mental illness. This personal connection to the subject matter she works with has given her even more drive and determination to see change in our society and to be a force for that change.

In her academic life, Susan has completed a fine art degree, various city and guild courses in embroidery and has recently gained a master’s degree in textiles. During her course, she explored the idea of using experimental art to raise awareness of what it may be like to suffer with mental health issues. This resulted in her development of her own brand or symbol, the neuron. It represents the suffering and fragility experienced due to ill mental health. Much of her work uses the image of the neuron, sometimes subtly and sometimes without disguise. As well as the neuron, her work often offers an experience or interactional element. Such as; listening to an interpretation of what it may be like to hear voices or wearing a jacket with weights to represent the experience of depression.

The themes I explore are mainly raising awareness of an issue and/or challenging that issue. The specific topic that I am looking at, at this time, is mental ill health and how it effects the sufferer. I am interested in how the illness itself affects the sufferer and how the attitudes of society towards the sufferer, affect the sufferer.

Materials

In the past, Susan’s work has been interactive, where she has encouraged the public to handle the work and even wear the work.

An example being when she made a jacket that was very heavily weighted down, which was there to represent what it may feel like to have depression. Another item of clothing that she made was a cape with headphones stitched into the hood. Playing through these headphones via an MP3 player was a simulation of what it might be like to experience hearing intrusive voices. Susan understood from people who unfortunately do hear voices and listened to the simulation, that it was a very accurate representation of the real thing.

 

 

 

 

New Materials

Susan tries to use a mix of multiple materials, but her new piece mostly consists of thread. However, she is using more metals and pyrography within this project/piece as well.

Transition Member: Steve Edwards

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Steven Edwards is a Ceramic Artist based in London with a background in Graphic Design. He graduated from the University for the Creative Arts with a Masters in Ceramics in 2018. Prior to this, he completed a BA in Applied Arts specialising in ceramics at Derby University.

His work investigates the language of making through the materiality and physicality of clay, questioning the concerns of living in an increasingly synthetic world and the determination to cling onto understanding ourselves through the use of materials. Fascinated by process-led making, he uses traditional techniques to provoke unanticipated outcomes, using clay as a medium that sustains the narrative of the making process. His interaction and manipulation of the clay, using bespoke tools, explores the intrinsic properties of the material.

His creative practice starts by purposely placing clay under stress to reveal the natural tension and movement in its surface and form. Throughout the whole making process, he pushes, pulls, compresses and slices the material to provoke a reaction.

The final fired forms are a combination of these making scenarios – each one holding their own expressive characteristics and energy.

Edwards has exhibited his vessel sculptures at premiere contemporary ceramic shows including British Ceramics Biennial, London Craft Week and London Design Festival. He has also made separate large-scale outdoor installations, including From Humble Beginnings as part of the Surrey Unearthed Arts Council funded project at the Watts Gallery.

Fold is a series of ceramic sculptures that explore the boundaries of material and the characteristics of form.

They have been developed from an ongoing interest of applying fixed processes to making by pushing the limits of clay to reveal tension and movement in both surface and form.

Each sculpture is assembled from the rhythmic stacking of parian clay spheres, deliberately distorted by following the specific steps of a making process – Repetition, Compression, Fold and Cut.

The results translate a theme of duality in their appearance – the contrast of visual distortion and precision, the stillness and movement in form and the surface deception between synthetic and organic.

“The language of making through the materiality and physicality of clay”

Materials

Material/maker relationship is fundamental to Steven’s practice. Clay has become an infectious material that he’s always been drawn to since his first encounter during art lessons at secondary school.

In general, handling and making directly with a material throws out unexpected creative avenues and allows ideas to germinate and progress. The act of ‘thinking through making’ fits here, only so much can be planned out in a sketchbook, the real creative process and output is in handling the material.

Steven has always been interested in pushing clay to its limit, experimenting and deliberately opposing the tried, tested and expected use of the material to discover new ways of displaying its qualities and features. He sees his relationship with clay as a collaboration, in which he aims to reveal its characteristics, whilst it, in return, teaches him about its natural properties.

 

“The act of thinking through making fits here”

 

New Materials

 

 

For this series of work, Steven has introduced a range of oxides and stains to the parian clay body and surface decorating slip to create a bold balance of colour across the sculptures. The ceramic pigments are a combination of metallic oxides and ceramic oxides including Chrome, Zinc, Cobalt and Iron that are combined with Silica, Alumina and clay slip to fuse to the clay body.

He has adapted making tools from Aluminium tubing for cutting and forming selected pieces. Having tried and tested other metals and plastic, Aluminium has proved to perform the best results due to its corrosion resistance from forming a compact oxide layer over the surface and also its physical light weight.

For a selection of pieces, he has introduced marble dust to the surface colour, mixed in with the coloured clay slip to thicken the mixture and add a pearlescent finish to the fired surface. Steven uses parian porcelain clay for all of his current work, this type of clay was originally developed to imitate marble as an affordable high-end material that could be used to produce statuary wares. He has always been drawn to this idea of imitation and wanted to test the results of incorporating the imitated material into the clay body. Marble dust is also a topic of sustainable use to reduce its environmental impact, and is a material used by other artists/designers to highlight this issue in their artworks and products.

 

 

Transition Member: Polly Middleton-Heatley

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Polly is a Ceramic artist, maker and designer, who has creativity in her blood. Inspiration and creative motivation come from her love and affection for form, function, colour, and texture. Work constantly develops and emerges from using the marks made by her own building and painting techniques. Thus making the pieces, shapes, and patina, that develop from these characteristics, exclusive and unique.

To sum her up, Polly is an artist who is ahead of the curve, often years before something trends.

Polly creates from within her wooden studio; a white canvas with colour bursting everywhere, at the end of her garden tucked away. She works on varying her disciplined approach every day. She is happy to share – “I’m dyslexic”, which has many upsides and makes people feel at ease.

“I feel like I’m hardwired differently, I see the whole picture and the whole colour wheel all at once and all of the time.” It is in the fusion that Polly can see, colour can be a powerful tool to help mental health and physical well-being.

Through Ceramics, Polly works with white Earthenware Clays and Slips, adding designs and images through her creative technique. This involves using coloured slips, coloured and clear glazes, hand-painted and computer designed ceramic transfers, printed decals, and liquid gold lustres. The pieces are fired up to five times per collection, at differing temperatures, ranging from 1000°c to 1200°c. She does this to add strength and depth, using multiple organic glazes, mixing powders, colours, stains. The slips are put with Silica, which is a form of glass that helps the colours melt and flux, allowing it to stick to the clay body. All these diverse elements come together to give a material quality, excitement, and positive energy to her work.

My collections, painting, printmaking, and designs are bold and strong. I am inspired by nature and the strong identity of the bright yellows and oranges of the sun, the warm azure and cobalt blues of the sky and sea, the bright emerald green of jewels, and the vibrant reds and pinks of flowers, birds, and butterflies. The mix of a rainbow of connecting complimentary colours, to inspire the eyes and bring joy and fun to the viewer, balanced with black and white. I delight in the power of light and colour. 

I am open-minded and spread joy, I adore collections and families of objects that are all slightly different, yet have a sense of belonging. I am passionate about grouping unique pieces together, thereby making a celebration of differences. 

There is always a theme running through my work, be it size, colour, or shape. This links the pieces and gives them a sense of harmony. The collections represent the importance of inclusion. The value of the attachment of the people close-by and the relationship between individual pieces in my work, represents the relationship of individuals within groups. These connections generate strength, which comes from the group rather than just the individual. If a piece is displayed singly, it could be said that it loses its power and significance, however, my work can stand alone and shine. Family and friendship mean the world to me and it seems that this, inadvertently, has become part of my creative philosophy too. 

I get immense pleasure from the making of my art collections, this is reflected in the colourful and fun objects I create and shows how I feel about this wonderful world. Thriving on being an educator, a senior lecturer in Art and Design, and a professional Ceramic artist, designer, and maker. Similarly developing and increasing creative bodies of Ceramics work. 

 

“There are no boundaries. Nothing I won’t try to experiment with.”

Transition Member: Nicky Lawrence

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Nicky makes wearable and non-wearable sculptures in blown glass, fused glass, and metal. Her two-year residency at Farnham’s University for the Creative Arts saw her further develop the techniques she had established during her MA, to produce large and striking pieces.

Nicky’s years in South East Asia, where she witnessed first-hand the destruction of our coral reefs, has left a deep and lasting impression on her. The marine environment and its loss is a common theme throughout her work, not least in her latest collection; ‘Vertical Reef’. In this, the blanched ghosts of once-vibrant coral seascapes are chillingly represented through pallid, blown glass shapes, displayed against a wall. Shifting backlights symbolise the ripples of sunlight that give life to a reef, whereas the changing hues capture the speed of their demise.

For her ‘Coralscape’ collection, each nudibranch (sea slug) nests on a dedicated glass reef sculpture and when removed can be worn as a brooch or reversible pendant.

 

“The marine environment and it’s loss is a common theme”

‘Vertical Reef’, my latest collection, is a series of blown glass, which constitutes a coral reef. The clusters of transparent coral with specks of white are representative of a bleached reef. The wall mounted reef is back lit, with the coral becoming brighter then dimming to further underline the demise of the reef.

The glass coral will be mounted in clumps of three on to black, circular Perspex panels, with LED lighting mounted behind the Perspex. There will be five groups of coral mounted on a white wall in a dark area of the gallery.

Below the ‘Vertical Reef’, on plinths, there will be glass coral sculptures, lit from below. In contrast to ‘Vertical Reef’, this coral will be lit in colour, indicating a healthy reef. Sat abreast the reef, will be brightly coloured nudibranch (sea slugs) enjoying the biodiversity of this healthy reef. The nudibranchs (sea slugs) are sculptures, which can also be worn as brooches or reversible pendants, when not worn, they sit on their ghost-like glass reef, becoming a piece of art.

The nudibranchs start as piece of sheet metal, which I drill into and then dome, using a hydraulic press, then fill with glass and put in the kiln. The glass fuses through the holes, leaving the iconic gills that are associated with the nudibranchs.

Materials

Most of Nicky’s work is concept-led, drawing attention to the impact that global warming is having on our oceans. She often starts with an end idea in her head, for instance, ‘Vertical Reef’ started as a memory of diving through a bleached reef in Egypt. As a bleached reef, it needs to be white or transparent and the message needs to be simple. Rather than try to replicate coral, she aims to create the essence of it.

In next stage of her process, Nicky thinks about which materials she can use that best interpret her idea. Materials play a very important part in her work; they are the route to interpreting her ideas into 3D. Nicky works predominantly with blown glass, fused glass, and copper. She starts with the ‘raw material’, in her case glass cullet (that gets shovelled into the glass furnace and heated up to 1,200⁰c – for blowing glass), Bullseye sheet glass (for fusing in the kiln), and sheet metal. She sculpts each of these materials, sometimes fusing them together, to create her end product.

For ‘Vertical Reef’, she has chosen to work with blown glass, as it is easier to sculpt the reef forms on the iron. In order to create a bleached appearance, the molten glass is rolled in white frit (crushed glass) and the piece is swung onto the iron – creating the streaky, coral-like effect. To create texture, a fine layer of bicarbonate of soda is rolled in between the layers of glass to create the bubble effect. She also pokes the molten glass with a sharp spike, when she wants to create deeper, more regular bubbles.

Texturing the top and sides of the coral glass is fun and relatively simple. Nicky’s technique involves shaping, or indenting the sides by hand, with a pad of damp newspaper. She creates the textured tops of the coral by blowing down on damp, rolled up balls of newspaper.

For ‘Vertical Reef’, she plans to light up the reef from behind and gradually fade out the light.

 

New Materials

 

 

Nicky has recently experimented with Goodfellow’s honeycomb Aluminium (see images in ‘raw materials’). She slumped a piece of transparent glass into the Aluminium in a kiln. The melting temperature of Aluminium is 660⁰c and the slumping temperature of Bullseye glass in 640⁰c, so it should have worked. However, the Aluminium was crushed in the kiln, distorting the honeycomb form that she wanted to use. She will try the experiment again with a 2mm sheet of glass, if this doesn’t work she will try reducing the temperature by 10⁰c.

 

Transition Member: Kendall Clarke

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Kendall Clarke is an artist working in woven textiles, she has a BA in Modern and Medieval Languages and MA in Textiles. Her work has been exhibited in the UK, Europe, and Japan, including in New Beat at the International Shibori Symposium, Arimatsu, Japan (one of ten artists selected worldwide). She was awarded Highly Commended in the international Vlieseline Fine Art Textiles Award 2019 and won the Cockpit Arts/Arts Society Award later that year. She continues to make work for exhibition and commission from her studio at Cockpit Arts, London.

I make two and three-dimensional woven textiles for both exhibition and installation. My work is concept-led and driven by experimentation with materials. It is characterised 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 practise, used particularly amongst 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 juxtapositions. I am particularly interested in exploring the potential of paper and paper-like yarns.

Materials

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

The choice of materials by Kendall is guided by several parameters. She may choose them for specific physical characteristics, such as having ‘memory’, being able to hold a form, or for their tactile qualities and texture. A material may be chosen because it has strong associations, such as using Japanese paper yarns when she is working with calligraphic marks. Sensitivity to materials is key for Kendall, she enjoys subverting their obvious character to bring out unexpected qualities, sometimes so much so that they may come to resemble something else.

 

 

New Materials

 

For this exhibition, “Materiality”, she is working with a material that is relatively new to her and has been prompted by Transition’s collaboration with sponsor, Goodfellow and their extensive catalogue of metals. The pieces use Stainless Steel thread wrapped in silk. This material has memory, meaning that once woven, it will hold its form.

The silk Stainless Steel yarn is used in a new combination with one of her 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’, weaving pattern threads into the cloth that when gathered, force the cloth into a three-dimensional form.

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

Transition Member: Manuela Kagerbauer

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Manuela Kagerbauer recently graduated from UCA Farnham with an MA in Jewellery. She takes inspiration from the early symptoms of Macular Degeneration, which is a common age-related eye disorder. People with this sight deficiency can experience warped lines and movement in their vision, like an optical illusion. Manuela has researched optical illusions, op art, and artists like Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely for background to her work. Looking at the physical reactions of the body when confused by a visual distorted message clarified that she needed to create experiences that involve both the body and mind of the spectator. The outcomes are fully immersive installations made from metal and glass. She fills the space in between, and with that the viewer becomes a participator.

I create interactive installations working with metal, glass, and mixed media. These are inspired by optical illusions, op art, and symptoms of Macular Degeneration.

My new work ‘Enter a New Dimension’ is an installation consisting of 32 glass tiles with Copper inclusions, made entirely from recycled materials. The commercially sized subway tiles are aligned to create a mind-blowing geometric pattern.

Whilst I was exhibiting in London, Extinction Rebellion were having their first big Demo. Witnessing this made me want to change my way of thinking, along with my way of creating art. The carbon footprint of glass art is enormous, if I could use glass that is nearby then I could create a more sustainable way of incorporating glass into my artwork.

Over the past five months, I have been working on a new installation, whilst setting myself the challenge of working with recycled glass and metal. I was given a box of beautiful Copper foil by Goodfellow to play with. I chose to cut the foil into 5mm thin strips, which was a tedious task but necessary. I found that playing around with patterns and the Copper strips reminded me of some tape art I had done in the past.

I posted a “wanted” advert on Freecycle for old greenhouse glass and limited my travel to a five-mile radius, my intention being to use materials that would have otherwise ended up in landfill. I got multiple replies from people who were happy that their waste would be recycled and used in an art project.

Working with greenhouse glass is challenging because compatibility and stability can be an issue. Before I used the glass, I cleaned it with rainwater I had collected, to keep waste to a minimum. After uncountable unsuccessful firings in the kiln, I finally had the beautiful colourations of Copper I had wanted, which was a major breakthrough for the project.

Aligning the subway tiles and creating a geometrical repeat pattern seemed like the logical next step, creating in modules with glass makes the weight more distributed – and here it is!

“Witnessing this made me want to change my way of thinking, along with my way of creating art”

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