Thursday, January 22, 2009

winter exhibitions, conferences and lectures

From January 7 through 11, I attended Inspired Design: Jacquard and Entrepreneurial Textile Conference in Hendersonville North Carolina. There where guided tours of the The Oriole Mill which had been a custom rug mill before becoming the home of the industrial jacquard power loom pictured above, and a freezer of vegetables before that.

There was was an exhibition at The Center for Craft, Creativity and Design (CCCD) featuring work from North America, Austraila and Europe. Barbara Lane and Joanna Berzowska from Concordia presented at the Conference and where in the exhibition along with Leslie Armstrong , Anke Fox [Armstrong and Fox Textiles] from NSCAD. Louise Lemieux Bérubé from the Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles in Montreal, Robin Muller from NSCAD, Coby Vandergaast from the Kootenay School of the Arts,myself were the Canadians attending this extraordinary event. this conference look at five different growth areas in textiles arts and industry.
Smart Textile, Performance and Interactive textiles, Boutique Clothing, Exclusive Interior Textiles, and Public and Corporate Textile Commissions.

There will be more on the Inspired Design Conference in the Spring 2009 issue of fQ.
Since I have been home i have gone to a lecture by B. Lynne Milgram at OCAD where the Copper-Hewitt National Design Museum exhibit "Design for the other 90%" has been on display for the last two months. Dr Milgram spoke about the Bags and Purses made by a co-op of female textile workers in the Philippines out of recycled brightly coloured juice containers made of a heavy plastic. This product line called Bazura Bags from BaZura Biz "aims to spark a worldwide fashion trend recycling post-consumer products into utilitarian items, thus keeping hundreds of tons of non-biodegradable items from landfills." They are available through " guilt free trade" type shops throught out north america.

The next day I attended the opening of the Winter round of exhibitions at the Harbourfront Centre. "Fashion NO NO: prototyping and processing" which was curated by Paola Polette who is an artist coordinator, mixed media and installation artist, writer and curator. Her work includes program direction for Design Exchange (2000-2008) and co-founder of Kiss Machine (2000-2008 which published its last issue in September 2008) before joining the Office of Arts and Culture of the City of Mississauga in 2008. The exhibition features the work of Joanna Berzowska, Linda Imai, Andrea Ling, Annie Thompson, Dorkenwald-Spitzer, Hilly Yeung in the main Gallery. the exhibition in the south Vitrines is the whimsical crochet jewelry of Dutch maker Felieke van der Leest.

Annie Thompson with her uber dolls

On Saturday January 24 Habourfront hosted lectures as part of The Innovators + Ideas (2) series which addresses the current issues and needs within the contemporary craft field. by inviting artists, curators and writers who are spear-heading contemporary practice and sparking innovative investigation. Guest curator Paola Poletto spoke of the elements of her own career as artist, design researcher that she brought to putting the :Fashion NO NO" show together. It was like a guide tour through Craft 101 with a nod towards textile and fashion design. ( she made a breif reference to the Bazura Bags which Lynne Milgram had spoke about two nights before, as examples of "Green" thinking.

Poletto was followed by viva voce: Voices from the Craft Studio four of the 23 craftspeople currently in residence at the Harbourfront craft studios this year Thea Hains from the textile studio. Thea was part of the first Finishing School section feature in fibreQUARTERLY volume 2 Issue 3 summer 2006 when she was just starting her residency after graduating from the three-year course in Textiles at Sheridan College’s Craft and Design Program, before that she had completed a combined Honours Degree in Studio Art and Comparative Literature at McMaster University. at that time she poke of her work in terms of printmaking and sewn construction exploring narratives of human relationships influenced by my studies in literature During her talk she spoke of her families Empire Loyalist roots in the Hamilton Ontario and her use of both family ephemera and textiles in her recent work. Her exploration having turned personal.

Thea Hains, Black Apples. Embroidery, appliqué, reverse appliqué and cutwork on linen, 24cm x 18.5cm 2006

Thea Hains, Embroidery on family textile,2008

After the four viva voce: Voices from the Craft Studio people spoke [Marina Babic, Metal Studio,Ryan Marmoreo, Ceramic Studio Thea Haines, Textile Studio, Brad Turner, Glass Studio]Jeweller Felieke van der Leest spoke. this exhibition of her The ZOO of Life marks her debuts at Harbourfront Centre . van der Leest was born in The Netherlands and trained at the Gerrit Rietveld Art Academy Jewelery Department in Amsterdam. She spoke with charm and humour of her resistance to pursuing education until blending her jewelery training with her life long habit of knitting and crochet. Adding to that her love of animals (her home town was renown for its Zoo) and her collection of plastic toy animals she began to create unique, whimsical and absolutely delitful jewelery. Since then she hasn't looked back.

While she told her tale she manipulating her slide show with humour, when speaking of repetitive crochet stress disorder as a dark period the screen went black and stayed that way until a slow fade brought a new image to the screen as she spoke of a return to work. at one point she question her use of giraffes and juxtaposed an image of the cranes her father owned and operated. She currently lives in the Norwegian countryside. The book, Sieradenfables/Jewellery Fables was recently published, covering the past ten years of her career. it is a 96 page color print monograph in English and Dutch. Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima) publication
At the end of the talk a brief Q & A happened during which all the artist were confronted by a demand to a commit to continuing their practice after leaving Harbourfront. If the studio residency is to prepare young craft artisans for the "Real World" they all responded to this "question" with practical statements about the cost and ways and means of setting up studios with glass and clay being a major invest and usually achieved in a cooperative way. jewelry/ metal work and textiles depending on needs and desires less dependent on large space but all admitting that "Current economic times" make instant transitions questionable.
As far as i could see the question was relevant to nothing in particular that is any different from the daily reality of any practicing artist regardless of career level, established or just starting. That they could all give a reasonable assessment of the current marketplace's ability to support a studio is proof that their time at Harbourfront has not been a waist of time.
Februray in Toronto is all about Interior Desgin
Bev Hisey, Knotted wool carpet, Radiant Dark 2008
The first weekend in February is an Interior Design, Concept and product free for all in Toronto with the IDS09 being the main event with "Come Up to My Room" at the Gladstone Hotel and the Radiant Dark: Elegant Corruptions exhibition put on by MADE the Canadian hand crafted expansion and exploration of all things considered Interior
MADE is a store Radiant Dark 2009 Elegant Corruptions exhibition of new Canadian design is the event Opening February 4th 7-10 pm.
306 Dufferine St (south of Queen, rear of Building)
Come up to my Up to my Room
February 5- 8
1214 Queen Street West

This year the show was curate by Katherine Morley, Caroline Shaheed, Jeremy Vandermeij and Deborah Wang
the Interior Design Show 09
February 5-8 , Direct Energy Building, CNE grounds

The Interior Design Show/IDS 09 is Canada's largest contemporary design event. Inspirational exhibits feature both emerging and established designers; and highlight international interior design, architecture and industrial design trends
Find up and coming Canadians in Studio North section of the show and innovative work from students in Generationext
Also drop the Ontario Craft Council office and Gallery at 990 Queen Street West and See DIWHY?

Opening Thursday, February 5 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm for more information go to the website

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