Meet Make Collaborate

Hello from Inverness!

OK, so actually I am back in Dundee now, but it was very exciting to be somewhere else for a day! The Meet Make Collaborate exhibition, which had to be postponed several times due to COVID-19, is on display at the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery until 19 June, so – now that Dundee is in Level 2 and we are allowed to travel outside the area – we decided we would pay a visit.

This exhibit has been organised by Applied Arts Scotland to showcase some of the international collaborations which they have developed and supported over the last few years, and this includes the Shift Canada project which I have blogged about before. It was wonderful to see Andrea’s work side by side with mine after months of long distance collaboration, and I was excited to see the fruits of the other Scottish-Canadian projects too. Plus, of course, there was work from completely different partnerships, giving me a window into a whole new set of collaborations.

You can see some reflections on different themes of the exhibition on the Applied Arts Scotland blog, as well as some excellent photos.

One of the things I particularly enjoyed about the exhibition, was seeing the compilation of film clips of makers’ inspiration and their processes. I hope that eventually some of that documentary footage will be available to share online. But one of the main outcomes of my collaboration with Andrea was our own animated sequences, and those I can share here.

Sound Exchange

I’ve shared the ongoing work of the Aural Textiles project here before, and also posted links to the project blog where we’ve documented some of our collaborative process. I am sad that – after nearly two years! – this collaboration with jewellery designer Jen Stewart has now come to an end, but I am beyond delighted with the work we have created together.

This week it is on display at the Inspace Gallery in Edinburgh alongside the fruits of all the other collaborations, and since very few of us will likely have the chance to visit it there, I thought I’d share a few alternative ways to see what we’ve been up to.

The work that Jen and I created is called Ceremonies of Safety. It is a wardrobe of garments for imagined rituals of protection. We took inspiration from the protection we attribute to physical rituals of movement, the garments we dress in and sense of confidence and intention in how we present ourselves outwardly.

Jen and I are both very much drawn to water as inspiration for our work, but being in lockdown we were very limited in what sounds we could gather. So we turned to the sounds close at hand and, following through on the theme of protection, invited members of the project team to send us recordings of themselves washing their hands.

We worked with layers of sound and graphics, and with material layers as well. Although brass and yarn could hardly be more different, we found many points of contact between our interests and practices: graphically-led structure, rhythm, experimentation, positive and negative contrast.

Our final wardrobe is in three parts: a dress, expressing weave-inspired-by-brass; a set of jewellery including a neckpiece, earrings and bracelet, expressing brass-inspired-by-weave; and a breastplate, which brings the brass and weave together in a single piece.

Here’s the shopfront display, with all the work and some documentary footage. If you are quick, you may spot some video of a video of yours truly. It makes me feel very Inception.

And finally, you can see more video and lots of information about all the collaborations over on the project website exhibition page.

Guest post roundup

I’ve been quiet here, but I’ve not been quiet everywhere! Over the last couple of months I have been ‘guest blogging’ in a few different places, so I thought I’d share some links here.

Over on the Applied Arts Scotland blog I wrote a post about the Shift Canada residency and how that work has evolved since we first started. We’re actually inching towards the end of that project now, with a revised exhibition date planned, so I hope I’ll soon be sharing more concrete information. And I’m excited that we will be sharing the finished work online – I think you’ll enjoy it.

My work with Jen on the Aural Textiles project has been on pause for a little while, but we recently met up online to kick things off again. I have added a new post to the project blog describing some of our design experiments.

Finally, Craft Scotland invited me to contribute to their online Craft Journal by reflecting on my experience of making during lockdown. Although the interview was a few weeks ago, its publication this week is quite timely. Here in Scotland many restrictions are being re-imposed or tightening up, and suddenly the winter ahead looks long and dark. I wonder whether I’ve learned what I need to sustain me?

My pop-up desk at home saw me through the first stages of lockdown

Guest post roundup” was posted by Cally on 23 September 2020 at https://callybooker.co.uk

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CLOTH#20

This time last year I was at the Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh, taking part in CLOTH#19. This year I was planning to repeat the excursion for CLOTH#20, but… we all know how that story goes.

Instead of packing up and going home, however, CLOTH has gone online and international. So now you don’t need to be in Edinburgh to visit – though there is a small exhibit at the Dovecot if you can get to it – but can drop in and say hello from anywhere in the world. There’s an amazing line-up of textile makers at CLOTH Online and I’m honoured to be part of it.

I’m also extremely relieved. The event is linked to my Bonny Claith website, where I sell my handwoven scarves, and it failed catastrophically earlier this week (taking my relationship with my hosting company crashing down with it).

By Wednesday I was getting desperate, and decided on a drastic plan B. I pressed the big red button on the old site and started over with a new domain on a new hosting provider. Thus for the time being, my site is a .com rather than a .co.uk – and you can find it here – but the old link will also take you through to the new venue. I may well end up keeping both.

This site, however, is still with Old Host. I need to work out what I am going to do about that, once my stress levels have returned to baseline. If you tried to access it this past week then you may have noticed it was acting strangely. On Friday they did finally apply some remedial action, so at least I am able to come here now and write this post! Do head over and take a look at CLOTH if you can. The directory will still be there after this weekend, so you’ll know what to bookmark for your Christmas shopping.

CLOTH#20” was posted by Cally on 22 August at https://callybooker.co.uk

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Sandra Rude

On Friday weavers around the world learned the very sad news that Sandra Rude had passed away in the early hours. She was a lovely person, an excellent weaver, and an inspiration to many of us. Sandra’s articles on interleaved threadings in the Complex Weavers Journal were a foundational resource for me, and she was always so generous with her knowledge.

Back in January 2011, when I was recovering from a badly sprained ankle, I took some photos at a local reservoir which was frozen over.

Sandra contacted me to ask whether she could use these images as the basis for some Jacquard weaving. She was a year or two into her Jacquard journey at that time, and was exploring different approaches to design and to finishing. It was fascinating to follow the transformation from photo to weaving as Sandra documented it on her blog. You can see the completed work here.

The original piece was sold, but the last time I saw Sandra in person she quietly handed me my own woven image as a surprise gift. It was one of the other photos in the series and I hadn’t even realised she had woven it. It is a beautiful work and something I treasure.

Quiet generosity, exceptional weaving. This little story sums up my experience of Sandra. I will miss her.

Sandra Rude” was posted by Cally on 5 July 2020 at https://callybooker.co.uk

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