Monthly Archives: January 2014

What does it mean to be a Contemporary Practitioner?

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I spit, I scream, I whisper to activate materials like ashes, a recycle of my earlier works, burned for this purpose. Or I take my pulse and trace its imprint onto large scale paper. I do performances in the darkroom, leaving its trace on large photographic paper. I engage communities in relation to abuse of women. Through stitching the victim’s names and hearing their individual stories, these women’s presence are forwarded, simultaneously as I collect the trace of each participant through their handwriting.
(Lise Bjorne, 2014, Lise Bjorne Linnert (online) Avalable at;http://www.lisebjorne.com/)

The roles of a contemporary practitioner are much different to those in other fields, a practitioner doesn’t tend to design products to be sold or create a business, they aren’t in it for the money or the fame. Its about sending a message, raising awareness or making a statement. Often a practitioner has to take on more than one job to support themselves, they tend to work freelance and on commission and therefore work can be spaced out over time and not always stable. Artists such as Lise Bjorne work with one theme for years, expanding and improving it, getting their own message out there appose to someone else’s. Projects like “The blood bag project” created by Leigh Bowser are giving the public a way of helping someone through creativity. A practitioner is there to inspire others, weather that be to make something of their own or to point out and explain an issue through visual media.

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Figure 1

Craftivism is a huge aspect of being a contemporary; it’s a way of protest through medium of craft. Besty Greer coined the expression in 2003 saying;

 “a way of looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper and your quest for justice more infinite.”
Craftivist Collective, 2014, about (online) Available at;  http://craftivist-collective.com/about/

There is an project going on based around a story called “Don’t blow it” where people from all walks of life are encouraged to put messages on their handkerchiefs. This all started off as an MP ignoring letters from an artist who eventually decided to embroider he message onto a handkerchief, the MP responded and kept the hanky.  This story taught me that it’s not about being physically loud when speaking, its about standing apart from the rest, that’s how you get your voice heard.

Shelly Goldsmith who has worked to make one of a kind pieces that tell a story, exhibits her work in the places she is commissioned to do so therefore it is always in the public eye. Her work is all about taking objects and other found things and stitching meaning into them. Most practitioners tend to exhibit in shows, weather that be collaborative or on their own in galleries, however the best way for them to get people to listen is to have it in public, people who wouldn’t think to go to an exhibition will see it this way

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Figure 2

In conclusion, a practitioner’s work is all about using art to change the world, make it better, with something personal or on a global scale. They work together with the public to do this, trying to get as many people invested in their beliefs as they can. It’s about doing something different and testing boundaries rather than sticking to the latest trend forecast. They grab people’s attention.

Figure 1 Tumblr, 2012, The blood bag project (online) Available at; http://thebloodbagproject.tumblr.com/page/4

Figure 2 V&A, 2014, Interview with Shelly Goldsmith Textile artist (online) Available at; http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/i/interview-shelly-goldsmith-textiles-artist/

Craftivist Collective, 2014, Don’t blow it hanky (online) Available at; http://craftivist-collective.com/all/new-project-tell-politicians-dont-blow-it-through-the-power-of-hand-embroidered-handkerchiefs/#.Ukg06z-FmrZ

Betsy Greer, 2003, craft + activism = craftivism (online) Available at; http://craftivism.com/about.html

Hemlock

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After watching the video for this Springs color report my favorite has to be Hemlock, I love pastels this year and I’m seeing them everywhere, I can only imagine with spring right around the corner this will only increase, its breezy and cool, and with summer just after I like how they have incorporated more exciting colors that work with it to ease us into holiday mode. 

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News of the week

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SHWOP IT
M&S is making its way into the Eco friendly market with a “marketing scheme” with the idea that every time you buy an item of clothing you can take an old garment with you and “swap” it, this seems like a great idea and at first I was reeled in, however I’m skeptical that public will bite, how is it any different than taking it to the charity shop? In my town M&S is right next to Oxfam, the same charity they have teamed up with. I think its a lovely idea and I can’t fault the brand for trying but I just think its a bit pointless. They say they want to recycle as many clothes as they sell, but realistically who throws something away every time they buy something new?  However I hope Joanna Lumley’s famous face helps the cause, I’m certain that it can help those less fortunate and maybe even raise awareness of charity shopping!
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Save the roads with Textiles
A company called Jute geo-textiles is working with fabrics, man made and natural fibers in order to strengthen the banks that guard the roads and railway tracks in India due to the devastation weather that often washes away roads completely. They have been working towards a common goal to save the environment for a long time now, but recently they have developed a new way of doing so using Eco friendly materials, sustainable ways of working are what we all want. This way there will be less damage to the environment that surrounds the roads they are trying to save.  However this type of reenforcement isn’t with out its down falls, unfortunately nothing comes cheap these days but thats made an even harder decision to make because the new more “green” goal doesn’t last so long.
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Dutch Drugs
A dutch artist Diddo, who has worked on commissions for many stars of popular culture from our day is trying to break new ground by creating a controversial life size skull made completely from cocaine! My question is, is that not illegal? Or are we making exceptions because its art? He says the work has nothing to do with drugs or educating the public itself, so what exactly is its message?
“To me, human behaviour is enigmatic and ever-changing,” he says. “We cannot live together and we cannot live apart. ‘Ecce Animal’ attempts to crystallise the true ‘human’ energy generated by this collision.”
I have to say I’m not hugely excited about it, the skull thing is getting old now, however I must congratulate him on doing something that does push the boundaries and get people talking,
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In the best possible taste

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Grayson Perry created 3 episodes called “in the best possible taste” on chanel 4, during these programs he explored the theme of taste and class to create tapestries named ‘The Vanity of Small Differences” thats responded to these themes. He delves deep into their life styles asking questions and experiencing for himself how each class live.

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I felt that he really made an effort to understand the people he was looking at and although the end result wasn’t to my best possible taste it made sence and really expressed the people he had met and bonded with. I don’t think I agree that objects can have a class as I have explained in an earlier post however, each to their own. I really do think he went about this project in the right way and I enjoyed the show.

Memory of Cloth

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Lili Dubreuil, 21, France
“I was in Germany for an internship, last year in April, Its was Easter so my Mother wanted to send me a parcel because I was soooo home sick, she made a huge parcel with eggs and a small bunny, she knitted me a small bag to put it in, she called me and said to be aware of a box on its way, I was disappointed to never receive it! I knew about the rabbit and that she knitted me something, I was so sad and it only made me more homesick, I wanted something to remind me of her. We both tried so hard to find it, calling everyone we could as it had obviously been lost in the post, but no one knew where it was. When I came back home in July, we had given up on finding the parcel but then for my Birthday in August, She had replaced the parcel and re knitted my bag, I was so happy I loved it. I always think about how one person in whole world has the same bag and the same rabbit, i like this it’s special, in a way I’m sharing the love of mum with someone else. I take the bag everywhere and keep the rabbit inside, sleep with it every night and think of my mum back home in France.”
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Gemma Birrell, 20, Canada
When I was young, I lost my mother to a terrible accident, more than a decade later and I still think of her every day, I had to leave my home when it happened as my mum was a single parent, and due to the cercumstances most of the things that filled my house were put into storage and not sorted through for years! I kept certain things that reminded me of her, a pillow that she had sewn and sewn back together countless amounts of times, it was huge and a odd shape for a pillow, almost bigger than me at the time, this gave a lot of comfort. I also kept a huge Monet print that used to hang above our mantel piece, when I think of my old home I think of that and one day I will hang it in my own living room, my children will think of me when they see it. However the thing I treasure the most is a hoodie, its from the Gap and that is something that I would never be caught dead in on a normal day, but it was he favorite. i remember her buying it on our first trip back to Canada (that I actually remember) that holiday gave me some amazing memories. By the time I got the hoodie it was years old and wore with holes sewn up, the color had faded and it had been shrunk in the wash, but it smelled like her and it was like having her holding on to me when in wore it. I loved that jumper and today I still do! Due to how old it was my mum, also an artistic woman would sometimes use it to paint and dye her hair, or test it out first on me… Since then, as I cant really wear it seriously, I use it to paint, this reminds me of the things we had in common and it makes me proud to be her daughter,  each time some colour drips on to the fabric it leaves a memory that may fade of stay there forever, every color I mix, every painting I create, its part of that jumper and therefore my mother is part of that painting.
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Miles Burrows, 21, England
“He is my hero, Morrissey of The Smiths, these are two pieces of shirt that I collected from two separate gigs, He keeps me driven to pursue my dream of music because his story is genuine. He’s just a normal working class guy, from Manchester, similar to me, he reminds me of myself and I hope in time to become more like him. You have killed me is my favorite song, its depressing, in the tone however it makes me feel happy. The way he describes things is better than anyone else, something he is known for and so his music is real but you can listen to his work and feel uplifted at the same time.”
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Scarlett Brunstrom, 20, Isle of Man
“Last year, around Christmas 2012, Christmas day to be precise, i noticed some of my hair felt a lot thinner, I had always been complimented on my hair, people came up to me on the street, strangers, just to tell me how amazing it was. Gradually it got worse, there were huge bald patches on my head. They say that for cancer patients the hardest part is loosing their hair rather than the actual treatment, i guess this is because it’s a physical thing, you can see it, people know your sick and it makes you feel like a different person.  I was lucky, mine isn’t so bad, I’ve seen people who have Alopecia too, people don’t know how to react to it, especially children. They are taught that woman have hair and are often confused when they see a bald woman. People talk about you behind your back because they think the worst and don’t want to upset me. I got my first wig in march, I was excited for it, it felt like getting a new hair cut, stress is a big cause of the disease, I honestly think that having the wig made me less worried and nervous of what people might say and how I look. I often think that the the wig has helped my hair to grow back much quicker.”
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Jeanette Appleton
“A highly experienced artist, her response for C&M will use the ‘silencing’ context of felt as a metaphor for the absorption of sound and memory. Intimate works based on the original ledgers and sample books are placed in the wall cavities originally used by workers to store bobbins.” (Jennyfreckles, October 2013, http://saltairedailyphoto.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/memory-boxes.html)
I chose this artist because it was one of the few images that used color, I feel color can evoke memory and although the rest of the exhibit was white and organic which helps to focus purely on the fabric and the meaning behind it, i enjoyed looking at this one more because it was eye catching.
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Lesley Millar, who is based at UCA Farnham, said: “Cloth holds the memory of our time and connects us with the memories of other times and other places.
(http://www.ucreative.ac.uk/news/2013/july/cloth-memory#.UuLYlOV65h0)
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I think its such a lovely idea when an exhibition involves its audience, this one is lovely because the gallery space was obviously a big reason for this person attending the show.
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The Glitch

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This image is something I did earlier this week in CAD lesson (computer aided design) We were working on the skills we had learnt last term to create a pattern using images we had created. i chose a mood board that I had also made in CAD based on the trend “Glitching In Fashion” I used many tools like gradient and clone but at one point my computer was changing the image without me doing anything, I was extremely confused not be as IT savvy as most, so I called my tutor over and to my surprise my screen had glitched!! I couldn’t save the image on photoshop but I did manage to get a few screen prints and work on top of them, this is just one of many Ive been working with but I really loved the way it came out! Talk about a happy accident.
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