Sunday, 26 February 2012

lost in translation

What a difference a couple of days make. Co-facilitating a workshop with Entelechy Arts over the weekend completely shed new light on my scheduled discussion with Dr Trish Lyons and dance artist Laura Glaser at Siobhan Davies Studios the previous Friday. Then we had talked about issues relating to language, interpretation and translation when developing Stairwell Suite, the main exhibit in my current show at the studios.

In order to weave the stairwell and perform Stairwell Suite, the
information and instructions on lacemaking and needlecraft imparted to the dancers needed translating, and a new terminology developed. The crossing of two lines for example would not adequately be described as a turn or a cross, as with bobbin lace, but as a handshake between two dancers, with either the back of the hand or palm facing each other.

Stairwell Suite was the result of a negotiation between space, material and the dancers, but in hindsight, the development of the work was made harder by focusing too much on making and materials, and not enough on the social context of the piece and interaction between the dancers. While my own understanding and memory of the piece is closely connected to the making, theirs relates to the embodiment of choreographed sequences in space and time. It was always my intention to use the collaboration to allow the choreography room for deconstruction and reinvention of some basic elements of stitching and weaving, but technique at times did get in the way. Memo to myself, I should practice more what I preach!

This was highlighted during the Entelechy workshop at the weekend. Working with balls of yarn and a large tangle of threads, the workshop allowed participants to engage in an unprecious and spontaneous way. Rebecca Swift, Entelechy Arts’s creative producer summed it up well: “the materials created a theatrical space for our imagination, feelings and projections. Somewhere everyone recognised the pile of tangled of string, and immediately knew what to do with it.”

I’ll let the images below speak for themselves. Click here for film and comments by David Slater at Entelechy Arts. Meanwhile, I’m off to sign up for a much needed movement improvisation class.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

book launch for Practical Basketry Techniques

The book launch for Practical Basketry Techniques will be held at Siobhan Davies Studios this Friday 24 February, between 6.30 and 8.30pm.

A basketry installation with some of the projects included in the book will be on show at the studios, as well as other works inspired by them and by the Hybrid Basketry show at Origin in 2009, which resulted in the commissioning of this book.

Expect basketry demonstrations throughout the event as well as the possibility of taking home a free copy of the book should you be lucky enough to be one of the first five people to arrive at the launch. Click here for further details on the event, and here for a press release. See also previous posts on this blog for further tips and info on basketry.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

collecting home - word weaving

Pictured above and below is the outcome of a conversation through making, which had participants write down comments and reflections on Eva Sajovic and Sarah Butler's Collecting Home project, and weave these in a network of strips suspended in and around the exhibition space at the Cuming Museum in Walworth, London.

The project happened in the context of the closing event for Eva and Sarah's residency at the museum, during which they explored local stories and social histories through the collection of objects donated by residents in the area. The event was also timed for the close of Home from Home, an exhibition of portraits and stories from Elephant and Castle.

Sunday, 12 February 2012


Back from the lowlands where I was installing work for the MK Award held at Re:Rotterdam and I’m juggling various things: the performance and talk at the Siobhan Davies Dance Studios this coming Friday, a talk and installation at the Cuming Museum for Eva Sajovic’s and Sarah Butler’s event for the conclusion of their Home from Home project on Thursday, a workshop with Entelechy Arts, and the launch of my book Practical Basketry Techniques also at the Siobhan Davies Dance Studios on Friday February 24th.

I still have a good number of baskets to weave before the launch event (yikes!), but I know where I’m heading with this. I’m working on a design of a basket that combines all of the 6 weaving techniques introduced in the book. Without giving too much away, here’s a sneak preview of what these baskets might look like.

There won’t be a exact plan for the design before I start making these. Most of the design will happen in the weaving, and that's the beauty of basketry. I’ll be taking baskets apart to add to them, combining handmade with ready made elements, improvising all along as a bricoleur-weaver. Can’t wait to make and see them displayed at the launch.

Come and see them for yourselves, and remember, the first 5 people to arrive will get a free copy of the book, so come early!