Friday, 6 July 2012

Nourishment for the mind

A day trip to Manchester for the Professional Practice Symposium 'Craft in Practice, Craft in Process' at MMU. The three wonderful guest speakers were Helen Carnac, Lauren Bowker and Deirdre Nelson, who were all enthusiastic and utterly inspiring. I particularly enjoyed the fact that in spite of the diversity of the speakers, they shared common ground on many issues.

I had previously heard Helen speak at Stroud International Textiles at the Slow Textiles conference. So had really expected to hear her speak on the slow movement, but I was fascinated to hear more about her own practice and the importance of dialogue and walking. Her work involves drawing and vitreous enamel on steel and perhaps the most important dialogue is between thinking and making. There were so many things that struck a chord with me, that I think I will mull them over and refer to them in a separate post.

Lauren Bowker is a young designer I was previously unaware of, but has been doing some wonderful things, crossing the boundaries between design, engineering, chemistry and fashion. In fact her practice is built on collaborating and innovating, to create designs which seem to evoke a sense of wonderment. There is a stunning video here to whet the appetite. This is someone who is really going places.

Deirdre Nelson is an artist I admire for her excellent work ethic and fabulously deep enquiry in her subject matter. Each of her residency or commission projects seems to be so diverse and yet she brings her own creative 'handwriting' to the work, literally in some cases. I really enjoy the way in which she manages to combine the factual, research underpinning with a beautiful eye for detail and such wit. There is a down to earth quality to her practice, which makes me think her work would speak to a very broad audience, very effectively.

Thank you to all the MA Textiles students and Melanie Miller for putting together such an inspiring event. My head is now buzzing with ideas.

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