28 October 2011

Craft Australia Need Us!!

Craft Australia Defunded by the Australia Council

Craft Australia is challenging this decision and is also seeking our support.  

If Craft Australia is lost to the Australian craft and design sector it means there will be no national peak organisation representing the craft and design sector. There will be no visible national portal to represent the work of the many artists, designers, gallerists, curators, writers and researchers working in this field. Australia will be the only OECD country without a dedicated agency to advocate and promote the work of this area of practice. The many initiatives that Craft Australia has been advocating for to link craft and design with innovation and industry will be lost. Substantial digital content about this sector will be lost, creating a significant knowledge gap about our cultural traditions.  

In my experience as a Scottish Craft and Design Practitioner and Academic Researcher, Craft Australia is an international ambassador and champion for the craft sector. It demonstrates leadership and offers exemplars of best practice for us all to learn from and aspire to. I believe that loosing this voice is something the international craft community cannot afford.

How can you help:

Sign their petition - http://tiny.cc/6norj

Forward to petition to friends and interested parties  

09 June 2011

V&A at Dundee Announces Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration


Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Andrew (Cecil Beaton, 1960)

Dundee is to be the first location to host the V&A’s exhibition of portraits of Her Majesty The Queen by photographer Cecil Beaton, to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Presenting highlights of the V&A’s archive of Beaton’s royal photography, Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration will depict The Queen in her roles as princess, monarch and mother.

The exhibition will run at The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum from Friday September 30th to Sunday January 8th.

It is the first in a series of partnership projects between The McManus and the V&A, as part of the pre-opening programme for the V&A at Dundee.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said, “Part of the £5 million of Government funding that I announced in January included support for the pre-opening programme of exhibitions that will begin with this outstanding selection of Cecil Beaton's royal photography.

“The V&A will be a stunning landmark building on Dundee's waterfront, and the funding is a reflection of the significance we attach to this project as a showcase for our creative industries and as a magnet for visitors, enhancing Scotland's reputation as a creative nation.

“I am delighted the programme is starting with such an appealing free exhibition that provides just a foretaste of the unparalleled shows that Scotland will enjoy in future from the V&A.”

Dundee City Council leisure, arts and communities convener Councillor Bob Duncan said, “I am delighted that this exhibition is coming to Dundee. It will act as an additional attraction to The McManus, which is a hugely popular destination in the city.

“People of Dundee and further afield are excited at the prospect of the V&A at Dundee, and this exhibition shows how the partnership is already delivering benefits.”

Lesley Knox, Chair of Design Dundee Ltd, the company delivering the V&A at Dundee, said, “We are looking forward to an exciting and varied range of exhibitions from the V&A over the next four years as we work towards opening our new building.”

The images in the exhibition depict The Queen and Royal Family, contrasting highly staged state occasions with intimate family moments.

The exhibition charts how the representation of the Royal Family has changed and also examines Beaton’s working methods, styles and approaches, revealing him as one of the 20th century’s masters of photography.

Celebrated photographer, designer and avid diarist, Beaton’s royal portraits were among the most widely published photographs of the 20th century. The exhibition explores Beaton’s long relationship with Queen Elizabeth II, who was a teenage princess when she first sat for Beaton in 1942. Over the next three decades, Beaton photographed The Queen on many significant  occasions including her Coronation Day.

The exhibition in Dundee will feature over 60 items, from wartime photographs of Princess Elizabeth with her family, to tender images of The Queen with her own young children and official portraits that convey the magnitude of her role as Britain’s monarch. It will show elegant and highly-staged photographs alongside informal moments of the royal family at home, interspersed with film and radio footage from the time.

The exhibition is arranged in five sections documenting important sittings and charting the shift in Beaton’s photographic style, from his early Rococo-inspired portraits to a starker approach in the 1960s. One section will showcase portraits of Beaton himself by his contemporaries.

An expanded exhibition will be hosted at the V&A in London from February 8th to April 22nd, 2012. The exhibition will then tour around the UK to Leeds City Museum, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, and Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle.

Notes to Editors

• The exhibition curator is Susanna Brown, Curator of Photographs at the V&A
• The V&A has the oldest museum photography collection in the world and holds the UK’s national collection of photography. The Cecil Beaton collection of royal portraits was bequeathed to the V&A in 1987. It includes 18,000 original prints, transparencies and negatives and 45 volumes of press cuttings.

Dundee exhibition - dates and venue
Friday September 30th to Sunday January 8th
The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum

Admission Free. Opening times: Mon to Sat 10am - 5pm, Sun 12.30 - 4.30pm.
Thursday late opening until 8pm - specially for the Beaton exhibition run.

Exhibition organised by the V&A, London in partnership with the V&A at Dundee.

V&A at Dundee
The V&A at Dundee is being delivered by Design Dundee Ltd, a ground-breaking partnership between the Victoria and Albert Museum - the world’s greatest museum of art and design - and Dundee City Council, the Universities of Dundee and Abertay Dundee, and Scottish Enterprise.

Earlier this year the Scottish Government announced it would provide total capital funding of £3.5 million in 2010/11 and 2011/12 towards the V&A project, with total revenue funding (to cover project running costs) of £1.28 million allocated in 2010/11 and 2011/12.  The revenue funding supports staffing, marketing and fundraising for the project, and the development of what goes on inside the building - including the exhibitions that will run before the building is completed.


Exhibition Publication
V&A Publishing has produced a hardback book to accompany the exhibition authored by Susanna Brown, with contributions from Sir Roy Strong and Mario Testino. For further press information about the book, contact Julie Chan on 020 7942 2701 or email j.chan@vam.ac.uk (not for publication).

08 June 2011

MS: the big knit

A lot of things happened to day and one of these, was an unexpected surprise from RCA and DJCAD design graduate Alison Thompson from 'Somehow Related'. She got in touch to tell me about her innovative new work. So as with all good news stories, I'm sharing it with you - enjoy! And if you're in London between 7-12 June, why not pop along to see it for yourself?

Multiple Sclerosis: the big knit was a collaborative knitting science project to promote awareness and understanding of the disease Multiple Sclerosis (MS) by creating a woolly art installation. The installation consists of three tableaux each highlighting a different aspect of MS: the nature of the disease, the role of genetics and the impact of our environment on the disease.

Knitters from around the United Kingdom were invited to take part in the project, through our website, by knitting elements of the tableaux and sending then in to be included in the final installation. In addition to this open invitation we ran a series of events with knitting and community groups in the Cheltenham area to provide an opportunity for knitters to engage with scientists and discuss MS. Over 70 knitters contributed to the creation of the tableaux, between them knitting over 300 items including brain cells, DNA helices and sunshines.

This installation has been created for The Times Cheltenham Science Festival 2011 to support the festival talk ‘MS’ held on Sunday 12 June. During the Festival it will be the centrepiece of a drop-in knitting corner where visitors to the festival could knit their own piece of science, while also acting as the backdrop of presentations by experts in the field of MS research.

The project engages people with science through the act of creating and via the social nature of knitting. The MS: the big knit art installation will be exhibited at venues around the UK and additional knitting workshops are planned for the future.

DNA and Multiple sclerosis. 

Each human cell contains approximately 2 m of DNA. In this tableau we’re exploring how all the DNA is packaged so that it fits inside the cell without getting tangled. Secondly we’ve shown some of the mechanisms that are used to control the reading of DNA to make protein, (a process known as transcription) that are thought to be important in MS. These are epigenetic modifications and transcription factors.
Multiple sclerosis, the disease. 

This tableau shows a section of brain, revealing the changes that occur during MS. There is an area of normal tissue, an area of inflammation and demyelination, and finally the scar that is left once all the myelin is removed.

Vitamin D and Multiple sclerosis. 
Vitamin D is very complicated, so this tableau represents sources of vitamin D. We’ve got the sun, vitamin D supplements, and two food groups that contain vitamin D: eggs and fish.

Please visit the project website (www.immunology.org/msthebigknit) for details of these events. Contact: Hannah Hope - project co-ordinator.  H.Hope@immunology.org
Alison Thomson – Tableaux designer. alison.thomson@network.rca.ac.uk http://www.somehowrelated.co.uk

16 May 2011

Endless End EAD09

Earlier this month I was at the 9th International European Academy of Design conference, at the Universidade do Porto, Portugal. The overarching concept for the event was ‘Endless End’ as, “[t]here is a sense of vertigo permeating contemporary culture as a whole, and design in particular. So much so, that we often find ourselves wondering if design as we have known it still matters.  Design seems to have lost its universe of focus, branching exponentially into a multitude of concerns and activities formerly situated well beyond its scope. Likewise, design seems to be the new interest of so many professionals situated outside its area of expertise…”

6 themes ran through the conference –

Locality - the role of design in specific social and cultural environments,
Liquidity - design´s redefined and expanding territories
Nomadism - design actively searching for new areas and tools of expertise

Involvement - design as a catalyst for change and progress
Vertigo - 
envisioning what´s ahead, calibrating past inheritances
Education - how can design be taught in era of multiplicity and open creativity?

They were not ‘closed’ themes rather they are open-ended, open to transformation.

It was under the theme of ‘Liquidity’ that I presented the 5-year project ‘Past, Present and Future Craft Practice’, introducing the team and their research, exposing our craft studies through jewellery, metalwork, textiles, interactive media design and film. I talked about the shift in how we communicate craft, how we value craft and its practitioners and how we invest in its future in a collegiate manner.

Of interest to the audience was the new visualization method devised as part of the study whereby I looked to investigate effective new ways of communicating craft. Understanding craft practice as a life-world rather than an object or product of making was the direction. Capturing the layers of activity in a person’s life that have affected their thinking - for example, teaching, travelling, writing, making, exhibiting, hobbies/past-times, people – and mapping these over a ten-year period, the visualization of craft practice offered insight into the circumstances and environments that support and/or hinder creative development.


In addition, the craft as mindful inquiry study suggests an opportunity to re think how we categorise craft, positioning a classification system that doesn’t heavily rely on the issue of materiality but focuses on its cultural significance, thereby offering an approach to knowledge exchange that transcends subject and discipline specialisms – for example, positioning craft as a social, political and/or meditative product.

Questions after the presentation are always critical to the development of a researcher’s ideas and theories. The one that has lingered was from Professor Mike Press who asked, ‘what is the significance of your method and methodology to other disciplines, including design?” It seems an obvious question to ask, but one that no-one has, til now. My response noted 'progressiveness' as the generic issue - how a person, not just crafts people, can measure and improve their performance, levels of creativity and innovation. However, there remained a ‘niggle’. Upon further reflection, I realise that the various research outputs we have successfully delivered (for example the book, website and research papers) give some insight, but the ‘significance’ has yet to be discussed, directly…So, I seem to have found a next step for my research and understanding of its impact!

27 April 2011


Craft Festival Scotland 2011 turns the spotlight onto craft in Scotland during the month of May with more than 40 exceptional exhibitions, workshops and open studio events happening across the country.

The national festival is an opportunity to enjoy the diversity of craft in Scotland and create an inspirational memory from visiting artists’ studios in Fife, Dumfries & Galloway and West Kilbride. It offers the chance to see and buy quality work by leading international artists working in glass, silver, textiles, wood and metal. It also presents fun ways to learn about making and, stimulating interactions with beautiful objects.

The festival, now in its second year, aims to showcase the imagination and inventiveness of craft in Scotland. The 2011 programme includes a unique exhibition of glassworks inspired by Perth museum’s reserve collections.  It is a ground-breaking collaboration with the Scottish Glass Society and a number of contemporary glass artists have produced new creations for display alongside the original artefacts. Other exhibitions include solo shows by artist and maker Lizzie Farey and her extraordinary work with Scottish willow, Alison McConachie, glass, Sara Keith, textiles, Patricia Niemann, jewellery, Jeanette Sendler, textiles, Annica Sandström and David Kaplan, glass, mixed shows at the Collins Gallery, Gallery Q and Roger Billcliffe Gallery, and work by the latest graduates from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design University of Dundee, Edinburgh College of Art and Gray’s School of Art, Robert Gordon University.

There are fascinating objects and experiences to be discovered across the country, such as Ballet to Remember by Maria Militsi in Inverness Art Gallery, which is on loan from the Crafts Council Collection and featured in the BBC’s popular A History of the World in 100 Objects. 

Festival attractions include:

·      A Passion for Glass at National Museum of Scotland is a dazzling selection of 140 objects by over 100 glassmakers spanning more than four decades, from the 1960s up to 2009.  The works are part of a collection of modern glass recently gifted to National Museums Scotland by Alan J Poole and the late Dan Klein, world authorities in the field of 20th century studio glass.  A number of objects will be used to explain many of the different processes involved in studio glass. 20 May - 11 Sept 2011

·      Turned & Twisted at Inverness Art Gallery is an exhibition of international works from the Craft Council Collection where thoughts, ideas and materials, have been twisted and turned to create amazing, unusual, unsettling, surprising, amusing and unexpected objects.  The choice of work was influenced by the use of techniques and materials by four Highland makers – Jennifer Cantwell, textiles, Caroline Dear, fibre, Patricia Niemann, jewellery, and Nick Ross, product design – who will show new experimental work in a series of solo exhibitions at the same venue. Turned & Twisted: 30 April – 2 July 2011. Patricia Niemann - Making Progress Spotlight Exhibition 30 April - 28 May 2011

·      Dundee Degree Show 2011: 21 - 29 May 2011;
Edinburgh College of Art Fashion Shows: 4 - 6 May 2011;
Intervention at Provost Skene’s House by third year students, 3D Design, Gray’s School of Art: 7 May – 30 June 2011

·      Metalworks! at Aberdeen Art Gallery showcases the versatility of metalworking with historic silver and modern metalwork from their collection and the Goldsmiths’ Company Collection featuring leading British makers such as Gerald Benney, Junko Mori and Chris Knight. 19 March 2011 – 3 March 2012 Free

·      Open Studio Events - Angus Open Studios: 26 - 30 May 2011, Spring Fling: 28 - 30 May 2011, Open Studios North Fife: 6-8 May 2011, West Kilbride - Craft Town Scotland Studios: May

·      Trove, an exhibition by the Scottish Glass Society, in partnership with Perth Museum and Art Gallery, shows new artworks by 25 glass artists that reveal the hidden treasures of the museums reserve collection.  28 March - 31 December 2011

Craft Festival Scotland is a new national initiative led by Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee and in 2011, it is supported by HI-Arts Craft Development in partnership with Highland Council Exhibitions Unit and RIO (Really Interesting Objects).

Full festival programme at:                  www.dundee.ac.uk/djcad/cfs2011/events
For updates on new events in May:    www.facebook.com/CraftFestivalScotland

21 April 2011


 Mr Philip Long has been appointed as the Director of the V&A at Dundee. Mr Long is currently Senior Curator of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and leads the National Galleries of Scotland's Artist Rooms project. As Director of the V&A at Dundee he will lead the project to establish an international centre for design on the banks of the river Tay.

“I am delighted that we have been able to appoint Philip Long as Director for the V&A at Dundee,” said Lesley Knox, Chair of Design Dundee Ltd, the company delivering the V&A at Dundee.

“This is a very significant moment for the project. Philip Long has an outstanding background in culture and the arts, particularly in relation to museums and galleries, and he is the ideal person to take our project forward.” Sir Mark Jones, Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, said, “We are delighted that Philip Long has agreed to become Director of the V&A at Dundee. His great knowledge of and enthusiasm for twentieth century and contemporary design, and his proven talent for communicating contemporary art to a wide public are just what is needed for this exciting project.”

Philip Long said, “It is an honour to have been appointed to lead the V&A at Dundee to reality. The design for the new museum is superb, and the idea for the project is inspirational. V&A at Dundee will be international in ambition, and will rightly celebrate the vital part Scotland has played in design history, as well as being a focus for design-led innovation and opportunity in our country.”

Philip Long has been Senior Curator of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art since 1998. Since 2008 he has been responsible for leading the National Galleries of Scotland’s Artist Rooms project, which in collaboration with Tate brings exhibitions of international contemporary art to museums and galleries across the UK. As an acknowledged expert in Scottish art and design, Philip Long has organised exhibitions and written highly praised publications on William Gillies, Anne Redpath, the Scottish Colourists, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and on the architect Basil Spence. From 2003-10 he served on the Scottish Arts Lottery Committee and in 2007 was invited to curate Scotland’s national representation at the Venice Biennale. Most recently, he worked with the artist Antony Gormley to develop a major public artwork installed across Edinburgh.

The V&A at Dundee is being delivered by Design Dundee Ltd, a ground-breaking partnership between the Victoria and Albert Museum - the world’s greatest museum of art and design - and Dundee City Council, the Universities of Dundee and Abertay Dundee, and Scottish Enterprise.

Design Dundee Ltd is aiming to create a landmark building, which will be sited at Craig Harbour right on the banks of the River Tay. The site is being made available through the Dundee Central Waterfront Partnership, the joint venture between Dundee City Council and Scottish Enterprise which is revitalising the prime area of land linking the city centre with the River Tay. An international design competition for the V&A at Dundee building was won by the Japanese practice Kengo Kuma & Associates. The building will create a world-class public space that celebrates the creative culture of design, the evolution of design, its role in our lives, its economic impact and its commercial relevance.


03 April 2011

London on the Weekend - yohji yamamoto and the cult of beauty

For the past year I have been part of the Product Team for the V&A at Dundee project. As you would hope it's a dynamic project with many interesting facets. This weekend, in my mind, was a particularly important milestone as the touring exhibition of the architectural designs for the V&A at Dundee building, is displayed in V&A South Kensington in London (until 15 May, 2011). Professor Paul Thompson, Rector of Royal College of Art and Lesley Knox, Chairman of the Alliance Trust and Dundee Design Ltd (the charitable organisation established to make V&A at Dundee happen) spoke of the significance of the initiative and the quality of Kengo Kuma's architectural design. Professor Thompson gave insight into the exhibitions that would be travelling to Scotland in the pre-opening (2011-2014) and post-opening (2015-17) periods and, Lesley Knox looked to the future where Dundee would be known for the 3 D's - Design, Digital and Discovery.

For me the excitement of V&A at Dundee was also to be found in the atmosphere of V&A London on Friday evening. It was filled with an array of positive noise and energy - the place was simply alive with people socialising! It was a stark statement and one couldn't help but be impressed by the achievements of the V&A who have transformed the concept of a museum and changed people's perceptions of what a museum is in the 21st century. Who knew ten years ago that we'd be saying 'Let's have a night out at the museum on Friday!'

As well as the architectural design display, the delights of the V&A included a spectacular retrospective of fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto (- over 80 garments form the last 30 years). The breadth and depth of Yamamoto's portfolio is jaw dropping. Being up close and personal with design of such deep integrity was inspirational. His attention to detail and his approach to playfulness is really special.

A sensational history lesson via The Cult of Beauty exhibition was also enjoyed. Indeed, I don't recall the last time I had such a meaningful conversation with colour, be it subtle, sympathetic, bold or mischievous. And whether you love or loathe the aesthetic movement 1860-1900 (e.g. the work of Lord Leighton, Albert Moore, John Everett Millais, John Ruskin, Dante Gabriel Rosetti) it has a lot to teach us, still.

Two different design commentaries, both utterly inspirational.

08 March 2011



Global Service Jam is a global event focused on customer experience and service. In the spirit of experimentation, co-operation and friendly competition, teams from Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, Istanbul, Cape Town, Sao Paulo, Valencia, Berlin, London, Toronto, Calgary, New York, San Francisco and Glasgow will have 48 hours to develop brand new services inspired by a shared theme.

On March 11‐13th in The Lighthouse in Glasgow, Global Service Jam Scotland will be a high-energy, collaborative & freeform event, in which some of the brightest minds in Scotland will get together to design new services in parallel with a whole host of jams across the world.

The participants are a made up of a good mix of creatives, service designers and industry, public sector & service experts and we will be using social media channels so that anyone in Scotland can participate; they donʼt have to be physically present.

Global Service Jam originates from Nuremberg. It is a non-profit activity organized by an international network of service designers, who all share a common passion for growing the field of service design and customer experience.

Are we doing something that has never been done before? YES
Log on to http://www.gsjamscotland.org.uk/

Contact: Sarah Drummond

Tel: 0141 5661492
Mob: 07903518475
Email: sarah@wearesnook.com

04 March 2011

Craft in Scotland – a reflection on the first Decade of the 21st Century

by Tina Rose,

NB Long Post

This post is in response to my observation that there is a paucity of annual reflection on craft or record of achievement, for as observed by Paul Greenhalgh (2007) ‘history provides the CV of a discipline......the seriousness with which a discipline is regarded flows heavily from how it’s been dealt with historically’.

As Dr Helen Bennett, Portfolio Manager Creative Industries-Partnerships at Creative Scotland (formally Head of Crafts, Scottish Arts Council 1993-2010) retires, it seems appropriate to look back, and remember what has happened over the first decade of the 21st century.

Although familiar arguments are always raised when you talk about craft in Scotland, there is no doubt we are making progress.

The decade began with the Scottish Arts Council working in partnership with Scottish Enterprise to carry out socio-economic research of the sector in Scotland and from this they developed a five year craft strategy 2002-07. It created a framework for the direction of funding to support individual professional development and exhibitions, which hopefully will be reflected in the business plan of the new Creative Scotland.  As Helen said in her retirement speech, when she started in the new role there were only two people working to support makers, now there is a network of people across the country.

One of the most significant outcomes has been the creation of a national web resource, craftscotland, launched as an independent organisation funded by the Scottish Arts Council at the Challenging Craft conference at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen in 2004. This was one of two international conferences held in Scotland over the decade, an impressive achievement for a small country.  The second international conference – New Craft, Future Voices - took place in 2007 as part of PPFCP.

craftscotland has grown steadily since it was established to promote the best of Scottish craft, reaching its targets to first establish the website with a maker and venue directory and craft news, then hold exhibitions in the UK and internationally with Scottish craft now represented at Collect in London.  In 2008 there was a change of title as it became the first national audience development agency for craft, offering marketing opportunities to makers through special campaigns and collaborations. www.craftscotland.org

There have been many significant anniversaries marked over the past decade which illustrate the strength and vitality of craft organisations in Scotland.  The Scottish Potters Association celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2004, and the Scottish Glass Society also reached 30 years in 2009, with the 400th anniversary of Scottish glass in 2010.  In 1995 North Lands Creative Glass in Lybster celebrated 10 years as an international centre for excellence in glass continuing to run an international series of masterclasses and conference every year. www.northlandsglass.com

Cove Park in Argyll, the international centre for the arts and creative industries, founded in 1999, has grown over the decade and now enables makers to research and develop new projects through craft residencies. www.covepark.org

Another fascinating development has been the growth of open studio events.   From a few sporadic individual events it has become a regional activity; indeed anyone travelling to every event would be likely to find over the year that they would have visited almost every part of Scotland.

Of course, it is not all good news.  There was the sudden and dramatic closure of An Tuireann on Skye, the loss of Applied Arts Scotland, the only national independent voice for makers, and there is still no replacement for Artisan, the national selling event last held in 2002.

And there were sad losses, in particular Dan Klein, who will be remembered not only for the establishment of North Lands Creative Glass but also through the gift of his and Alan Poole’s glass collection to National Museums Scotland.

It is impossible to mention all the exhibitions, or the accomplishments of individual makers over the decade, but some achievements need to be recognised.  

The memorable and wonderfully innovative Big Willow installation in 2007 on the Brahan Estate by American artist Patrick Dougherty working with members of the Scottish Basketmakers Circle, which happened because of the imagination of Valerie Pragnell.

The showcase of Scotland’s indigenous crafts during the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC which was attended by several million US tourists.

And Silver of the Stars, a collection of contemporary Scottish silver made by some of Scotland’s finest silversmiths in collaboration with famous names from film, fashion, theatre, music and literature, which has been touring since 2007.  Organised by the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh it has travelled over 30,000 miles around the world, been seen by more than half a million visitors in the UK, USA, Canada, Russia, China and Japan, and is now touring Europe. It was also in Silver: Made in Scotland at the National Museum of Scotland in 2008 which celebrated the 550th anniversary of hallmarking in Scotland www.silverofthestars.com

However, as well as taking Scottish craft around the world, there have been imaginative collaborations which have brought European and international craft to Scotland.

In 2005 Maker-Wearer-Viewer curated by Jack Cunningham showed the work of over 70 contemporary narrative jewellers from 20 European countries. In the same year at the Collins Gallery East Weaves West brought together basketry from Japan and Britain showing for the first time over one hundred and ten artworks by forty seven leading makers.

Fife Contemporary Art & Crafts in St Andrews (formed in 2006 after the closure of the Crawford Arts Centre) created an exhibition in 2009 of international contemporary jewellery in collaboration with Galerie Marzee in The Netherlands. At a dinner prominent Fife individuals wore jewellery selected for them and were then filmed talking about their responses to the pieces which were exhibited at place settings www.youtube.com/user/fifecontemporary#p/u/5/jPZNcS31QqY 

Shetland Arts researched the work of artists and designers in northern Europe to explore the concept of portage in terms of transporting and exhibiting artwork in a remote island location which resulted in three exhibitions in 2010; Crossing Points, Textiles, extremes of scale and Finger Symbols with an imaginative film of the work www.shetlandarts.org/portage-finger-symbols-film-exhibition-preview/

Initiated by Past, Present and Future Craft Research at the University of Dundee, galleries and organisations across the country worked together for the first national festival of craft, Craft Festival Scotland 2010, featuring 101 exhibitions and events. www.futurecraft.dundee.ac.uk

The opening of the new Dovecot in Edinburgh’s Infirmary Street in 2008 not only created a stunning focus for textiles but also a new exhibition space.  www.dovecotstudios.com Working with IC:Innovative Craft, which was launched in 2005 to explore different ways of celebrating excellence and imagination in craft in Scotland and internationally, there has been a programme of unforgettable exhibitions, in particular the maker/curator series in 2010.  This important development gives craft its rightful place in the arts scene in Scotland and also strengthens the position of Scottish craft as a serious player in the international craft world.

Looking at what has happened to craft in Scotland over the past decade through the work of talented, enthusiastic and creative individuals and groups, working locally, nationally and internationally, there are some amazing achievements, and looking forward to initiatives such the V&A arriving in Dundee, there are many more to come.


Greenhalgh, P. (2007) In, Valentine, L. and Follett, G. [eds.] (2010). Past, Present and Future Craft Practice. Edinburgh: National Museums Scotland Ltd.

29 January 2011

Canada Research Chair in Applied Creativity

Advancing the visual arts.The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD University) invites applications and nominations for:  

Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Applied Creativity

Subject to budgetary and final approval by the Board of Governors, this is an Assist. Prof. tenure track appointment governed by the Collective Agreement, which commences July 1, 2011.

January 15, 2011 and will continue for the next few weeks

We believe that teaching and learning in the visual arts must be centred on a practice-led ethos that encourages interaction between disciplines and across cultures, seeking to equip graduates with the skill of sustaining and renewing knowledge throughout their careers. Our graduates succeed because they are open to indeterminate situations and are able to apply their creative skills to current and future, social and personal, issues and problems. We are seeking a fellow faculty member who shares our interest and passion for practice-led inquiries into the nature of creativity and can collaboratively advance research in fine and media arts, craft and design studio practice.

The successful candidate will demonstrate the potential to achieve international recognition in the area of practice-based interdisciplinary creative research. Working in the Institute of Applied Creativity (http://nscad.ca/site-nscad/media/nscad/strategicplan.pdf), s/he will mobilize established studio and academic strengths within NSCAD and participate in local and regional research networks.

Candidates for this position should hold a graduate degree (PhD, MFA or MA, MArch, MDes), teaching experience and creative research profile. Applications will be reviewed with interviews via Skype starting January 15, 2010 and at CAA 2011 until a candidate is chosen. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority. Hiring will be in accordance with NSCAD University’s policy on non- discrimination. The application must include the following: a statement outlining qualifications for this position, a portfolio of professional work, a research plan, a curriculum vitae, a sample of relevant published writing, and the names and contact information of three referees. The University will seek permission from the applicant before contacting the referees.

James Moy, Provost and Vice-President Office of Academic Affairs and Research NSCAD University 5163 Duke Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J 3J6 phone: 902 494 8125 fax: 902 425 4664 NSCAD University Founded in Halifax in 1887, NSCAD University is an international centre of excellence for the study, practice, and teaching of the visual arts. NSCAD University offers Master of Design and Master of Fine Arts degrees along with Bachelor of Art in Art History, Bachelor of Design degrees in Interdisciplinary Design, and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Ceramics, Film, Fine Art, Interdisciplinary, Intermedia, Jewellery and Metalsmithing, Photography, and Textiles.

For more information, please visit www.nscad.ca.

28 January 2011

Willow Fuelled with Emotion

Willow artist Lizzie Farey describes a calmness that feeds her work, which comes from her connection with the natural materials, and this sense of restfulness and harmony is tangible in her new exhibition Spirit of Air: Inscriptions.

The solo exhibition, which began in Gracefield Art Centre a year ago, then visited Piece Hall in Halifax, is now at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh, and the final venue has given her a chance to create several new large scale pieces.

Lizzie is one of an increasing group of artists, such as Joanna Gilmour, Dale Behennah and Anna S King, who are pioneers in the way they are exploring the creative potential of fibre as a means of expression.

Internationally recognised for her stunning sculptural baskets and forms, she felt there was a conflict between her desire for creativity and the functional view of basketmaking.  While visiting Japan she had experienced the Japanese aesthetic of beauty and simplicity, and a Scottish Arts Council (now Creative Scotland) Creative Development Grant gave her the time to develop her new ideas and freely explore the beauty of willow. 

In these new large scale wall pieces she seems to draw with willow, each strand like the line of a pencil.   “Ideas and thoughts, like migratory birds, arrive in my head” she explains.  “I start out thinking I’m going to make birds or figurative work, but my hands come back to shapes that haunt me; the willow must follow its course”.

Her work is fuelled with the intensity of thought during its creation.  Describing the darker emotion behind the piece Sospiri she says “It is about winter and a kind of sorrow that I experience when the light fades.  It is a very sad piece but redeemed by one willow leaf coated in gold leaf which represents the hope that is always there.”

At the exhibition opening Professor Simon Olding, Director, Craft Study Centre, Farnham, said “Her work is touched with respect for organic materials and yet it challenges that material to the limits of endurance.  She does this with a compelling modesty and subtle force.  She finds the telling contrast of stillness and motion; of solidity and airiness.  I think this may have as much to do with the tranquillity of the elegant landscape of Dumfries & Galloway as to an oriental sense of calm.”

He also interestingly referenced Bruce Chatwin’s novella Utz when the author remarked ‘in any museum, an object dies of suffocation and the public gaze – whereas private ownership confers on the owner the right and the need to touch....(this touch) restores the object to life’.   Simon believed this to be untrue, saying “In the museum we are in the public square: and the value of the public square lies in its openness, its civic freedom and its accessibility.  In this public square, the artist and the museum confer the right to view, the right to private reflection and the right to public discourse.  These are the marks of civilisation.”

This reference to public access has a resonance for the new work by Lizzie, who was commissioned to create a temporary installation for the City Art Centre - Aerie, a nest-like sculpture created from hundreds of individual willow stems - and has been commissioned to create wall pieces for other large public buildings. 

This is an exhibition of artistry.  The work is graceful and majestic, while beautifully emotional.  It is willow in the 21st century.

Spirit of Air: Inscriptions by Lizzie Farey, City Art Centre, 2 Market Street, Edinburgh EH1 1DE until 27 February 2011. Open Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12-5pm, Free.  www.lizziefarey.co.uk

by Tina Rose