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.