Information

Scotland The What?!

An online exhibition featuring makers based in Scotland, curated by Dauvit Alexander and Jeff Zimmer.

Location: Scotland, UK
Members: 30
Latest Activity: Mar 23, 2016

Introduction and Artists

When Jeff and I set about curating this exhibition, we were interested in finding the more unusual makers working in Scotland, something a bit different from the tartan-and-bagpipes that are usually associated with the crafts in Scotland, a sad state of affairs when both of us know full well that crafts in Scotland are diverse and exciting and anyone who has visited a Craft Scotland stand - at SOFA, for example - will be aware of this.

Hoots, Mon!

 

For some reason, the response to our call-out was not enormous; we also invited some of our own favourite makers personally and some of them declined to take part. In the end, we didn't manage to pull together a great number of people, so the exhibition approach changed. We decided that rather than abandon the idea, we would allow the few people we had to speak more fully about their work, especially as none of these people are current Crafthaus members.

 

When we were making the selection, we decided to open out the criteria: neither of us like the parochialism which is sometimes felt in Scotland, especially in the climate of the "Independence Debate", and we decided that the only criteria for inclusion - quite apart from the quality of the work - would be that the work had to reference Scotland in some way and be made by makers who use notions of Scotland, especially "place", in their work, no matter how obliquely.

 

Each artist was asked a series of questions which they could answer or not as they chose and where possible, we have included the answers to these questions in the features. The questions were as follows:

 

  • How does living/working in Scotland affect your work?
  • What significance do you place on sourcing materials locally?
  • What trends do you see in cutting-edge craft and design around you in Scotland?
  • How do you form your identity and how does location influence that?

 

We hope that you enjoy the presentation of the following artists - in egalitarian alphabetical order - and that it gives you some idea of the exciting work which is being done in Scotland.

 

Don't forget to visit the additional pages of video and audio work, as well as a section about the curators listed to the right of this main exhibition space.

 

We would like to thank Craft Scotland, Benchpeg and the ACJ for helping promote this online exhibition.

 

 


The Artists




Carrie Fertig

Alchemic Object: Rejection/Muse

Statement:

Carrie Fertig began as a metalsmith in 1986, branched out into stone-carving in 1995 and took up hot glass in 2004. Soon she changed allegiance to flameworked glass, a technique usually associated with small-scale work.

Fertig uses this technique on a huge scale to several ends: to impact and heighten the experience of the site of the work; to involve as many disparate groups in as many creative ways as possible in the research, making or bringing to fruition of a piece; and to provide enticing and encouraging environments for participants' own narratives.

Fertig’s work explores connection and disconnection through sculpture, film, installation and performance. Within these threads of practice, engagement and social inclusion are paramount. The work both uses and comments on the connection/disconnection afforded by social media. Fertig makes sculpture for institutions and commissions. Fertig’s public art installations and performances use various media including glass, light, sound with the participation and input of the audience.

In 2010 Fertig founded a flameworking performance group called Torcher Chamber Arkestra, an experimental platform that explores cultural identity, social and political topics through flameworked glass performance and glass-made music with audience participation. Torcher members come from backgrounds in flameworking, as well as academia and music. Our members come from Canada, China, England, Japan, Germany, Korea, Scotland, South Africa, and the United States, each bringing their own cultural and artistic aesthetics to performances that produce artifacts. Torcher uses flameworking, dance, and music to bring the technique of flameworking to a wider audience in innovative, exciting performances involving the audience in new methods of engagement.

Fertig has been performing with live musicians, making glass instruments at the torch as part of glass musical performances comprised of both live and recorded electronic music. The soundscape is entirely made from glass instruments and the sound of the torch upon which Fertig works.

Ongoing research and collaborative performance work explores the possibilities of glass music with the hearing impaired community as both musicians and audience.

Even in a standing room only venue, live performances have limited attendance due to the capacity of any given space. Film allows me to share performances with a global audience. My performances involve close proximity to fire, which I am paying close attention to. Film allows me to see nuances and larger events that occur outside of my field of vision of my sometimes stationary position in front of the torch. Film is both documentary for dissemination of my practice and that of my collaborators, marketing tool, product, and a learning tool for me. Film captures and condenses changes to installation work over time including interactions with viewers/participants, and changing light affecting the emotional resonance of the work.” 

 

Works:

Alchemic Object: Rejection/Muse (Shown at top of section)

Flameworked borosilicate glass, horse tail, sterling silver, table knife from Bowerswell House, Perth, hair cutting scissors, swatch of Gordon military tartan as depicted in "The Order of Release" by John Everett Millais, burnt spine of 1898 copy of the Stones of Venice by John Ruskin, rose from Brig O' Turk, paint brush remnant, three drops of the artist's blood.

2011, Photo: Simon Bruntnell

Dimensions - 120 x 40 x 20 cm

Alchemic Object: Rejection/Muse responds to Portrait of Effie Millais by John Everett Millais, part of the permanent collection of the Perth Museum and Art Gallery. Gray was married to John Ruskin the famous Victorian thinker, author, and art critic. This relationship remained unconsummated through six years of marriage because Ruskin was apparently repelled by her pubic hair and menstrual blood.

Whilst on a trip to Brig O’ Turk with her husband and John Everett Millais, who was to paint a portrait of Ruskin during this time, Gray fell in love with Millais. Her marriage with Ruskin was annulled; she married Millais and bore him eight children, whilst acting as his muse, manager and model. The annulment of her marriage to Ruskin cost her socially.

Eight vessels hang from sterling silver chain. The rejection over pubic hair is transformed into the sexually charged horsetail on one side, whilst seven vessels

On the other side contain signifiers of Ruskin, rejection, blooming romance, and steadfast devotion.

The work has been made with the help of others, as in the gathering of the knife from Bowerswell House in Perth where Gray was born and in which she married both of her husbands, the rose from Brig O’ Turk, where the three went on the mission of Millais painting Ruskin’s portrait, and where Millais and Gray fell in love.

Flames and Frequencies: performance for glass percussion and fire, film still

Percussion: Peter Ferry and Adam Maalouf

Fire: Carrie Fertig

Electronic glass music: Alistair MacDonald

Sound Engineer: Jason Thorpe Buchanan

Video: Mike Turzanski

Video editing: Carrie Fertig and Alistair MacDonald

Instruments: Shane Caryl, Carrie Fertig, H.S. Martin, Bob Ponton, Jordan Smith, Wil Sideman, Tom Zogas

Rochester Contemporary Art Center, 2013

During a residency at Rochester Institute of Technology, Edinburgh-based artist Carrie Fertig created a glass percussion orchestra. Teaming up with percussionists Peter Ferry (Chicago) and Adam Maalouf (Brooklyn), and Glasgow-based composer Alistair MacDonald, they presented Flames and Frequencies: performance for glass percussion and fire, an inter-disciplinary event of fire, live and electronic music, and glass blowing at Rochester Contemporary Art, New York State on May 10th 2013. This film documents moments in this collaborative performance.

In 2010 Fertig founded Torcher Chamber Arkestra, an experimental platform
that explores cultural identity, social and political topics through flameworked glass performance
and glass-made music with audience participation. Torcher members come from flameworking, academia and music. The British glass orchestra section of Torcher Chamber Arkestra was built for Dr. Alistair MacDonald, director of the electroacoustic studios at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. He composed two pieces, “Glimmer” and “Scintilla”, which were performed with live percussion parts created especially for this performance by Ferry and Maalouf.

Fertig blew new glass instruments in the fire during the performance that were handed off to the musicians and incorporated into their soundscape.

Chicago-based Ferry and Brooklyn-based Maalouf, longtime collaborators, created music for this performance based on planned forms, as they have in previous improvisation and electronics projects such as “Circles and Squares” and the incidental music for playwright Kelsey Burritt’s production of “Threading”.

All of the glass instruments for this performance were developed during Fertig’s residency at Rochester Institute of Technology by Fertig, with assistance from Shane Caryl, Bob Ponton, H.S. Martin, Wil Sideman, Jordan Smith, and Tom Zogas.

This project is supported by Creative Scotland.

 

Homing

Flameworked borosilicate glass. Individual feathers from 30 – 103 cm.

6 meters wide by 5 meters deep by 5.5 meters long

Photo: Duncan McNeill

Installed in the North Transept of Chichester Cathedral from October 8th, 2011- January 17th, 2012.

 

Perthshire Sheep

Flameworked borosilicate glass, 2010, photo: the artist

92x 61 x 80cm

The Perth Museum and Art Gallery wished to commission a glass sheep based on Highland Sheep, viewable on my website. I suggested making a sheep of their area and in my research met with Black faced Perthshire type sheep breeders. PMAG commissioned this work as the first addition to the glass collection in decades as a means to draw new links between departments including design and applied art, landscape painting, social history, and natural history. 

 

Torcher Tailor, the second performance of Torcher Chamber Arkestra

Photo: Simon Bruntnell

Torcher Chamber Arkestra at the 2012 International Festival of Glass in Stourbridge England. Featuring original music by Alistair MacDonald, Juliette MacDonald and Phil Mason. Bride is sculptor Jessica Ramm. Flameworkers: Diana East, Carrie Fertig, Zoe Garner, James Lethbridge, Sabine Little, Yi (Pearl) Peng, Ayako Tani, & Sean Taylor. Many thanks to Patty Niemann for shooting the video.

Torcher Chamber Arkestra is a flameworking performance company comprised of artists from sculptural, neon, scientific, and bead flameworked glass backgrounds. Torcher combines fire, glass, music, and explosives to educate, engage and entertain. Founded in 2010 by artist and chief conductor Carrie Fertig, Torcher Chamber Arkestra takes the concept of hot shop (furnace glass) performance and places it within a torch arena to explode ideas of what flameworked glass is whilst exploring it's performance potential.

Torcher Tailor explores the theme of Union: marital, political, and social, as we build a glass wedding dress live on our bride.

 

Questions:

How does living/working in Scotland affect your work?

As an American ex-pat, I think greatly about the culture and country of my adopted home. Interested in socio-political topics always, I was fortunate enough to be artist in residence at North Lands Creative Glass in 2007 to develop a project on the Highland Clearances. That opportunity changed the curse of my career. The equipment at North Lands was a large influence on my decision to work in a large scale. Scottish history and current events continue to colour my work. The recurring theme of sheep imagery speaks to many symbolic meanings, but carries heavier baggage when made or exhibited in Scotland because of historic events here. I feel fortunate to live in a country where the arts are of national significance and are supported as such financially and otherwise by Creative Scotland and other arts bodies.

What significance do you place on sourcing materials locally?

My most frequent material, borosilicate glass is not made in Britain, so for that I must look outwith this island. Some projects, such as Alchemic Object:Rejection/Muse, included parts that were sourced at the scenes of relationship development/disintegration between Effie Gray, John Ruskin, and John Everett Millais, for example, the table knife, which is from Bowerswell House in Perth, where Gray grew up, married and lived with Ruskin, and married Millias, as well as the rose, found in Brig-O’Turk, where Gray fell in love with Millais, whist the trio were there for Millais to paint Ruskin’s portrait. My practice is

interactive and engagement-centric, so from participants I have collected objects, breath, and private moments and thoughts, wherever I am and that goes in to the work.

What trends do you see in cutting-edge craft and design around you in Scotland?

The use of technology in the making of objects, for example rapid prototyping,

leading to interesting debate on the remove of the hand from making the work.

The use film and performance that incorporate objects, or traditional craft materials or processes with little or no craft object outcome, leading to interesting discussions on how to make a living without producing objects.

How do you form your identity and how does location influence that?

My identity is formed from my concept of self, arising from my work, relationships, and place in the world; where I fit in, in both metaphysically and physically. As some one who is traveling for work most of the time, I have learned to come from an interior sense of self, but still identify with Scotland as being my home, which it has been for most of the last ten years. I became British as soon as was possible and may have to decide to be Scottish; we will see what happens with the vote in Autumn of 2014. 

 

Her website can be found here: http://www.carriefertig.com/

A few videos of her work can be found on the exhibition sub-pages here.

 


 

Graham Johnston

Lead and Steel Vase

 

Statement:

Graham Johnston is a Glasgow based award winning craftsman who designs and produces a unique range of products, predominantly functional vases.

Creating products that allow the owner to engage and interact with is the congruent theme that emerges throughout his work.

Encouraging individuals to personalise his products promotes creativity and subsequently provides a variety of options regarding the aesthetics of the object.

 

Works:

Lead and Steel Vase - base detail

Ness Vase - Front

 

Ness Vase - Back

 

Ness Vase - Detail

 

Ness Vase - Wall-mounted

 

Steel and Glass Light

 

Wall Art, Beech

 

Questions:

How does living/working in Scotland affect your work?

Living and working in Scotland has a direct impact in my work. I do not believe it is possible to live and practice in a country and not be heavily influenced by your surroundings and experiences. This is something that should be embraced and viewed as a positive.

What significance do you place on sourcing materials locally?

This features very high on my list and current practice. I feel local materials should be used as much as possible and incorporated into my craft practice. Not only does this uphold the integrity of my products but also provides invaluable trade to smaller independent suppliers.

What trends do you see in cutting-edge craft and design around you in Scotland?

The most noticeable has been the surge of up-cycling in various art forms converting old products to more contemporary items utilising quality materials by professional craft practitioners.

How do you form your identity and how does location influence that?

My identity as a craft practitioner is always changing and it will continue to do so – I embrace this and enjoy not knowing the direction my craft practice will take me in the future. Depending on where I am living, the location shall continue to heavily influence my work.

His website can be found here.

 


 

Jenny Laidlaw

No Use Crying Over Spilt Milk - Long necklace

 

Statement:

Captivated by the ideas of time and memory I have revisited some of the same themes that inspired my previous work to create my new collection, No use in crying over spilt milk. But now the intricate patterns and entwining branches of old have given way to bent and broken linear structures caught in a stage of transformation. It is a body of work that explores the beauty of the impermanent, imperfect and incomplete.

Evidence of this can be seen on garments that accompany the collection. Braided iron wire and silver form decaying fragments that continue to age and rust, staining the wearer’s clothing with sepia memories of what was once present. These imprinted reminders reflect the images and personal experiences I select and isolate in my jewellery. I recreate those that are most fleeting: the minor and hidden, the subtle and evanescent. The viewer must look closely at the work to discover the intimate details, such as the glint of yellow gold hidden within the rusting strands of wire that are only visible when worn against the skin.

My collection requires acceptance of the fact that jewellery alters, breaks apart, changes colour. Time leaves scars, erodes, and ultimately turns everything to dust. No use in crying over spilt milk captures this essential fragility of materials, memory, and mortality.

 

Works: 

 

No Use Crying Over Spilt Milk - Rusted Brooch

 

Rusted Fabric

 

No Use Crying Over Spilt Milk - Short Necklace

 

A Stitch In Time - Small Brooch

 

Questions:

How does living/working in Scotland affect your work?
The landscape of Scotland has greatly influence my work. The intricate structures that I create with iron wire and precious metals are inspired by the decaying forms I find in nature. From a young age I have walked across the hills of Scotland gathering fragments of moss and textured bark. What started as an excise to keep a young child entertained has now turned into the foundations of my practise. Although I enjoy living and working in Edinburgh, I often escape from the city seeking inspiration in the isolation of the winter landscape.

 

Her website can be found here.

 


 

Sally Morrison

The Bomb - Neckpiece

 

Statement: 

BUILDINGS FOR BODIES

I love hulking edifices of buildings, from the Brutalism of Postwar Britain to the futurism of the USSR. Buildings with a strong presence that command attention and exert power. When I try to isolate the essence of this affinity, the answer can’t be boiled down to aesthetics alone. I feel unwilling to simply downscale the form of a building into a piece of jewellery that evokes only a whisper of the overall experience of it. It’s the power of scale, the domination of a skyline by a structure that can evoke emotions ranging from fear and depression to elation and optimism: that is the most exciting aspect to me.

I want to give the wearer the stature of buildings, to imbue them with the monumentality that a building can exude. I attempt to condense the potency of a large-scale structure into a human-sized object.

I work from first hand photography of water towers, tower blocks and industrial buildings from my home city of Glasgow. I interpret these structures in unusual materials such as breezeblock, rubber and aluminium that are light but have the appearance of weight and density. I carve into the breezeblock and cast in aluminium, trying to find forms that are simple but powerful. I attach these elements together with screws and cold fixings like flat-pack furniture.

 

Works:

Cantilever Ring 3

 

Cantilever Ring 5

 

Space Oranges - Neckpiece

 

Watchstrap - Bodypiece

 

Questions:

How does living/working in Scotland affect your work?

Growing up in Glasgow has given me an appreciation for the raw power of cities. I love its post-industrial cityscape, the power and scale of factories, ship yards and power stations and the ingenuity and human endeavour behind their construction. These themes all deeply influence my work.

 

What significance do you place on sourcing materials locally?

Locally sourced materials aren’t often at the forefront of my mind – perhaps if I worked with natural materials this would be different as the material’s origin would be more significant. However, when working with companies (i.e. Powdercoating) I always prefer to go local. It’s important for me to have a good understanding with people that I’m outsourcing to.

 

What trends do you see in cutting-edge craft and design around you in Scotland?

Scotland has such a rich craft history, and it’s exciting to see how these traditions are being crossed with technologically advanced techniques and materials. I think that this hybridisation of tradition and science is a phenomenon particular to Scottish craft and design.

 

How do you form your identity and how does location influence that?

I do think my identity as a designer has been shaped to a great extent by my environment. Recently, possibly more so than physical location, I’m interested by a place’s cultural anthropology, and very aware of the differences in politics and custom. My work is very much inspired by a particular type of architecture, which could be associated with a specific location – however I think it is more the architecture’s association with a particular cultural ideology that is influencing my identity at the moment.

 

Her website-blog can be found here.

 


 

Patricia Niemann

Sacrum Quiver

 

Statement:

When I am asked what I do, I introduce myself as goldsmith. After school, this is what I became first of all: A professional maker of fine jewellery through a trade apprenticeship over a few years. I have worked as one ever since. It is the most descriptive word I have found for myself.
If we get a bit further into depth, I am also qualified as designer for gemstones and jewellery with a degree from a college at the German hub of gemstone cutting, Idar-Oberstein - and a master’s degree in Glass design from a Scottish one, Edinburgh College of Art. During an exchange to Edinburgh I got heavily addicted to hot glass, a dangerous and thrilling material. All the while jewellery – by that time it had become body adornment – has been my chief fascination. With ‘body adornment’ I do not mean body manipulation, but wearable sculpture which ideally changes the silhouette of the wearer. The human body, its form, complexity and the need to adorn is my main focus. Drawing of the body and design drawing has always accompanied the quest.
A whole host of themes influence my work, but they are all related to fears connected to our body and seem to spell danger and drama.

 

The biggest threat for us is death, one of the most avoided themes. Alas, it is a natural part of life. Avoiding talking about it will only increase the fear, not make you die quicker. Decay and the transitory in general are connected to that. They remind us of our mortality. Anthropology and human evolution are of interest to me, especially how mankind has dealt with death during all ages. I have a strong interest in funeral culture and mortuary archaeology. Caithness, the place in the Far North of Scotland I live and work in, has many ancient archaeological sites, most still unexplored.

 

Anatomy, medicine, disease and infection are other interests of mine. Bones are rather beautiful and functional forms; the workings of the body seem magical. I also find virus forms of microscopic size, bacteria and other infectious agents fascinating. They can cause havoc on us, but can also immunise us and produce medicines and economically useful bacteria.
The Uncanny has a magnetic pull on me. I am constantly trying to turn the potentially repulsive, dangerous, weird – and uncanny – into decorative and wearable pieces. Showing the aesthetics of the supposed ‘Dark’ is one of my chief challenges. My recent passion for lichens and fungi falls into this category. Lichens are a combination of algae or bacteria and fungi. Fungi are neither strictly plants nor animals and they look rather alien. They can be toxic and a sign of decay, but they are also immensely useful in medicine and important for biodiversity and regeneration. Lichens are fascinating miniature wonders, slow in growth, but indicators of clean air and producing oxygen in habitats too forbidding for normal plants.
After a recent experience of designing for theatre, performance has become important in my work, which has always been somewhat theatrical. My film work and photography of pieces worn on the body pays testament to that.

 

Works:

 

Caithness Shroud

 

Dragon Teeth Stole

 

Low Level Radiation Particle

 

Lichen Slug Ring

 

Questions:

How does living/working in Scotland affect your work?
It affects nigh every aspect of my work. In the 10 years that I live and work in Scotland, the surroundings have changed my use of colour (now of more importance and more muted) and my way of looking. I have become more interested in detail and in hidden aspects of the land and culture. The wild and dramatic outdoors are also becoming ever more important. There seems to be no end to inspiring discoveries here!

 

What significance do you place on sourcing materials locally?
It depends entirely on the individual piece. Although recent work always has a local element, it is not always suitable or necessary to use locally sourced materials.

Sometimes the essence of a piece requires local materials. This applies mainly to textile work. One of my pieces, a man-sized cocoon, needed Cheviot sheep’s fleece from the crofting land around me, for example. This breed of sheep was instrumental in the locally much remembered Highland Clearances. Farmers were (often brutally) driven off the land to make space for grazing sheep. A cocoon is about transformation and also protection. Wool is warm and protects from the elements. There is something about my own transformation through relocation in the piece.

In the case of the Caithness Shroud, small bits of local plant material were embedded during the process of making this big textile work, which otherwise consists of fine Australian wool. The ‘preciousness’ of the black material was important to me. It used to be a tradition to use fine black cloth in Highland funerals, hired from the parish and draped over the coffin on the way to the graveyard. The material I chose comes from a place far away, but the piece was made in the big lambing shed next door and the location left its ‘residue’ in the new felted fabric. The piece is also gossamer-thin and is gradually ripping after all the photography, film work and exhibitions it has been shown in. Quite apart from suggesting decay, it also emulates what the locals here call ‘Caitherehness Prayer Flags’ – ripped bits of thin black plastic silage sheeting, which gets caught in Caithness stock fences by the never-ceasing wind.

 

What trends do you see in cutting-edge craft and design around you in Scotland?
Currently I observe a lot of mechanised approaches to craft. While I do see it as essential to learn about using techniques like AutoCAD, rapid prototyping and 3D printing, I worry a little that traditional manual skills are endangered and may be lost very soon in the increasing hunt for efficiency, competitive pricing and ‘product’. On the other hand, Scotland has an immensely creative, immediate and diverse craft and design scene. I particularly relish the increasing openness in cross-referencing cutting edge craft, design and art with science and medicine.

 

How do you form your identity and how does location influence that?
This is a novel-worthy question. I will try to answer as best and briefest I can.
I grew up in Bavaria, southern Germany, a baroque place with strong traditions, proud and passionate people and a strong Catholic ‘vibe’. I am not a religious person, but this had an effect on me. Treasured embroidered Saints’ relics in glass coffins on church altars, religious pathos and art as well as a passion for life, has been planted into my bones there. Something reverberated in me when I came to stay in Scotland, a country also rich in layers of tradition and national pride. Much ancient history is still visible here, along with a wild and dramatic landscape. Caithness, the place in the Far North of Scotland I work from, is remote and to the casual viewer a flat and windswept place on the north coast. You will have the impression of big skies due to an uninterrupted view and low cloud. The light is warm and seemingly magical. Look a little closer still and you find a treasure trove of hidden ancient archaeological sites, vertigo-inducing cliffs, overgrown and derelict buildings and graveyards - and lovely people. The tough weather has deteriorating and also fascinating forming effects. The nigh constant wind and clean air also favour a rich biodiversity. A wealth of inspiration for someone like me!

 

Her website can be found here.

A few videos of her work can be found on the exhibition sub-pages here.

 


 

Kerianne Quick

North Ronaldsay, Orkney 

 

Statement:

I am interested in the relationship between material and source, and the expansive meanings rooted in these connections. I investigate how materials collect their identity according to their geographic origins, cultural histories, and finally as part of a descriptive inventory for the objects they become. By travelling to gather material and information I personalize the connection to the material source and attempt to make tangible that bond. I account for the journey from source to viewer, acting as a liaison, intent on bringing the two worlds closer to one another. As a result of thorough research I become expert and the work becomes a vessel for discovery, communication and understanding. Through this act I hope to discover how my role as a connector of material and histories affects the form of the object and the formulation of the role of the viewer. I attempt to inspire the viewer to consider a complex network of historical, economic, and geopolitical forces that bring an object into existence. Nullifying the notion that art or any designed object can emerge from an insular creative bubble, untouched by history, culture and economy. My specific use of material is dictated by my own inability to express what the material can express with authority. As a maker, I cannot create what the material holds within it, thus I borrow the power of material to communicate. In turn, as a maker I release a form of the material’s own agency that it cannot release itself. This is a cooperative act.

 

The materials I engage share a thread of precarious rarity. They are symbols and symptoms of late capital. Through engagement with the body I explore materials that are at different stages of potential for loss, while using the body as a metaphor for a larger context.

 

I view my work as tangible manifestations of research. The physical object is only half of the output. The other half exists as documentation. What I present is my attempt to find a balance between the physical thing and thoughts, ideas and research in order for the work to be understandable, engaging, and provoking.

 

Works:

North Ronaldsay, Orkney (Shown at top of section)

2011 - present

Sculpture / Ongoing Performance

Hand sheared North Ronaldsay fleece collected during punding week, a traditional farming effort undertaken by the entire population of the island (52). 20 kilos of roving hand spun into 20.9 kilometers of single ply yarn.

As pictured about 213 x 106 x 91cm.

 

The image below is a video still from the performance.

 

 

 

Sound Cameos
Left to right -

 

Kirbest, Nouster Bay

2010

North Ronaldsay white fleece; hand sheared, washed and carded, wet felted, needle felted. Shetland pony hair, MP3 device and speaker, sound recording of Arctic Tern nesting grounds.
9 X 6 X 4cm.

 

Neven, Linklet Bay

2010
North Ronaldsay white fleece; hand sheared, washed and carded wet felted, needle felted. Shetland pony hair, MP3 device and speaker, sound recording of sheep flock.
9 X 6 X 4cm.

 

Sinsoss Point Pund

2010
North Ronaldsay white fleece; hand sheared, washed and carded, wet felted, needle felted. Shetland pony hair, MP3 device and speaker, sound recording of annual Punding (sheep clipping).
9 X 6 X 4cm.

 

Billy-Boy (Worn, front)

 

Billy-Boy (Reverse)

2010

North Ronaldsay white fleece, seaweed, Shetland pony hair, magnets; hand sheared, washed and carded, wet felted, needle felted, laser engraved, embroidered.
10 x 14 x 5cm.

 

Questions:

How does living/working in Scotland affect your work?
Work and place are closely entwined for me. There are inseparable connections between material, history and labor. I discovered North Ronaldsay while I was living in Glasgow during my summer holidays while in graduate school at the University of Illinois, USA. The history of the island and the revival of the fiber community there is a remarkable example of renewed interest in artisanal making and imitable model of determination, resilience and flexibility of a community who are not willing to abandon their crofting and cottage industry history, by not compromising its traditions while adapting its production and distribution.

 

What significance do you place on sourcing materials locally?
The basis of all my work is situated in collecting material; physical, historical and conceptual, from my immediate surroundings. Without this action the work is impotent.

 

How do you form your identity and how does location influence that?
I think about location as having a specific fingerprint. This is in fact a forensically driven set of ideas. When we are children we absorb a specific combination of minerals from the water we drink and from the soil where our food is grown. This inorganic recipe is embedded in the enamel of our teeth were it awaits potential isotopic analysis by forensic anthropologists. In this way, place literally embeds itself in us. More broadly we are marked by our physical environment, culture and history. In tern we mark our environment by what we put in the earth, by our actions and produce. In this way identity and location perpetually inform and reform one another. I think of myself as a physical amalgamation of the places I have lived.

 

Her website-blog can be seen here.

Her Crafthaus page is here.

Video and audio of her work can be found on the exhbititon sub-pages here.

 


 

Angus Ross 

Spring Huggate

 

Statement:

Angus Ross combines sophisticated design, exceptional craft and Scottish wood to create remarkable furniture and functional public art. Working primarily to commission he bends, moulds, sculpts and folds wood at his Aberfeldy workshop for public buildings and spaces all over the UK. The scale of work varies from intricate jewellery boxes to a series of sculptural benches for The Yorkshire Wolds Way National Trail. Angus is inspired by structure and the balance of line and space. His work is characterised by clean flowing lines and an innovative approach to woodworking. Recent work includes the Y Colllection designed to use ash and oak from his own woodland and local Perthshire estates. By developing the ancient art of steam-bending wood (used for centuries to make whiskey barrels, agricultural tools and fishing boats) and combining this with the latest cutting technology he has developed a Y shaped component which supports a range of visually light but functionally strong and ergonomic furniture.

 

After graduating with BSc Industrial Design from Napier University, Angus worked in commercial product design before retraining in furniture making at Rycotewood College, Oxfordshire. Since he established his studio in 1992 he has been regarded as one of the most exciting furniture designer makers working in the UK. Clients include Sustrans, Cheltenham Museum, Leamington Spa Art Gallery, Bristol Mental Health Trust and Newhaven Church. His work has been published and exhibited widely, most recently at SOFA Chicago 2012 and Crafted: Makers of The Exceptional, London 2013.

 

Works:

Spring Huggate (Shown at top of section)

One of a family of commissioned benches for National Trail.
Steambent and engraved oak.
Photograph, Angus Ross

 

Unstable Stool - Ergonomic tilting work stool

 

Steam bent and shaped ash.
Dimensions 50 x 50 x 50 cm.
Photograph, Thebe Mor.

 

Unstable Stool - Ergonomic tilting work stool, front view.

 

Frame Rocker - Delightfully balanced, compact rocker

 

Moulded, sculpted and twisted solid cherry.
Dimensions w 56 x h 93 x d 50 cm.
Photograph, Thebe Mor.

 

Y Bar Stool -  Bar stool, produced in small batches
Sliced, steambent and sculpted oak.
Dimensions: Seat 38 cm diameter; h 94 x w 57 x d 57 cm.
Photograph, Lorna Ross.

 

 

Spiral Tay Bench - Sculptural exhibition piece

 

Steam bent, turned and sculpted oak.
Photograph, Angus Ross.

 

Questions:

How does living/working in Scotland affect your work?
I am very fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland - a gentler landscape than some areas and one of the most forested parts of Scotland. I live and work in an ancient glaciated landscape with rounded worn down mountains, a fertile U shaped valley and a meandering river The area has been inhabited and farmed since ancient times with evidence of many crannogs (early dwellings) on nearby Loch Tay and our valley forms one of oldest routes across Scotland. I have a rural lifestyle with lot’s of time outside. I spend time walking every day and the rhythm of walking helps to clarify my thinking and is an important part of my creative process. During free time I am often physically interacting with, and immersed in, the landscape through gardening, skiing, sailing or canoeing. Perhaps this time outside also means my work resonates with the simplicity and timelessness of the landscape rather than quickly changing fashions and obsession with the new. One of my key processes is steam-bending wood (which has been used since ancient times to make agricultural tools, whiskey barrels and fishing boats) and it combines wood and water in an exciting and physically engaging way.

 

What significance do you place on sourcing materials locally?
Sourcing materials locally has become increasingly important since becoming a co-owner of a nearby mixed woodland which we manage to nurture native trees, improve biodiversity and make it more pleasurable for all to use. It is mostly oak but also has a rare alder wood and the whole woodland is carpeted in wild flowers in Spring. I am involved with growing, felling, milling and drying local wood both directly and indirectly through supporting local businesses. Using this local wood for fine furniture making increases wider appreciation of this wood. The current problems of tree diseases such as Ash Die Back Disease make it even more important that we understand and care for our native tree species.

 

What trends do you see in cutting-edge craft and design around you in Scotland?
Internationally there is a resurgence of appreciation for quality raw materials and the skills involved in traditional craftsmanship which underpins much of the rural economy in Scotland. Scottish designer makers are working creatively with these materials and skills to make new and exciting products. Scottish furniture makers are influenced by the wood they use which influences the techniques perfected.

 

How do you form your identity and how does location influence that?
My background is in design and I start with form and function and aesthetically favour pure flowing lines. My practice has generated a deep understanding of wood and extensive exploration of the craft processes involved. Using local oak and ash trees which tend to be smaller and more irregular than imported trees has influenced the craft process and therefore the design. For example the availability of oak and ash led to steambending which allows me to use green wood and smaller sections of wood in interesting ways. This enjoyable ancient process involves saturating the wood with steam and exerting just the right muscle power to quickly coax and bend the wood over ever increasingly complex jigs. Jig making suits small batch production and this lead to the Y Collection based around a Y shaped sliced and steambent component which supports a range of visually light but functionally strong furniture. Therefore my identity and my work is rooted in my location.

 

His website can be seen here.

Video of his work can be seen on the exhibition sub-pages here.

 


Comment Wall

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Comment by The Justified Sinner on September 21, 2013 at 3:43am

Thanks, Jennifer. What works for some artists doesn't for others, of course. Some people don't really use environment at all and that is a valid approach too. My own work uses materials from my environment but doesn't necessarily reflect that in the final piece. Good to have your thoughts on the exhibition.

Comment by Jennifer Jordan Park on September 20, 2013 at 10:27am
It's extremely interesting to me how each artist has interpreted and/or responded to his/her environment. Ross uses steam to force the wood into smooth, flowing curves while Quick seems to work with the natural inclinations of the wool. Morrison, at times, takes a rather blunt interpretation of body ornamentation in her work that is thought provoking. The focus on source of raw materials and interaction of the physical body with elements in the environment make me wonder how my own work might be more relevant to my position in place and time.
Comment by The Justified Sinner on September 12, 2013 at 2:09pm

Melissa, you are right about Sally. I almost felt guilty about my personal raving about her work as the rest of the show really was exceptional but as I have no duty as a blogger to be unbiased, I wasn't too guilty!

Glad you like the rest of the show. It was a difficult one to put together as people kept humming and hawing and some people who said that they would take part then didn't. There are so many people I really wanted in the show but the flipside of that is that if there had been more people, there would have been less depth.

Comment by The Justified Sinner on September 12, 2013 at 1:20pm

Thanks, Mark. Glad you enjoyed it.

Comment by Mark Fenn - Studiofenn on September 12, 2013 at 10:11am

Wonderful online exhibition Mr Justified Sinner so glad to did not give up with the project. Regards Mark

Comment by The Justified Sinner on September 12, 2013 at 4:30am

Excellent, Heidemarie! Patricia's work is wonderful. I love the way she seems to embrace any material.

Comment by Heidemarie Herb on September 12, 2013 at 3:18am

great exhibition :) !

...funny to see Patricia Niemann here....we went together at goldsmith school at Munich....

Comment by The Justified Sinner on September 11, 2013 at 11:22am

Thanks, Tom! Come and visit any time and meet some of the exhibitors as well as some of the excellent people I wanted to include but who, for various reasons, couldn't be part of it.

Comment by Tom Supensky on September 11, 2013 at 9:46am

Having spent three years teaching in the UK (Bristol, England) and being married to a lovely lady from Bristol, I naturally have interest in Scotland although visits there have been rare.  Yes,  the Scots are as creative as any and you have given ample proof.  Let's face it, any place in the world is not isolated any more and that is a good thing.  Still, we cannot avoid the influences of our own environment.  That is a part of what makes us unique.  Thanks for putting this together.  Cheers...Tom

 
 
 

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