TIRAZ: Widad Kawar Home for Arab Dress

TIRAZ is the newly designed centre in Jordan for Widad Kamel Kawar’s collection of Arab dress. This is the most extensive collection of Arab textiles from the 19th and 20th century.

Widad Kawar Collection
Created over the course of a lifetime the collection includes more than 2000 traditional garments, including those for celebration, everyday and religious use. The variety of styles, colours, and patterns reflects 19th and 20th century Arab cultural affiliations and social structures, offering an insight into the cross-fertilisation between Jordanian, Syrian, Bedouin and other Arab cultures.

According to the TIRAZ centre website, ‘the Widad Kawar costume collection represents a story of human beings, and a form of history itself, woven in thread’.

The new website designed for the centre combines photographic images of the garments with computer-generated details of specific motifs.

Jaffa - photographic view
Jaffa - computer-generated motif detail

The Widad Kawar collection has been widely exhibited internationally and will hopefully visit the UK in the near future.

www.tirazcentre.org/en

LYDIA WOOLDRIDGE: New Blogger for SITselect

Lydia studied Textile Design at Loughborough University; this included a year studying Communication Design at Hochschule RheinMain in Germany (2009-2013). Since then she has completed an MA in Modern Languages at the University of Bristol (Visual Culture pathway). Lydia’s research explores the use of textiles to express transcultural encounter. Her MA dissertation, Appropriations of the Oriental Carpet in Contemporary Art, analysed artwork that adopts the oriental carpet as its subject matter to engage with transcultural issues.

Maker in Focus Juliette Bigley

Juliette Bigley in her studio

Silversmith Juliette Bigley in her studio

We are delighted to announce that the next Maker in Focus, SITSelect’s partnership with the very lovely Guild at 51, will feature silversmith Juliette Bigley. Working in silver and base metals, her work is both sculptural and functional and involves creating relationships within the piece, between the pieces and between the pieces and the viewer.

In her artist’s statement, Juliette writes that ‘our lives are brightened and coloured by the objects with which we surround ourselves.’ That is certainly true of her fascinating vessels.

Below is a selection of images but to appreciate this work fully, head for the Guild at 51 between October 28th and November 30th.

Guild at 51, 51 Clarence St, Cheltenham GL50 3JT, 01242 245215; http://guildcrafts.org.uk/the-guild-at-51-cheltenham/ Open Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm

www.juliettebigley.com

Conversational  Vases, stirling silver.

Conversational Vases. Sterling silver.

Conversational vessels, Water and Wine 3. Silver plate

Conversational vessels, Water and Wine 3. Silver plate

Split Bowls, Salt and Pepper A3. Gilded Britannia silver

Split Bowls, Salt and Pepper A3. Gilded Britannia silver

Lucky for One 3. Patinated brass with gold plate.

Lucky for One 3. Patinated brass with gold plate.

Small Vases. Sterling silver and patinated copper.

Small Vases. Sterling silver and patinated copper.

Selected

SITselect journal issue 1 2014 cover web

This post is a shameless celebration of SITSelect’s fabulous new initiative, Selected, a bi-monthly printed journal produced in celebration of makers, making and brilliant creative people who make our lives more beautiful and enjoyable.

Sebastian Cox in his workshop. Photography by Ben Wright

Sebastian Cox in his workshop. Photography by Ben Wright

Canvas Tent by Joseph Hartley for Trouble at Mill

Canvas Tent coat by Joseph Hartley for Trouble at Mill

Creation of Lewis & Wood Royal Oak wallpaper. Photography Mike Garlick

Creation of Lewis & Wood Royal Oak wallpaper. Photography Mike Garlick

People such as Sebastian Cox who makes very pleasing contemporary furniture from wood he coppices himself; glass artists Sally Fawkes and Richard Jackson, artist- weaver Jilly Edwards, designer maker Joseph Hartley, jeweller Mei-Ling de Buitlear, textile designers Amy Gair and Anna Gravelle, fabric and wallpaper makers Lewis and Wood, interior designers with a social conscience Nadia Oliver and Natasha Berri and collector of contemporary applied arts Charmian Adams.

Tufted, printed and laser cut fabrics by Anna Gravelle

Tufted, printed and laser etched fabrics by Anna Gravelle

Nadia Oliver and Natasha Berri

Nadia Oliver and Natasha Berri

Selected is available to buy via the website, http://www.sitselect.org/journal.html and the following shops and galleries:

London

Bookshop at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour; Contemporary Applied Arts; Lewis and Wood Showroom Chelsea Harbour; Pedlars; The New Craftsman

South

Craft Study Centre, Farnham; Devon Guild of Crafts, Bovey Tracey; Lewis & Wood, Woodchester; Stroud Bookshop; The Guild at 51, Cheltenham

North

Touchstones Gallery, Rochdale

Wales

Makers Guild of Wales, Cardiff; Ruthin Craft Centre, Denbighshire

The Spring/Summer issue is already underway and sees us travelling from Stroud to Hamburg (and a few places in between) in search of truly creative and original makers, designers and thinkers. We will bring you bicycle creators and piano makers, prisoners who have found purpose through sewing, willow artists and textile designers who are pushing the boundaries of traditional craft, as well as pages of new talent and some rather special treats.

In the meantime, there is plenty to read in issue one, 10,000 Hours and we will be adding to your enjoyment with linked monthly features on-line. First up is a profile of innovative Manchester-based art/craft/design collective Makers Dozen.

We hope that you will get as much pleasure reading Selected as we did putting it together.

http://www.sitselect.org/journal.html

Future Heritage at Decorex

I have just returned from Decorex and what an unexpectedly inspiring day it was. The theme for this year’s show was the Georgians and the organisers really did embrace the era’s spirit of innovation and craftsmanship, presenting several In the Making feature areas (I watched Watts of Westminster hand block some wallpaper and Nepalese master weavers create a rug for FRONT London) and a Future Heritage showcase.

Michael Eden from Adrian Sassoon at Future Heritage

Michael Eden from Adrian Sassoon at Future Heritage

Wycliffe Stutchbury at Future Heritage

Wycliffe Stutchbury at Future Heritage

 

Superbly curated by Corinne Julius, Future Heritage is a celebration of 21 of the most talented makers working in Britain today. Michael Eden’s form-challenging rapid prototype ceramic vessels (top) rub shoulders with a wall piece by Wycliffe Stutchbury (above) formed from pieces of ancient bog oak excavated three to four feet below sea level, while Laszlo Beckett’s exquisitely crafted and digitally cut cabinets (below) mix with Natasha Kerr’s poignant textile portraits (below middle) and Joe Bradford’s beautiful polyethylene vessels (bottom).

Laszlo Beckett at Future Heritage

Laszlo Beckett at Future Heritage

Natasha Kerr at Future Heritage

Natasha Kerr at Future Heritage

Joe Bradford at Future Heritage

Joe Bradford at Future Heritage

Decorex International 2014 runs at Syon Park, Brentford TW8 8JF until 5pm on 24th September so go if you can. Otherwise, take a look at the Future Heritage website – www.future-heritage.uk

 

 

Highlights from the London Design Festival

There is so much to see at this year’s London Design Festival that my head is spinning. It will take time to digest, but in the meantime these are my highlights:

1. Xenia Moseley’s ladder for Richard and Ab Rogers. Part of the Wish List project on show at the V&A, this is a thing of simple, functional beauty with an added surprise in the shape of a leather slung seat and a folding table.

Richard Rogers & Xenia Moseley Wish List Ladder for Benchmark

Richard Rogers & Xenia Moseley Wish List Ladder for Benchmark

 

2. The Landmark Project by Airbnb in Trafalgar Square. Four little houses presenting four personal visions of what home means. My favourites are by Patternity and Raw Edges – the latter a brilliant response to the problem of small space living.

A Place called Home, Patternity for Airbnb

A Place called Home, Patternity for Airbnb

A Place called Home, Raw Edges for Airbnb

A Place called Home, Raw Edges for Airbnb

3. Lorna Singleton and Sebastian Cox’s Swill collection for The New Craftsmen because it brings together two young craftspeople using traditional skills to create contemporary pieces for sale in the heart of Mayfair.

Swilling at The New Craftsmen

Swilling at The New Craftsmen

4. Paul Kelley’s burnished bronze building blocks.

Bob System by Paul Kelley

Bob System by Paul Kelley

Loophouse Blankets

Cirquedelic red/white by Loophouse

Cirquedelic Red/White by Loophouse

The noon day sun is still hot but the sharp early mornings are a sign that the season is changing and that means we all have an excuse to go shopping. Top of my wish list for the coming autumn is a lambswool blanket by Loophouse. (£195, 140x190cm, including fringe.)

Founded by Lorraine Statham back in 1992, Loophouse is firmly established as one of the UK’s most interesting and innovative rug companies, but this is the first time the brand has used some of  its contemporary repeat prints on blankets. And what a great idea it is: the designs are bold and graphic, the colours rich and the yarns soft. Blanket perfection in other words.

The blankets launch next week at the London Design Festival  and go on sale in mid-October (we like to be ahead of the news at SITSelect) but you can pre-order now at www.loophouse.com.

Reflections peacock/natural by Loophouse

Reflections Peacock/Natural by Loophouse

Reflections Grey/Natural by Loophouse

Reflections Grey/Natural by Loophouse

 

 

 

British Folk Art

Bone Cockerel

Bone Cockerel

I finally got myself to Tate Britain this week to see the much-praised exhibition British Folk Art. And what a joy it is. Showcasing an eclectic selection of genres and media from the 17th to mid-20th century, it has been curated as a series of loosely connected encounters. This light-handed approach works well, leaving the viewer to look on at these – mostly anonymous – artefacts with wonder and delight.

My favourite piece was an exquisitely formed and uncannily realistic Bone Cockerel, made sometime around 1797 by a French Prisoner of War from bits of bone and improvised tools.  There is plenty to delight textile fans too, including George Smart’s paper and fabric Goosewoman, Mary Linwood’s extraordinary woven pictures in the style of the Old Masters and a quilt made by soldiers injured in the Crimean War.

Goosewoman by George Smart

Goosewoman by George Smart

The show runs at Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1 until 31st August. Open 10am – 6pm daily. Contact 020 7887 8888; http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/british-folk-art

Summer in Chipping Campden

Chipping Campden has a long-standing association with craft and design and that tradition is continuing this summer with the arrival of two must-see exhibitions.

Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen Summer Show. Photography Steve Cadmon

Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen Summer Show.
Photography Steve Cadmon

The first is Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen’s eagerly anticipated summer show, which runs until 20th August, and features work from 24 Guild members, plus guest glass artist Sarah Brown and some the best of this year’s graduates from Hereford College. Everything is for sale and there are also opportunities to watch demonstrations and meet the makers themselves. www.guildcrafts.org.uk

Candelabrum by Robert Welch. 1956

Candelabrum by Robert Welch. 1956

The second is ‘Robert Welch, Inspiration and Innovation’ up the road a Court Barn. Welch, who set up his workshop and studio in Chipping Campden, achieved international acclaim as a cutlery and product designer and this exhibition includes major loans such as his 1956 Silver Candleabrum from Goldsmiths Hall, which was inspired by the first UK exhibition of Jackson Pollock’s work. Not to be missed. www.courtbarn.org.uk

The Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen Summer Show is at Chipping Campden Town Hall, High St, GL55 6AT until 20th August. Open daily 10am – 6pm. Please note, the show closes at 4pm on Wednesday 20th.

Robert Welch, Inspiration and Innovation is at Court Barn, Church St, Chipping Campden GL55 6JE until 28th September. Open Tues-Sun 10am-5pm.

The Maker and the Retailer

Ptolemy Mann. Photograph Alun Callender

Ptolemy Mann. Photograph Alun Callender

It may be the holiday season but here at SITselect, we are busy planning our autumn programme. There are a treats a-plenty in store but we are particularly delighted to announce that on Wednesday October 15th,  we will be staging a day of discussion and debate at Heal’s Quarter Cafe in Tottenham Court Road, London.

Flutter collection by Peter Ting

Flutter collection by Peter Ting

The Maker and the Retailer looks at the vital but thorny issue of combining craft with commerce. The first of the three sessions sees internationally acclaimed ceramicist Peter Ting (whose Flutter design has been used by Oasis Stores for one of their A/W 2014 fashion collections)  discussing the role commerce playing in fostering innovative craft and design with textile artist/designer Ptolemy Mann and Heal’s Creative Director Carmel Allen.  In the second, Gemma Waggett, RCA graduate and founder of e-store Nothing by Navy, will talk about getting started, her next career steps and reveal her exciting new work. And in the third, Guy Hills, co-founder of Dashing Tweeds, will tell the story of this exciting, innovative and distinctly idiosyncratic textile and menswear company.

Guy Hills, photograph by Charles Gervais

Guy Hills, photograph by Charles Gervais

And as if that isn’t enough to tempt you to London, the ticket price also includes a very delicious lunch shared with the speakers. Not to be missed.

The day runs from 10.45am – 3pm at Heal’s Quarter Cafe, Tottenham Court Rd, London W1T 7LQ. Tickets cost £32 and can be purchased via our website, http://www.stroudinternationaltextiles.org.uk/heals.html