Module: Visual Narrative Module Code: 5VC012 Session Title: Craft Space Session Date: 14th October

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Module: Visual Narrative
Module Code: 5VC012
Session Title: Craft Space
Session Date: 14th October

Those who are specialising with graphic design and visual communications route we are going to launch a live project.

A live and real product.

Emma Dacon and Louise Taylor have come in to talk to us and we have a large brief from Craft space for you to look at.

Craft Space is next year celebrating its 30 year anniversary
Make notes on what the client does and what craft space does and this will form the basis of how you approach the technical basis of this project.
Emma Dacon:
I am the exhibition development manager at craft space which is based at Digbeth, custard factory.
We pioneer in our making and we deal with contemporary craft and try to work with creative and diverse communities within our practise. We feel like there is value to the craft of making with social and cultural diversity and development.
We look at developing artist through interventions, exhibitions and community projects. We increase employment and develop their projects and portfolios.
We also enable them to stimulate and innovate their own work.
We are not a venue, but based in partnership with contemporary craft and the lead venues. We work to program craft into unconventional spaces.
We increase the market share for craft and increase the knowledge of our company and what art forms can offer and we work with different curators and companies and venues and work with cross over audiences.
Sometimes we work through radio to tell the story of making and through this we increase knowledge of our company and social development.

We also work with people from all ages and create opportunities to develop and encourage skills within educational environments and we’ve done a lot of work within mental health.

We build capacity for non-art companies, such as mental health and general health organisations to develop their involvement in art.

Missed information – William Morris
With our exhibitions we do a lot of projects with professional groups and this entire works to show the value of craft and develop opportunities for the development of art in new sectors.
Slide 5:
This is a long term project. Craft space turn 30 next year and made in the middle project is the one constant that started in 1998. Anyone could apply who is based in the west midlands and then selected by a panel of experts and curators.
It happens every 3 years and in 2012 was the 7th version.
We work in partnership and this was with Bilston craft gallery in 2012 and was more than an open exhibition, we looked at more in-depth curatorial themes and interpret the work in more diverse ways and telling a story through the craft.
It tours for about 18 months at a time.
At Bilston art gallery we struck a deal with Ikea and displayed the objects in room sets to demonstrate that craft is relevant to everyone.
We did making workshops with ceramics.
When we styled on craft in the home, we styled our magazine
Slide 6:

In 2006, we worked with Whitby art gallery and museum and developed with rugby museum. So this was looking more at labourers and featured interviews with makers and their lives. You can still apply for made in the middle now, but it’s about what has been developed over time. You can make big works or small works for shop stock.

With the catalogue, we had the traditional and spread out versions.
Slide 8:

I was first involved at developing the 2002 project but I’m very linked into made in the middle.

2012 was the first exhibition to take in the east midlands as well and tours there as well as the west midlands.
The themes are always reflections on what is important at the time. So the theme this time was about the lack of craft and ceramics within education as they closed a lot of the courses within higher education, so we looked at other ways people were learning this skill.
Slide 9:
You’ve got higher education but also apprenticeships to making, or making as a second career, where they’ve changed to something else after they trained. Very few makers survive on making and selling their work. Most do community work or teach or diverse in another areas. Two of the main furniture designers did other work as well.

The focus for this exhibition was digital because in the last 5 years the process of digital formats have risen.

Slide 10:
What are we hoping to do with you?
We have to plan very far ahead and we are keen to develop an online exhibition.

We would like to show how it has developed over the last 30 years and we want to program more digital material.

(New presentation and slides)

Slide 1:
Louise Taylor:

In 1995 I and Geoff worked together ad he designed the first book.

Craft space was my first job as a curator and I’ve curated for 20 years and 60 exhibitions. Have any of you had any contact with the field on contemporary craft?

We are starting we an ideal audience, we are trying to make this area accessible to far more people. We want people to support their local makers.

I don’t you to think that because makers are steeped in clay or weaving or any medium that they are alien to the digital world, because they all use this as their main contact to their buyers.

The communication is the same.
There are now going to be 30 images from the 30 artists who are going to be within the next exhibition.
Three of these people we will pick out for a case study because their concepts are rich and able to be dissected.
30 Artists
Amanda Clayton - 30 years’ experience. She’s a decorative hand embroider but distorts her surfaces. She doesn’t use much colour; she likes the simplicity of dark colours.
Andrew Pearson- He lives in rural Shropshire and he turned wooden bowls for years and wanted to stand out. Missed information, he’s was always fascinated by the back of the wooden seats in churches and he wanted to do something different by carving modern versions of these. If you look closer, you see there are deeper themes going on. Most are made for private commission for clients. He will ask what they want.
Anna Lorenz - Originally from Germany but trained in jewerly at Birmingham. She’s taken her skills into other dimensions and did training in MA sculpture. She’s fascinated by the square and works with grids and structures. Main use - Silver
Slide 5: (Name Missed)
Worked in Sweden at the Orafors factors .Sweden style is very similar to this. She now moving into paintings and she has a feeling for colour and simplicity.
Craig Underhill - Focus on ceramics and they are hand built with a lot of surface colour. He treats his work like a painted canvas. Craig is very interested in the mixture of urban and country.
We asked our artists what they thought the value of the west midlands was and most had a history attached.

David Traub - He moved to England from Texas in the 80s when glass art was just developing. It was when kilns were developing for the home and did his glass at Stourbridge which is world renowned. He’s now moved the New Zealand.

All these artists have exhibited at made in the middle at some point.
Dena Bag - Printed fabrics in glass and uses text and words in combination with her forms. She’s studied curating in Manchester and is interested in identity because her mother and father are from different places and these themed run into her work.

Dennis Farell - very interested in the natural. He used to do ceramics at the university for a while. His colour palette has come alive.

Hannah Lamb - She doesn’t create functional items but items for galleries exhibitions.

She uses photographic techniques MI and uses an Eco print.

Imogen Luddy - Likes the combination of traditional and new, like ceramic and metal with silk and wool. She thinks about the whole environment of which her work sits.

She uses digital technology like digital cutting, traditional and innovation.

Name Missed - Used to look at body adornment and this one is word and text and paper. She works to commission in the public space normally and animates public spaces.
Jane Moore - Simple enamel, decorative jewerly. Inspired by Japanese motif.
Jean Draper - A key figure in the textiles art world from the 70’s. She’s a major figure to have in the region. She was head of textiles at Wolverhampton University for 20 years. She sometimes uses metal stitching with cloth.
This was inspired by a burnt out trees in a wild fire in America.
Jennifer Collier - She likes collecting things from car boot sales, and other things. She likes to use and change the meaning of paper her work. ‘The thoughtful Dresser’, as award winning book. She runs an art gallery in Stafford where others can make and it’s really hard to find space to make work as a practical artist.

Jim Partridge and Liz Walmsley - They work with really robust pieces of green wood, which is where it hasn’t been seasoned, so it’s more likely to split which they like.

They achieved the seat by scorching the surface and waxing it. They are interested in the weight of wood and as a sculpture for seating. They also do smaller works for gallery presentations.
Jo Mitchell - At the moment studying a PHD. There is air bubbles trapped within the glass and this has been done for a while, but what she has done new is alter the size and shape of the bubbles in the glass so she can start to create images and pictures within the glass.
John Grayson - is a case study. He is interested in the history of Bilston enamelling which used to be very successful industry.
He’s tried to recreate that process. Bilston enamels went out of business in the 80’s but some works were still done 5 years ago. He likes to critique modern society.
John Moore - A jeweller who is excited by feathers and wings and dressing up.

His work is very light weight and made with aluminium. He can see people becoming something else when they wear his work.

John Williams - He enjoys the acoustic properties of pots and his exhibitions are about the audience interacting with pots and playing music on them. There are YouTube films available.
Karina Thompson - This is also a case study. She started by making machine embroidered textiles with Greek heads on. Her practise has developed to using a computer programmed machine. They key thing is now the imagery chosen to drive the machine. It is taken from a scan of her heart. She likes behind the scenes, medical imagery to program her embroidery.
Kevin Grey - Worked in the automotive industry making metal sheets for high end cars.

Came out and studied jewellery and wants to make silver seen as sensual and makes more exhibition pieces. Laser antique welding is what he uses to create his work.

Maggie Smith - Made out of a grand piano. Came to basket making after being a therapist and she makes the pieces to mark respect for others and their interests. She finds new ways to give old things new life.

Melanie Thompson - Trained in illustration and graphic design. All these artists think about a lot of things and put this into their work. She is really into stories and has printed metal and a cabinet and her work sometimes moves.

Mike Gell - More traditional work. He also runs a shop and sells jewellery by 70 other makers.
Pottinger and Cole - A lot of the work is for galleries but these are contemporary design, plain and simple, minimal and they are for people to use. They designed worked for made in the middle 2002.They source products from people close by.
Ronald Pennell - One of the best glass engravers in the UK and he often has crocodiles in his work or animals on the verge of extinction. He likes the look at the world of stories.
Ruth Spark - Bespoke products for interiors. They are designed for a particular space or room. She uses glass and other found objects and materials and is done for commissions.
Zoe Hillyard - Patchwork ceramics and is made by digitally printed fragments. She purposely breaks the pots she finds, covers them in material and stitches them back together.

Slide 29:

The internet is essential for a maker to sell their products and networking is very difficult without it.
Anyone seen an online exhibition before?
Student: One from the British gallery and it was on post war paintings.
Louise Taylor: Did you enjoy it?
Student: World war one wasn’t, the narrator wasn’t very good but the other two were god and you could see everything clearly.
Link 1:
Louise Taylor:
Does that look like a site you want to spend a lot of time on?

I didn’t, I wanted to bounce off it. It’s great because I can access lots of information but if I’m not interested in it all, I won’t spend much time on the site.

Link 2:
The Fitzwilliam museum website looks like a book again, it’s clear and simple and I can get a lot of information.

Link 3:

Howie’s is the site wed like you to analyse and see what you think.
This is for selling goods and we know that we don’t need as many layers or as much as is on this site. In the brief there are suggestions on what we need in the website.
The use of a bit of hand drawing that gives you a feel for texture , lines colour, history and we are looking for these things.
Within the site, there is a section called the stream which gives you a behind the scenes look at how things are made. We really want that to come out.
We’ve got lots of people with ideas and we want some individuality to come out in the site.
In terms on sustainability, Howie’s has an ethical standpoint, and it gives you conditions where things are made and the ethical integrity of craft space needs addressing on the site.
I looked also at pedlars. It’s much more commercial, British and quirky. Its homeware, its vintage, its distinctive, it’s a good one to look at but I wouldn’t dwell on it too much.
Simplicity and ease of navigation is to me the most important things.

You need to give someone a reason to go further.

We are after a bigger audience; it’s one of our missions.
But we also have specialists and we want to try to make stuff available in archives o they can pursue their researches if they want to.
The want the first few pages to be giving the general visitor what they want and to use language.
We have images of all the makers and I have to write in a way which is easy to understand.
It will be quite symbiotic and so you can tell me if I’m being too wordy,
On the blog pages on living less ordinary, there is loads of information of the artists.
Any questions?
Are all the profiles on the website?

Course Lecturer:

30 artists, with 3 images each; and 3 questions for each artist. Then there are 3 more detailed case studies. We don’t want to have to give autobiographies for all the artists. We also want places to leave comments and to link to Facebook and other social Medias.
The whole point is to produce something that engages with people like you. Something that shows off and works on desktops or mobiles.
When the exhibition goes live it will help direct people towards to exhibition.
Course lecturer:
Take the sheet home with you and read through it and ill cover the main points and things to think about now.
It’s not the kind of work we normally get involved with but it’s probably something you know.
We are looking at the creation of a website with information about the artists.

We are going to be using WordPress and every one of you should have a WordPress blogs.

This will be the basis to create the site.
Why are we using WordPress? Because it is open source, it is easy for the clients to take control of the website with the dashboard. You can put word and videos and images in very easily.
We have an idea on content and the level on information we are going to include for craft space. They are looking for guidance from you as designers.
How are we best going to present the visuals?
How best will we engage the audience with the artist’s work?

WordPress can be edited in many ways and what you could first do is just look at different templates and find something that might fit with what you’re looking to do.

The second thing to look at is the idea of texture and hand made. We are looking at very precious one off items and it’s about precious pieces.

The aesthetic of your design needs to promote the handmade precious items.

It terms of colour, if you put too much colour in, does this lessen the images the artwork you’re promoting? Think about complimenting them.

There are some great examples of the Howie site of hand drawn text.
It might be that you create a headline with something you paint yourself and then use this. If not, think about textures in the background, does the background need to be white, or could it take on the texture of a brown piece of paper?
It has to be easy to navigate, simple and compliment the pieces of artwork.
You need to look at WordPress and gather research ideas of how to design it.
There are links to other websites you can refer to on the document for craft space.
The schedule, we are going to be running this project for 6 weeks and week 1 is just at its end. There will be two sessions on WordPress and at the end of this session we want to see that you’ve experimented with stuff.
We want a minimum of one beautiful set of visuals done in Photoshop. I am not expecting a fully coded WordPress site ready to go.
The professional designer will be tasked to take your visuals and making it work.

You are not having to program or alter HTML of the website; we are after a Photoshop set of visuals.

When you read the brief, the splash page may just be an amazing set of images that change with the navigation and the next stage might be the artists individually.
You can also look at the craft space website and there are some postcards here.

At the moment it is being updated, so just look at the information.

What do you get after doing this?
Obviously a grade , but the other part is that your all in competition and one design will be selected from one student and you will get to work in the designer studio and learn how that is done. You will also have an opportunity to spend time at craft space in Birmingham.

Next week I want ideas and research and thoughts. Start looking at craft items.

If you’ve never thought about textiles or ceramics, start now. Etsy is a great website and look at what’s out there and how it is marketed.

You don’t have to build the site in WordPress, we are just asking you to investigate the possibilities of what is achievable through WordPress.
We are expecting you to work through a design process, what works and what doesn’t against the nature of the project and what will be useful and effective at communicating this type of artwork.
The design that is successful will also be credited on the website and this is great for your portfolio as normally you wouldn’t have the opportunity of that until you’ve left.
A thank you to Louise and Emma.

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