Designed for Life
7 July - 22 September
11.00 - 16.00hrs
Suitable for all ages
Designed for Life showcases a collection of objects from five different makers, with a stitch or weave at the forefront. Most pieces are functional, all are exquisitely handmade, achieved by using traditional craft methods, some with similarly traditional practices and uses.
With a spotlight on the growing appreciation for all things handmade, the reinvention of traditional crafts and the exchange of these skills across generations, coupled with the environmental impact of the materials we are using, a wave of weavers and textile makers are now thriving.
These primary skills were fixtures of British life until plastic and other non renewable products arrived in the 1950s and with a surge of environmentally friendly demands in the present day, artists and makers are driven by a more conscious and considered approach to their work.
Designed for Life centres the belief that one can learn so much from the past and that there is so much to take forwards, not only in retaining and exchanging these skills but also considering a sustainable future.
Designed for Life forms part of Aspex’s summer programme exploring the theme of Exchange and all of its potential meanings.
1. Clarinda Tannous
Self taught Macramé artist Clarinda Tannous was born in Australia but currently lives and works in London. Born into a creative family with skills in varied arts, it’s their influence that drove her early forays into the creative world.
Missing the green open spaces of home she wanted a way to bring them indoors whilst making use of the little space she had. Her early practice was centred around plant hangers and the hanging homes she created for her plants developed stylistically and a desire to create art with rope quickly followed.
The showcased works are inspired by natural, celestial and feminine energy.
“Aside from being created with cotton rope, works
that aren’t intended for plants will very often include celestial themes as well as crystals and stones. I feel that art is an exchange of energy and the crystals give an extra layer to that.”
2. Ruth Glasheen
Ruth Glasheen is a basketmaker currently studying for an MFA at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation. Ruth uses a variety of traditional and contemporary basketry and weaving techniques and materials in her work, experimenting with colour and line and exploring connections to places and moods.
Ruth’s lampshades have been inspired by her walks through the South Downs and are made using cane that she has hand dyed and then woven into lampshades. They have featured in The World of Interiors and Country Living’s Modern Rustic magazines.
Ruth has exhibited at Top Drawer, MADE London and COLLECT 2017 at the Saatchi Gallery.
3. Vivienne Turner
An established willow weaver from Devon - fascinated with natural material, Vivienne grows all her own willow in the small South Devon villages of Cornworthy and Tuckenhay nestled on the River Dart. This in itself is a craft she has mastered - maintaining the crop free of weeds and insects.
“Harvesting the willow takes place in November to mid March. You never know which varieties and colours have excelled until the whole harvest has been cut. The crop determines the range of baskets and sculpture to be made during the year.”
After studying a two year City and Guilds qualification in basket making and then teaching for the local authorities, she hosts regular workshops at the Husbandry school in Devon, passing on these magnificent skills.
Rush, Straw, Sweet Chestnut and Birch can all be found in Vivienne's work. She incorporates Hazel and Beech from hedgerows, selecting specific pieces to form unique and individual handles. Combining these elements with the traditional techniques of basket making and weaving make her pieces truly exquisite.
4. Olga Prinku
Designer, maker and concept creator of flowers on tulle embroidery. Olga’s interest in botanical art emerged from a professional background in graphic design and hobby of wreath-making. Working with real organic material as her thread, Olga continues to explore the boundaries of what can be achieved with this aesthetic and technique.
Olga has been featured in various publications and has recently collaborated with brands such as Anthropologie and Swarovski.
“The three pieces I am exhibiting showcase the recent evolution of my work in the medium of floral embroidery on tulle. They draw inspiration from folkloric tapestries”.
“Using plant-based material as my embroidery thread has helped to deepen my sense of connectedness with the natural world, prompting me to notice intricate details about plants and appreciate their life cycle: each stage, from bud to seedpod, offers opportunities to create”.
5. Ruby Cubes (Jessica Geach)
Ruby Cubes is a textile studio, based on the idea of experimentation and exploration. Full time artist Jessica Geach founded Ruby Cubes back in 2015 as a way to fully explore her lifelong passion for textiles. Starting her self-taught journey as a textile artist and a textile restorer, repairing dresses with her hand sewing skills and having always had an innate love for tactile objects, Jessica soon discovered that her greatest passion lay in creating 3D objects that were both tactile and purposeful.
“Currently I’m experimenting with a number of new techniques and incorporating these into my regular designs. I have a particular focus on creating things that are both beautiful and useful because I’m very aware of the throwaway culture that as a society we are now trying to reverse. The unbleached cotton that I work with is amazingly more robust than it seems at first. It washes well and is very strong.
“Working in 3D came very naturally to me and I think I am drawn to basket making in particular because basketry is the perfect balance of creating art and function”.