Sunday, 17 July 2016

Catching Up,,,,,,,,

Catching Up ------

I had promised myself to write daily and be diligent in capturing my thoughts from each experience. I have done so in my trusty moleskin notebook but not so in this blog. A day in archives and collections is more energy sapping than one expects.....such a poor excuse.
Back to Tilburg so many days and experiences ago now.

Gallery 1 – Textiel Lab
one of the small looms
Walking into the space the first time totally lifted my heart (bit extreme I know for blog writing!) Here laid out within a museum setting was exactly what I had aspired to within Hat Works and within the textile museums in Yorkshire. Textiles, artisanship, design and manufacture totally alive and well and moving forward. Not ignoring the past but aware of the history and skills and breathing in new life with sound commercial underpinning and an awareness of market needs.

Within the lab area is a design hub where meetings can be held and the managers of the space work. A weaving hub with a range of new high quality looms, the Lab work with Dornier Jacquard Loom company who appreciate and welcome the unique synergy between atelier and museum in leading to new textiles. Including 3 jacquard looms, 2 plain looms, one similar to the Yorkshire Hattersley, but powered by a static bike, which visitors can ride on and weave cloth. The jacquard card puncher was a particularly beautiful thing.
The looms were quietly humming away. On my first visit one was weaving cloth to be sold in shop as table linen, another was having its warp set up and I saw the magic created the following day by Belgium artist Otobong Nkanga. She is based in Antwerp and has worked with the lab since 2010 working with the skills of the team to realise her artistic ideas. The piece she was developing was based on topographical photographs and through the use of browns, golds and blacks on the jacquard she had created the first layers of her three dimensional landscape. I was fortunate to share the moment when her cloth was cut from the loom and cascaded onto the floor by Stef the Manager. Such an experience is one that brings a museum visit to life and creates such memories. All the techncians were working on projects at the different machines but all were happy to talk and answer questions .To be so close to a moving loom raises ranges of Health & Safety queries yet these seem to be manageable and increase the sense of belonging and being allowed to be within the space as a visitor.

Other areas in the lab included a machine embroidery area with a Brother and SWC machines. I spoke with the technician who was completing a commission for a British artist embroidering symbols onto ikat cloth. The handwoven ikat had taken a year to produce to the artist’s design then the lab was completing the work. Such a project is a big part of the lab’s work and generates important incomes.

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