Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Skills in the Making with Michael Brennand Wood

On Saturday 2nd March the Pitt Rivers Museum hosted the popular Skills in the Making workshop focusing on creative textiles with Michael Brennand Wood.

Internationally regarded as one of the most innovative and inspiring artists working in textiles in the UK today, Michael's work varies from public art pieces to exhibition work addressing political and aesthetic themes. He explores a wide range of textile practices including embroidery, pattern, lace and floral imagery. He has developed many techniques and imaginative ways of integrating textiles with other media.

Michael took the collections of the Pitt Rivers Museum as a starting point for an exciting mixed media workshop involving 25 art and design teachers from Oxfordshire and beyond.

After an initial presentation about the workshop's objectives and how it related to the collections in the Museum, there was a short introduction on techniques and materials illustrated by examples of Michael's artwork, which served both as reference and inspiration.

A visit to the galleries to source imagery for the workshop - taking photos and making drawings - was followed by nearly four hours of ‘making’ time in our new, multi-purpose "Museums' Annexe" space. Participants were asked to bring a selection of scrap fabrics, a basic sewing kit, and art equipment as well as smaller objects with a personal memory to incorporate them into layers of cloth or laminate and add an interesting angle to the textiles frames.

Gradually the pieces emerged, incorporating tensioned layers of cloth, collage, stitch, paint and other mixed media. The overall effect of the 25 personal and colourful textile laminates was stunning; each showed a journey through successive layers from different directions revealing unexpected configurations and relationships.

A discussion and critique acted as a plenary for what was a highly enjoyable and creative day! Here's what some of the participants had to say:

'A fabulous day thank you. It has been so good to explore a new technique and craft - and just have time to develop my own work.'

'Excellent, well worth coming and very good location.'

'Excellent day. Very good - unstressed, creative and instructive. Best value day's instruction I have ever attended.'

[Quotes: Skills in the Making workshop for teachers, delivered by NSEAD in partnership with Pitt Rivers Museum and Oxford Art Teach]

Skills in the Making workshops are supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and delivered by NSEAD. Facilitated by some of the UK's leading designer-makers, they are designed to support teachers to extend their knowledge and practice of contemporary crafts to develop art, craft and design programmes in school. This video gives a flavour of the workshops and the programme's goals.

The next Skills in the Making workshop is on 27th April 2013 at the Pitt Rivers Museum with jewellery-maker turned textile artist, Caroline Broadhead. Drawing inspiration from the collections, participants will make objects that relate to and transform with the movement of the body. Click here for more info and to reserve a place.

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