Transition Craft and Design offer exhibition in Chichester’s Oxmarket Gallery

Colleen
Colleen

Transition Craft and Design is offering an exhibition in Chichester’s Oxmarket Gallery from Tuesday November 19 to Sunday, December 1.

Artists include Tara Kennedy, Annette Mills, Nicky Lawrence, Manuela Kagerbauer, Johanna Hannah, Jennifer Jones, Jo Lally, Colleen Hillman, Steven Edwards and Susan Stringfellow.

Jo said: “We are a collective with members from across the south east, south central and London.”

The exhibition features recent work by members of the collective Transition.

“The collective’s joint concerns focus on materiality and the innovative use of materials within traditional craft disciplines.

“Transition showcases expressive and innovative recent work, which breaks new ground, blurs boundaries between disciplines and tests our conventional ideas of craft – whilst remaining beautiful and desirable. Maintaining a focus on high levels of skill and artistic concept, our makers work in textiles, jewellery, ceramics, metalwork, product design and mixed media.

“Hope of ethnic unity emerges from wrapped yarn sculptures, metal and glass installations recreate the disorientating effects of macular degeneration, and woven textiles challenge conventional flatness, pushing into the third dimension. Many of our makers are concerned with physical, mental, social and environmental health. A mental health activist uses mixed media to foreground the hidden anguish of mental illness and represent the path to health. A diver uses glass and metal to make stunning jewellery representing damaged coral reefs. Many of us use sustainable, natural, recycled or otherwise unusable materials to minimise our impact on the world around us. We hope that this exhibition will encourage reflection, stimulate conversation, and inspire shifts in perception.

“We invite you to come and join us at the Oxmarket in Chichester in November, meet some of the makers, who will maintain a presence during the exhibition, and talk about our work.”

Jo added: “We are a group of craftspeople/artists working in a range of disciplines. Some of us started life with an arts or crafts education and have developed from there, via children, businesses or the other curveballs that life throws at your initial expectations.

“Others have come via HR, counselling, nursing, teaching, import/export and graphic design. For at least some of us, a period of mid-life reflection has led to a renewed focus on art and craft as a central part of our life – a need that can no longer be ignored. We are united by a passion for high quality work which explores the nature and narratives of our materials, and which is conceptually interesting as well as beautiful.”

Jo Lally is a jewellery artist who has a background as a teacher, education consultant and assessor. She is a jeweller, gemmologist and writer, with an interest in narrative and a passion for ethical, sustainable jewellery practices. Her practice is concerned with stories told through jewellery. Her work makes use of silver, gold, stones, found objects, technical materials and stuff from the scrap box to explore the ways in which we gather and assemble the precious, serendipitous and recycled ideas that form our narratives of who we are. Jo has one daughter, who is currently doing a PhD in quantum biology. Jo certainly felt enabled to re-enter academic life and produce art jewellery herself when her daughter left for university. Jo edits Findings, the magazine of the Association for Contemporary Jewellery.

Annette Mills is a basket weaver whose work is concerned with the haptic and concepts linked to transitional space. Change and transience are inherent in the physical processes of her making. Combining traditional basketry techniques and fibres from locally grown plant material, she looks for connections between space which is contained, the space inhabited and the space that flows between and through forms. Annette is currently doing a PhD in Craft at UCA Farnham.

Colleen Hillman is a ceramicist whose practice is informed by the clean lines and plain, simple forms of contemporary architecture. Materiality is important: She uses porcelain for its whiteness and its smooth surface finish. The work is unglazed and polished which gives an ethereal quality and lightness to her minimalist forms. The pieces are carefully placed together to give a sense of calm and balance. Some of her work is pierced and connected by glass or metal reflecting her interest in architectural form.

Jennifer Jones is a weaver whose work is a continual exploration and investigation of the relationship between fibre and structure in hand woven pieces. Her cloths introduce tension and space in an unexpected manner and consist of expressive, three dimensional surfaces, often including layers which cause a controlled distortion elsewhere within the piece. Jenny is concerned about the environment, and her choice of materials reflects or directs attention to environmental concerns. Jenny has a daughter at university.

Jo Hannah’s work explores the juxtaposition of architectural forms and the growth of nature. She mainly hand builds using clay slabs made with either black or grey stoneware clay. She utilises a variety of glaze and under glaze combinations, multiple firing sand surface design. Her work represents the relationship between the built environment and natural growth, which can consume man-made objects. Thus natural forms are seen growing over architectural forms. Jo is also trained as a jeweller, but likes the earthiness and responsiveness of clay. She has sons who are still at school.

Manuela Kagerbauer likes to challenge the viewer’s perception and trigger a physical and emotional reaction similar to symptoms of Macular Degeneration and optical illusions. She is interested in large scale installation work, site flexible, creating an immersive experience integrating the viewer. Fascinated by metal, glass and repeated geometrical patterns, she plays with movement and irritation experienced in distortions and warped lines. Manuela did an arts based apprenticeship in Switzerland, has been living in the UK for over twenty years and has had a variety of jobs including personal trainer and import / export while her family has been growing. She focuses fully on her art now that her three daughters are in their late teens and early twenties.

Nicky Lawrence is a jewellery artist with a background as a primary school teacher, often in international schools around the world. Her jewellery is made from glass and metal. The simplicity of the metal is juxtaposed with delicate, brightly-coloured glass. Like the decorator crab, decorating its shell with materials from the environment, she expresses, in her jewellery, elements of different cultures that have inspired her: tribal prints, marks and patterns; primitive designs and vibrant colours. Her current collection, ‘Coralscape’, aims to draw attention to the destruction of the coral reef from global warming. Nicky’s elder son has just begun a university course in Madrid, while her younger son has recently entered the sixth form.

Steven Edwards has a background as a graphic designer. His ceramic work is underpinned by a curiosity around observing the materiality of clay – both in how it records every interaction during the making process, and the context of the ceramic object in the space and cultural time where it was created. His practice encourages playful exploration of process by combining tools to research, provoke and reveal ideas in an attempt to re-invent traditional forms and mindsets. I produce a range of work from small sculptural forms to large scale sculptures for installation. Steven has young children.

Susan Stringfellow is a mixed media artist mainly working with textiles. Her main interests include Mental Health and she produces items designed to reduce the stigma around this issue. She has a background in Fine Art and for much of her working life had a career in the 'caring professions'; nursing, social work and mental health care. These experiences have influenced her artwork, and her artwork has given her the opportunity to raise awareness of issues. She is currently creating a series of items which will display a neurological pattern, which could, on first observation, be dismissed as abstract but on closer inspection the viewer would see neuron type images throughout the material. This is to represent the hidden nature of mental illness, where commonly it is only the sufferer who is aware of it. Susan has a son and a daughter, both in their twenties.

Tara Kennedy is a textile artist, who has a background in art. She creates soft sculptures and wall hangings as well as detailed drawings which provide an alternative viewpoint. Her work is driven by the despair she feels of different cultures and religions suffering in conflict, and she hopes to communicate important messages of acceptance, empathy and hope emerging from this pain. A mixture of materials are used including yarns, threads and fabrics and involve techniques of knitting, wrapping, felting, knotting and stitch. Process is also significant and references therapeutic, meditative and calming practices.

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