One of the main tenets of the Textile Study Group is continuing to develop our individual professional practice and therefore the twice yearly weekends when we meet up to work together, are opportunities to explore the professional practice of other practicing artists as well as talk amongst ourselves. There is an on-going programme for these weekends but recent weekends have been with the painter David Tress, textile artist Debbie Lyddon, Georges Wenger, Melanie Miller and most recently Michael Brennand Wood.
MICHAEL BRENNAND WOOD www.brennand-wood.com
Visual artist, teacher and curator
Internationally regarded as one of the most innovative and inspiring artists, Michael’s work has always reflected his belief that the most innovative contemporary textiles emanate from an understanding of both textile technique and history. Throughout his career Michael has continually explored new and imaginative techniques, integrating textiles with non traditional materials. Examples of Michael’s work can be found in corporate and private collections around the world including the Victoria & Albert Museum, and he has been the recipient of prizes both at home and abroad. Michael has curated many exhibitions and until 1989 was a senior lecturer in the department of visual art at Goldsmith’s College. He has taught extensively in colleges and universities in the UK and overseas and undertaken residencies in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Belgium. He was appointed Visiting Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2005 and a Research Fellow at the University of Ulster.
DEBBIE LYDDON www.debbielyddon.co.uk
Artist and maker using mixed media, sculpture, installations, drawings
Debbie Lyddon is well known as a textile artist who as a member of the 62 Group of Textile Artists has exhibited widely in the UK most recently participating in Ctrl/Shift at Birmingham’s MAC. Debbie is based in Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, UK and her creative practice explores landscape and place and includes mixed media cloths, sculpture, installation and drawing. Her inspiration comes from experiencing and paying attention to her surroundings.
Debbie’s workshop with the group took us on a ‘sound walk’ where the audible notes as well as visual stimuli were developed into drawings and then fabric through a series of mark making exercises and drawing. Her early career as a professional musician explained her interest in all things sonic and gave the group a unique view of their surroundings.
Painting, drawing, landscape artist
David Tress is a British artist noted particularly for his deeply personal interpretations of landscapes in and around his home in Pembrokeshire, southwest Wales. He is undoubtedly one of Britain’s most inventive landscape painters, moving beyond a landscape’s immediate appearance and evokes a state of mind and sense of presence.
The workshop ‘BUILDING IMAGES: Observation and Expression’ that David presented to the Textile Study Group had us painting very immediately with acrylic. The weekend was based on the essentials of his own work, which is working with a’ gut response’ to things seen, and balances this with a consideration of the structures used to build paintings ~ space, light and composition. Demonstrations focussed on contrasting elements of emotional response and of ways of constructing paintings and showed how these come together in his own work.
GEORGES WENGER www.georgeswenger.ch
Calligraphy, painting, photography, sculpture
Georges is a well established artist and highly experienced teacher who lives and works in Switzerland. He has taught and participated in major exhibition all over the world including, USA, Tokyo, India and Germany.
“Raw, splotchy, untidy! ‘Scrawl’ is contemporary design, created usually with brushes but also with pens, markers, crayons and grease pencils, and are as much graphic conceit as philosophical statements. In the digital era, when perfection is only a keystroke away, to scrawl is the logical alternative – a slap in the (type) face – to official typography. Yet you need to be very conscientious to scrawl. First it is in the presence of the artist’s hand, as in the great advertising posters of the late-nineteenth century. Second is in the deliberate rejection of official type to convey emotion and expression in often dispassionate media. Anything is possible with scrawl. If it were prescribed, it would not be scrawl. One thing is common to all scrawl: resolute awkwardness. Nothing aligns and little is balanced, so, as purposeful as scrawl may be, it is the marriage of gawky and awkward, combined with rowdy and rough, that makes scrawl so compelling!”
It was indeed all that George set out to do and more.
MELANIE MILLER www.melaniemillertextiles.co.uk
Maker, teacher, curator, writer, editor of textiles and embroidery
Melanie skills are vast. She participates in and organises conferences as well as providing mentoring to individuals and has extensive external examining and research supervision experience. She has a degree in History from the London School of Economics, a degree in Textiles/Fashion from Manchester Polytechnic, and a PhD from Manchester Metropolitan University. As well as working for an editor at Dorling Kindersley book publishing company, she taught for over twenty years at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)/Manchester School of Art.
For the Textile Study Group, Melanie presented a lecture around the theme of disruption, followed by discussion. This was in preparation for our exhibition DIS/rupt. She then ran small group tutorials with all the TSG members, discussing their work in progress for the DIS/rupt project. This proved to be a most informative workshop, which drew on Melanie’s immense skills as a mentor and curator.