KILKENNY ARTS FESTIVAL 2012 - CRAFT STRAND
11th August 2012
|Craft curated by Angela O’Kelly. This year in the National Craft Gallery, UTENSIL is an exhibition of European applied artists and product designers who present alternative approaches to tableware.
The exhibition will feature innovative tableware and accessories with quirky aesthetics, challenging our expectations of domestic products and the rituals of eating, and fusing utility with art for the table.
Curator Angela O’Kelly’s Introduction:
We have a jam-packed craft strand for you this year. UTENSIL, a group exhibition in the National Craft Gallery, features the exceptional talent of 23 applied artists and product designers based in Europe who present an array of approaches to tableware.
Interactive work focusing on the ritual of eating is a main element of the exhibition:
The Whispering Table from Berlin invites people to sit down and explore the similarities and peculiarities of different food ceremonies in a playful way. Geoffrey Mann’s Cross-fire features on screen and Blown as an interactive iPad app.
The exhibition challenges our expectations of domestic products and fuses utility with art for the table. The best of European contemporary silversmithing, ceramics and textiles reinforces the value of the hand-made and human connections through unique functional and non-functional sculptural work which echo kitchen utensils. These are combined with high end product design.
There are lots of fun free children’s workshops at the National Craft Gallery and, for the first time, an adult workshop which looks to our personal memories of tea sets. The ‘Hot Potatoes’ talk, Elbows off the Table, on Wednesday 15 August at 6pm in the National Craft Gallery will surely provoke a lively debate about ritual and mealtime memory.
For the full programme, please log on to www.kilkennyarts.ie
For media enquiries, please contact Cormac Kinsella on 086 8199874/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Kilkenny Arts Festival gratefully acknowledges the support of The Arts Council of Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and the Crafts Council of Ireland.
Participating artists and their statements:
Sharon Blakey and Ismini Samanidou (UK)
A collaboration between ceramist and weaver, the work is made in response to a collection of spoons shut away in a drawer for more than fifty years. Transitory traces bearing witness to these utensils are explored through a combined palette of cloth, clay, colour and texture, using hand building and digital weaving.
Stuart Cairns (N. Ireland)
“My practice is concerned with the exploration of materiality through everyday objects, specifically objects related to the familiar experience of dining. These forms are re-imagined to investigate their narrative possibilities using a variety of materials, processes and found objects. This play between materiality and form seeks to touch the viewer’s sense of the familiar and divert it into an alternative narrative of associations.”
Chien-Wei Chang (Taiwan/UK)
“My work explores Eastern aesthetics and cultural references by combining metal with other natural materials such as wood, bamboo or found objects. My goal is to combine artistry with storytelling in order to communicate the meanings and messages of my work to as wide an audience as possible.”
David Clarke (UK)
David Clarke is one of Britain’s most highly innovative silversmiths. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art he has produced a wealth of covetable objects that have proven pivotal in the renaissance of contemporary British silversmithing. The aesthetic most often associated with Clarke’s work relates to the subversive nature in which he responds to the entrenched traditions of silversmithing, often taking it to surprising extremes.
Maike Dahl (Germany)
“My work consists mainly of silver objects that could be functional pieces and/or personal treasure, and my aim is to bring silver back into our daily lives. My silver tableware is adaptable to the modes of modern living and focused on the `take–away’ generation: mobile, responsive and independent.”
“Eating Objects is a design exploration of food, molecular gastronomy and eating experiences. It is a way to challenge the user's preconceptions about dining and allow them to experience new ways of eating.”
Kirsty Eaglesfield (UK)
Kirsty Eaglesfield’s contemporary silverware is inspired by the way the sea weathers and erodes objects, changing their form, colour and texture. She works primarily in silver and wood, often incorporating pieces of collected flotsam, and enjoys exploring the different ways each material can be worked with, textured, formed and treated to convey a sense of the sea.
TheGreenEyl is a multidisciplinary design practice investigating the aesthetic potential of technology. The Whispering Table invites people to sit down and explore the similarities and peculiarities of different food ceremonies in a playful and entertaining way. Visitors approaching a table laid with empty dishes discover that they are telling personal stories about the symbolic meaning of food and its rituals, stories that change according to the position of the dishes. By changing table position, visitors reveal more and more stories and become part of the spectacle.
Hugo Meert (Belgium)
Research into function, beauty and design led Hugo Meert to create an entirely personal sphere of operation which oscillates between art and design, craft and industry. From a formal point of view, he walks the tightrope between sense and non-sense. While perpetuating ancestral technique and know-how, of which his mastery is remarkable, he never limits himself to technical virtuosity. In the last twenty years, this master of ‘form and irony’ has developed a famous collection of intriguing ceramics with a subtle touch of ‘terrar’.
Simone ten Hompel (Germany/UK)
Spoons, bowls, jars, containers: these are the stuff of our daily lives, dependable and utilitarian, and we barely notice if they also carry the ghost memories of their own pasts disguised within form and function. Simone’s work offers us a narrative in which each group and cluster becomes a chapter or paragraph that questions the intrinsic nature of a spoon or container and hints at the delicate web of personal memories linking us through and to the objects around us.
John Lambe (Ireland)
John Lambe’s work is deeply rooted in a variety of ancient craft techniques. A single piece may juxtapose metalsmithing techniques with woodworking techniques, and the skills employed are identical to those used by silversmiths in the production of tableware over the centuries. These works, vaguely reminiscent of functional silverware, form a sort of homage to this discipline. However, the emphasis on function has faded, resulting in objects of some ambiguity.
Nel Linssen (Netherlands)
For many years designer Nel Linssen used a home-made table mat and she always imagined that other people might find it a practical and attractive product too. The Tabletalk is a heat-proof table mat consisting of 16 discs, connected in such a way that the shape and size are surprisingly variable. It began production in 2001 and is now sold in renowned design, kitchen and museum stores in several countries.
Anders Ljungberg (Sweden)
“I have, in my work as a silversmith, found a number of different values in everyday use. The kind of values I want to express are those that construct an inner structure of everyone’s daily life, even though the user may vary depending on class, gender, culture, age, etc. What I’m trying to describe is something that everyone is aware of, even if we don’t mention it or give it space in a time when the consumption of the thing is given a value greater than the using of it.”
Geoffrey Mann (UK)
“The focus of Cross-fire was to examine the intangible characteristic of the spoken word and investigate the unseen effect of sound upon its inhabited environment. The project is set in the context of a domestic argument. In this case the event samples an audio excerpt from the 1999 Sam Mendes film American Beauty. The cross-fire of the argument traverses the dining table but, where previously the inanimate everyday objects such as plates, cutlery, teapot etc. were unable to express their character, the intensity of the conversation deforms their once static existence into objects of unseen familiarity.”
Geoff Mann’s piece Blown also features in the exhibition as an interactive iPad app.
Grant McCaig (UK)
“Do you realize that the first man who carved a wheel out of stone used it as an ornament?” Dustin Hoffman in Papillon (1973)The table is a strange geography built on layers of tradition and events; a meeting place, an office, a place to eat, or a work surface. In combining these histories strange objects emerge that will accompany us into the future, objects that we don’t yet fully understand.
Wiebke Meurer (Germany)
“The spoon is an everyday object, always found in the same spot, picked up and handled over and over again. A ritual that lasts for many generations. The life and thoughts of the spoon’s owners merge with the object itself. The spoon becomes a storyteller. In some of these works the spoon loses its traditional function and is reduced to a purely decorative ornament. In other pieces they are strangely deformed and acquire new qualities and potential.”
Jennifer Slattery (Ireland)
Jennifer Slattery creates textile products for the home from her studio at The Malthouse Design Centre in Dublin. Her collections feature digital printed imagery and embroidery; her product ranges comprise table linen, printed linen and embroidered Irish linen, cushions and throws.
Cathy Miles (UK)
“I illustrate the world as I see it through the medium of sculpture. I am interested in looking at the natural world and exploring the potted history of everyday objects. I ‘draw’ with wire, combining other found materials to create sculptural illustrations that capture a character, scene or imaginary place. The accessibility of my material allows me to work with many different groups - an increasingly important facet of my work.”
Enya Moore (Ireland)
Enya Moore creates objects derived from kitchen utensils. Using the process of casting, she explores her adult reactions to childhood perceptions of the cooking utensils that belonged to her parents. The objects created by Moore appear as echoes of somewhat familiar utensils. Childlike and crude in their appearance, these objects share similarities with more primitive tools.
Kaori Tatebayashi (Japan/UK)
“I use clay as a device to make fragments of time visible. The nature of fired clay incorporates both fragility and permanence and it is this which enables the material to record elusive things like memory. I trace everyday objects in clay like an old pair of shoes, a girl’s camisole or a discarded box of buttons – the sort of bits and pieces you might have owned once but forgotten all about. Through looking at my work, you are led back into those tiny, quiet recesses of your past.”
Brian Keaney/Tonfisk Design (Ireland)
“Throughout my career I have always been interested in trying to find different forms for the products I design. My starting point is generally the product’s functionality, however sometimes a simple combination of material elements or a production ‘constraint’ offers an idea.”
Debbie Wijskamp (Netherlands)
Dutch designer Debbie Wijskamp is inspired by everyday objects and the materials we are surrounded with. She investigates the boundaries of various materials and techniques, exploring the possibilities they offer of creating new forms of furniture and other domestic products.
Annabet Wyndham (UK)
Annabet Wyndham has always loved kitchen equipment: crockery, cutlery, sieves, strainers, mixers and mincers, old and new. Her functional work uses uncomplicated shapes and construction techniques – piercing, cold forging, bending, perforation, torch-fired enamelling and wire construction – to make small, tactile utensils in silver.
Soft Sculpture Installation: Memories of a Tea Set
Sat 18th Aug - Sat 18th Aug
National Craft Gallery
Help create a soft sculpture installation using fabrics gathered from the home environment. With Kilkenny-based visual artist Caroline Ryan.
Adult workshop. Free but booking essential. Call the Crafts Council of Ireland on 056 779 6151.
Wonderful Wire & Mixed Media Utensil Workshop
Sat 11th Aug - Mon 13th Aug
National Craft Gallery
Join applied artist Enya Moore for interactive three-dimensional wire and mixed media drawing and miniature sculptures. Drop by at any time throughout the day. Suitable for all ages.
About the National Craft Gallery:
National Craft Gallery:
• We are Ireland’s leading centre for contemporary craft and design.
• We play a critical role in building understanding of craft and material culture.
• We exhibit Irish and international designers, artists and makers who push boundaries in their engagement with the making process.
• We inspire appreciation, creativity and innovation through our exhibition and education programme, and along with our touring programme we reach an audience of over 100,000 people annually.