Not Everything is about the landscape

Posted by Cigdem Baker on

The creative process can sometimes be explained as a compulsion. The need to create something with one’s hands, repetitively pursuing a process, focusing and methodically carrying out one act after another. It is solitary work, one person, thinking and doing. The creative process might have started with company, let’s say on a walk or a conversation with someone. The artist may pick up a stone or a leaf, here and there, store away an uttered word, remember a feeling of a moment in time. The process, however, begins in the studio, in front of the tools that will bring this idea, feeling into fruition.

There are so many articles written and conversations held which argues the difference between fine art and craft. The distinction and the explanations given for the differences and the superiority of one from the other is deeply engrained in a majority of people’s psyche. It is layered on centuries of history and the status one holds over the other. Traditionally, fibre and textile related activities were predominately carried out by women. Textiles and all work carried out in relation to it, were in the domestic sphere. Somehow, even in our gender neutral age of enlightenment, do we still hold on to ideas of domesticity when we think of textiles and fibre art? On approaching a painting or drawing on a wall, we accept that the work was created for the sake of painting. Art for art’s sake. We do not ask, why or what the process of putting paint on canvas, was like for the artist. We admire the skill, and quality of the work. We know that the imagination and the hand was involved. This exhibition invites you to look at the skill of the artist and maker and not to make distinctions of whether it is art or craft. 

Ali Holloway and Catarina Riccabona are weavers. They create because they want to and have to create. Sometimes they tell stories and sometimes the story is in the execution, their medium is textiles, wool, hemp, cotton, silk, cotton etc. These materials are then transformed with warp and weft into weave patterns that explore balance and harmony.

Jane Ponsford, is a papermaker artist, using papermaking skills and transforming her hand made material into sculptures. The beauty of the ability to create your own material to work with is that the paper will hold Jane’s fingerprints and hands in its form, as she moulds and manipulates the paper to explore form, the transience of time, and to quote Jane, the act of ‘drawing in the most complicated way’.

Between them, these three women have almost a hundred years of skill and creativity. Their works on show may look accessible and achievable, if only we could weave or make paper, but this would be looking at their creativity in a very simplistic way. The location of this exhibition is also relevant to the works you see in this show. Matthew Burt Studio has been taking on apprentices for 38 years. Each apprentice typically needs to complete 10,000 hours of learning and making before their next stage of the journey of making. Eventually, the hand and the eye begins to work intuitively. Hope you enjoy the show and see it with new eyes.

Exhibition on show during The Wylye Valley Art Trail at Matthew Burt Design Studio and Workshops.

Lime Tree Workshops
Wylye Road
Wiltshire SP3 6ER

Open daily 29 April - 8 May 2023
10.30am - 5.30pm


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