Between Thought and Expression: Imagery for Textiles
As the title of the workshop might infer, my intention is to introduce a series of surreal creative strategies and related technical approaches whose specific remit is to generate equally expressive and unpredictable imagery largely through the medium of textiles. The workshop is essentially a dialogue between cause and effect.
We will begin by experimenting with the idea of doing things wrong, exploring the familiar in an unfamiliar form, fusing techniques and approaches that historically don’t naturally belong together. The intention is not to make a mess but to see if a counter cultural approach to textiles might create an unexpected and interesting series of diversions. The workshop should be fun, stimulating, and exploratory.
Ideally participants will arrive with an open heart and mind; we will collectively travel, exchange experiences, embrace the unpredictable, and work towards a series of unknown destinations. Critique and group discussion will be an important component of this course. Participants will be encouraged to develop original solutions in relation to the core aims of the workshop; this is not a technical or prescriptive course. Emphasis will be placed on the investigation and research of personal imagery and the development of related technical innovation, ideas that can be developed at a later stage.'In art, truth and reality start at the point when you no longer understand what you are doing or what you know.' Matisse
Michael Brennand-Wood is a visual artist, curator, lecturer, and arts consultant. Since 1979 he has occupied a central position in the research, origination, and advocacy of contemporary international art textiles. He has exhibited in major galleries and museums world-wide, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. His work can be seen in private, public, and corporate collections worldwide. He won The Creative Concept Award in 1987 and The Fine Art Award in 1989 at the International Textile Competition in Kyoto, followed by the first RSA Art for Architecture Award in 1990. He has taught extensively in colleges and universities in the UK and overseas, and has undertaken residencies in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Belgium. He is currently Visiting Professor of Ornament at the University of Wolverhampton.
At the heart of my practice is a commitment to the developmental. I regard myself as an independent explorer of visual territories.
A defining characteristic of my work has been a sustained commitment to the conceptual synthesis of contemporary and historical sources, in particular the exploration of three-dimensional line, structure, and pattern. I have persistently worked within contested areas of textile practice, embroidery, pattern, lace, and recently floral and primal imagery. I believe that the most innovative textiles emanate from a synthesis of historical and contemporary sources, based upon an assured understanding of both textile technique and history. The diversity of my contribution - exhibitions, commissions, teaching, curatorial, advocacy, writing, and architectural consultancy - exemplifies the breadth of my involvement in the promotion of contemporary textiles.
Recent work, inspired by the traditions of floral imagery, has utilized computerized machine embroidery, acrylic paint, photography, and collage. Exploring the illusionary space between two and three dimensions, these works are colourful, dramatic, rhythmic, and holographic in feel with intense detail that merges at a distance into strongly optical configurations.
- As a rule we build from the ground upwards. A ground may be interpreted in a number of ways, it may be a territory, background, foundation, land surface, battle area, subject, painting surface, and of course a fabric base within textiles on which to work. Grounds are essentially areas where something happens.
- The purpose of this workshop is to create a single or series of smaller bespoke personal grounds that have, within their construction, qualities that aid and stimulate creativity. If it's flexible, go flexible. Surfaces will be imbued with personal meaning that feel part of an idea from the onset, a visual landscape to explore.
- Because all participants will be working within the realm of their own practices, what you bring to work with is very flexible and depends upon your personal interests. A beginning point is to bring fabric which is interesting to you and might provide you with a place to start as you work through the ideas presented in the class.
- Ideally participants will experiment with a number of different approaches both technically and conceptually. Practically the workshop will consider various technical approaches as to how to structure, layer, distort, articulate, and shape fabric in a largely non-traditional form. Fabrics and threads will be utilised alongside non-textile media, wood, metal, paint, resins, and plastic. Participants will be shown samples and experiment with riveting, moulding, wiring, and other methods of construction.