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Mary on Tour

March 20, 2014 Artist Responses Comments Off on Mary on Tour

Those of you who have followed the development of my collaborative, creative response to the bygones spoon collection with weaver Ismini Samanidou, may be interested to know that the resulting piece has been exhibited at venues nationally and internationally.

Table Runner was exhibited in Utensil at the National Craft Gallery of Ireland, New Directions in Contemporary Craft at Mottisfont Abbey, National Trust and Pairings at Contemporary Applied Arts, London.

The collaboration was also featured in Samanidou’s solo show, Topography: recording place, mapping surface, touring from the Crafts Study Centre in Farnham to the Centre for Craft, Creativity and Design in North Carolina and the Weber Center, Utah, USA.

Table Runner (overview) – hand built ceramic and digitally woven cloth, 1500mm x 350mm

detail, three spoons, three voices

acknowledging value in the damage and wear of everyday use


the contemporary emerging from the historic

paying homage to the past, ceramic spoon placed within the woven shadow of it’s predecessor

Table Runner 2

November 5, 2010 Artist Responses, The Letters Comments Off on Table Runner 2

This project has been my main focus recently as my collaboration with weaver Ismini Samanidou intensifies!  Recent developments include some further refinements to the clay palette based on the initial woven samples made by Ismini on the jacquard loom.  I particularly liked the section woven from digital images of some of the spoons in the collection and have been working the clay to try and capture these characteristics.

Bygones spoon, worn and distorted through endless stirring

Bygones spoon with the initials of an unknown family

Cloth samples being woven on the jacquard loom

Detail of Bygones spoon woven into cloth

Translating the woven cloth back into clay

Exploring overlays of stained clay

clay colour sample responding to woven cloth

We have also been playing with ways in which text from the archive letters may be brought in to the composition.  In one of the letters there is a handwritten inventory of spoons sent by Mary to the collection.  We have been playing around with somehow combining this alongside images of spoons from the collection into the cloth.

Digitally overlaying the spoon inventory over the spoon

spoon inventory on computer screen as part of the designing and weaving process

woven spoon inventory

It’s all looking very promising but there are still a number of refinements to be made.  We are still trying to achieve greater subtlety and richness.  The cloth samples to date are still a bit too graphic visually. We want to work on that and move toward a more abstract outcome, at least in parts.  Physically the cloth is a little too thin and mean so we want to explore further combinations of yarns to yield a thicker fabric with a richer texture.  We also want to warm up the colour palette a touch and perhaps introduce some creams, golds to reflect the colour palette of the range of metal spoons such as pewter and brass.  So still plenty to do but all very exciting!  Sharon

Table Runner

I have an idea to somehow put Mary’s spoons, hidden away for years in a drawer at Queens Park, back on the table. Inspired by the table runner that Mary sent out to the collection at Timaru in New Zealand I have been collaborating with weaver Ismini Samanidou on a table runner which uses a combination of  images of the spoons in the archive and clay spoons I have made in response.  We are still playing and sample making, exploring very subtle weaves and more dramatic combinations, trying to reference the worn surfaces and edges of the spoons, perhaps incorporating some text from the letters, maybe the spoon inventory.  Through all of this we are discovering the similarities and differences between cloth and clay and learning ways in which the two can be brought together.  It is proving to be a really stimulating project.

thumbnail sketches of early ideas

Spoons from the collection woven into cloth

Subtle weave with ceramic spoons nestling

shadow of spoon woven into cloth

Ceramic spoons over woven text

At this early stage we are playing with varying combinations of cloth and clay – clay spoons sitting on cloth surfaces, cloth spoons rolled into clay dishes, images of clay spoons and surfaces woven back into the cloth.  I like the notion of a seamless transition between the old and the new, the cloth and the clay, the analogue and the digital, the hand and the machine, and would like this to be reflected as the work develops.  Sharon

Modeling the idea on the table in cloth and clay