Made in the Middle
Teachersâ€™ Pack a Craftspace Touring exhibition
Basic information about the exhibition
Names and media
Working with the exhibition
General discussion points Using the catalogue
Ideas for practical work
Suggestions for activities Artists suitable for workshops and residencies
Glossary and definitions
Introduction Made in the Middle is an exhibition featuring thirty-six Midlands based makers working in a variety of media that have been selected through competition. The exhibition features long-established as well as developing makers and identifies the current regional strengths in making. Made in Middle is a triennial exhibition. The focus for this year’s exhibition is on the place of craft in the home and how we can use craft and handmade objects to personalize our spaces. The work is presented in a series of room settings, which emphasize this idea. In order to explore crafts within the home further an innovative audience programme has been initiated. ‘At home’ offers a group of people in Bilston and Oswestry (who don’t have access to the gallery) the chance to commission a piece of craft for their own home. Through photographs and recording in the exhibition their responses to the objects in their homes will be explored. A handling collection and a catalogue also support the exhibition.
Makers jewellery Katherine Campbell–Legg Gill Galloway–Whitehead Charlotte Gorse Jane Moore Kirti Patel Rita Patel Vanetta Seecharran Miranda Sharpe ceramics Peter Beard Jack Doherty Kerry O’Connor Patrick O’Donohue Ishrat Sharaf Rupert Spira Mark de la Torre Mathew West Jon Williams furniture Clare Keil Tony McMullen glass Stuart Garfoot Joanne Mitchell Ronald Pennell Nicola Schellander Ruth Spaak
textiles Jenny Fergusson Barbara Fidoe Hannah Lamb Deborah Roberts Janet Stoyel Karina Thompson Allen Wilding metal Rachel Higgins Jacky Oliver Melanie Tomlinson Val Hunt (recycled) mixed media Serena Partridge Additional information on some of these artists and their work can be found in the catalogue and there are features on the studios of Kirti Patel, Melanie Tomlinson, Serena Partridge, Allen Wilding and Jack Doherty.
Working with the Exhibition A good starting point for exploring the exhibition might be thinking about the current popularity of television programmes such as â€˜Changing Roomsâ€™. Why do we like these programmes? What do they do? Principally they show that how people feel about spaces can be changed dramatically by the colours that are used and the objects that are placed within them. This could lead into an exploration of the 4 different areas within the gallery. Area one: outdoors Area two and three: casual living Area four: bedroom
Discussion starting points Explore each of the areas and how they make you feel. What is the exhibition trying to do? How would the objects be different if they were seen in a totally white empty space? Explore the objects
How many different processes can be identified? How many different kinds of materials are there? Discuss likes or dislikes. Explain why? Work with the handling collection. Match the handling pieces with the work on display. How do each of the handling pieces differ? What are their identifying qualities? Are the objects meant to have a function? How successfully do they meet that? If not consider why the maker has made that choice? Discuss whether you want to wear /use it?
Choose a piece how would you describe it to someone else. What if they could not see/touch/hear? Look for form, line and decoration. Search and record using a variety of materials very simple examples of detail. Choose a small number pieces and explore the influences. narrative and history in the work of Serena Partridge Ronald Pennell and Melanie Tomlinson. traditional techniques in the work of Kirti Patel and Katherine Campbell –Legge. natural processes in the work of Peter Beard and Ishrat Sharaf intimacy and private worlds in the work of Hannah Lamb, Katherine Campbell-Legg and Rita Patel. Explore the images of the different artists working in the studio. Identify the kind of work that they are making. What inspiration can be seen? How does this support their work?
Using the catalogue The catalogue can be bought at the gallery for ÂŁ4.00. Again it is trying to make us think about crafts within the home. Its style is intentionally similar to an interiors magazine. The catalogue can be used to support a visit to the gallery. It contains a number of colour images of the work, statements by the makers and features on the studios of Kirti Patel, Melanie Tomlinson, Serena Partridge, Allen Wilding and Jack Doherty and a day in the life of jeweller Rita Patel.
Ideas for Practical Activity
Gather together a collection of different kinds of objects. Use these as a starting point for talking about what craft is. How could they be used to change your environment? Explore objects that are suitable for an indoor or outdoor environment – what determines this? Objects might include contemporary crafts, manufactured pieces, pieces from different cultures and old objects.
Explore two different processes for making a similar piece. How does using different materials change what an object looks/feels like? e.g. making a container from clay and paper.
Look at the ‘At Home’ project. Pupils to explore creating a piece of craft for someone.
Focus on describing craft using the catalogue. Examine the choice of words and design. Investigate other magazines (Sunday supplement style pages/ IKEA catalogue). How do they encourage us to see the pieces in our own environment? Use this style to write about other objects.
Workshops and Residencies The following makers would be interested in education work either workshops or residencies.
Katherine Campbell–Legg firstname.lastname@example.org ceramics
Jenny Fergusson Jenny@m-fergusson.fsnet.co.uk textiles
Rachel Higgins Court.email@example.com metalwork
Serena Partridge 01684 577156 mixed media
Rita Patel 0121 753 3616 jewellery
Ruth Spaak 01789 415244 glass
Melanie Tomlinson Melanie@melanietomlinson.co.uk tin
Mathew West 01922 862529 ceramics
Jon Williams Eastnor.firstname.lastname@example.org ceramics
Glossary and Definitions
Words to explore
recycling casting resin embroidery ultrasound automata business firing engraving commission
Definitions Biscuit(Ceramics) The first firing of pottery to harden it before it is glazed. Bone Chin (Ceramics) China Clay made from fine earthenware mixed with bone which gives it further translucency. Chün Glaze (Ceramics) A glaze named after a type of Chinese stoneware made between the 10th – 13th centuries. The colour of glaze ranges from pale lilac to purple. Devoré (Textiles) A chemical process also known as ‘burn out’ used in textile design which destroys one or more fibres present within a fabric to create a translucent, textured surface. Enameling (Jewellery) The process of fusing thin layers of coloured glass to a metal surface by heating. Felting (Textiles) The process of making felt - a cloth made of wool or wool and cotton compressed together using techniques of rolling and beating with the application of pressure. Free Blown (Glass) Glass formed using hand tools as opposed to moulds. Glaze (Ceramics) A vitreous coating applied to ceramics and fired. Glazes are used for both decorative effects and to render a clay body impervious. Inlay (Metalwork) Decoration achieved by inserting materials into a base, often of metal or wood.
Porcelain (Ceramics) A fine ceramic ware that is fired to a high temperature to give a white vitrified and translucent body. Throwing (Ceramics) Method of making ceramics on a rotating wheel (â€˜potterâ€™s wheelâ€™).