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Made in the Middle New works in contemporary craft from the West Midlands

Teachers’ Pack A collaboration between craftspace and Rugby Art Gallery and Museum together with leading regional galleries


Contents Introduction • • •

What is the exhibition about? What is the exhibition’s aim? Who was involved in developing the Made in the Middle Exhibition?

Makers in Made in the Middle • Names and media

How to explore the exhibition • Themes • Craft in the Midlands • Using the catalogue • Discussion points

Ideas for practical work • Suggested activities • Recommended websites Glossary and Definitions


Introduction What is the exhibition about? • Made in the Middle is an exhibition featuring 37 Midlands based artists and makers working in a variety of media. It is sixth in this series of touring exhibitions that provide a platform for showing the work of the region’s makers. • The exhibition represents established and emerging makers, at different points in their careers. • Made in the Middle shows a diverse range of skilled people who make very different craft items ranging from jewellery and vessels to lighting and textile wall pieces. • At Home II is an action research project that ran along side the exhibition development working, with two community groups: The Rugby Mayday Trust and tenants from Rugby Borough Council’s Sheltered Housing Complex (the JACEA Club). What is the aim of the exhibition? • The aim is to focus on contemporary craft and communicate the investment that goes into its making. It helps us appreciate and enjoy the diversity of practices represented within the West Midlands. Who was involved in developing the Made in the Middle Exhibition? • This exhibition has been developed as a partnership between Craftspace and Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, the launch venue. • Rugby Art Gallery and Museum have taken the lead on the ‘At Home II’ project, which builds on the success of At Home a pilot project developed by Craftspace for Made in the Middle 2002 and which took place in Oswestry, Shropshire and Bilston, Wolverhampton.


The exhibition will tour to the following galleries. Tour Schedule 14 November 2006 – 14 January 2007 Rugby Art Gallery & Museum, Little Elborow Street, Rugby, CV21 3BZ 27 January – 14 March 2007 MAC, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH March – 5 May 2007 Worcester Museum and Art Gallery, Foregate Street, Worcester, WR1 1DT 18 May – 29 June 2007 Artworks-mk, Parklands, Great Linford, Milton Keynes, MK14 5DZ 13 July – 2 September 2007 Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum, Royal Pump Rooms, The Parade Leamington Spa, CV32 4AA 15 September – 11 November 2007 Shire Hall, Stafford Market Square, Stafford, ST16 2LD 24 November 2007 – 4 Jan 2008 Bilston, Craft Gallery, Mount Pleasant, Bilston, Wolverhampton, WV14 7LU 18 January – 29 February 2008 Brewery Arts, Cirencester Brewery Court, Cirencester, GL7 1JH 15 March – 26 April 2008 The Herbert Jordan Well, Coventry, CV1 5QP


Makers in the ‘Made in the Middle’ exhibition Names and media Ceramic Joanne Ayre Bridget Drakeford Dennis Farrell Rosamonde Ingram (with mixed media) Nicola Richards Andrea Walsh James and Tilla Waters

Glass Dena Bagi Stuart Garfoot Clare Henshaw Dean Hopkins Elaine Sheldon and Dominic Cooney

Lighting Dominic and Frances Bromley (ceramics) Ranbir Kaur Elaine Sheldon and Dominic Cooney Emma Welsh (ceramic) Natalie Cole & Wayne Pottinger


Textiles Deborah Roberts Helen Cass (with painting) Ermine Jackson Kate Pemberton Karina Thompson Sian Fletcher Sally Greaves- Lord

Furniture Jim Partridge and Liz Walmsley Natalie Cole & Wayne Pottinger

Metal Anna Lorenz Claire Malet John Grayson (automata) Marcus Steel Melanie Tomlinson (automata) Ndidi Ekubia (silver)

Jewellery Betty Pepper Isabella Hart Jane Moore John Moore Shivani Patel Yoko Izawa

Mixed media Ruth Spaak Ranbir Kaur Rosamonde Ingram


How to explore the exhibition Made in the Middle links to art and design: Key stage 1& 2 unit 5a Objects and meanings and unit 1B Investigating materials. Themes The exhibition is split into seven different areas with specific focuses. Selected areas have interactive opportunities including handing objects, audio pieces and photo storyboards of the craft making process. A maker’s career is complex and varied, and involves a cross over of different ideas, materials and training. This exhibition will take your group on a journey of an artist or maker, by guiding you through different key themes: •

A Making Career - What is a maker? Reference to Bridget Drakeford and what inspires her work, with an accompanying DVD interview with the maker. • Material Exploration – Why is material important? An opportunity to handle sample textiles from Sian Fletchers and listen her talk about her work on the sound box. • Process and Technique – How are craft objects made? Follow Nicola Richards photo story of the making process and see samples of her work at different stages. A C.D is also provided in the school kit with a more detailed version of the process. • Product – Do craft objects have a function? See a DVD featuring an interview with Eliene Sheldon and Dominic Cooney talking about their work. • Practice –What journey do you take to become a maker? See text panels for different ways makers have defined their practice. • Voice –How do they communicate their personal style through their work? View images of locations that inspire makers James and Tlla Waters. • Focus on Metal – Why metal? See step-by-step examples of John Grayson’s work in progress and listen to the sound box with an interview with John. • AT home II and personal choice- How do people respond to commissioning craft? A look at the journey two groups took to receive a piece of craft made specifically for them. Please see the catalogue for more information.


Craft in the Midlands The West Midlands has a history of craft making that has developed over time and even today, traditional processes continue to be used to make contemporary pieces. For example, the production of metal objects, fittings and components has historically centred upon Birmingham and the Black Country. Industries that developed enamelling, silver and brassware, jewellery and techniques of casting, pressing and finishing, developed during the Industrial Revolution. The region continues this legacy, exporting metal ware all over the world. Different areas of the region are renown for specific crafts that continue today: Birmingham – Jewellery The Smith and Pepper Factory, have made fine jewellery since the nineteenth century, and continue to show visitors the jewellerymaking techniques similar tothose in the early 1900's. Most of the jewellery made in Britain is produced in the workshops of Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter. Stourbridge - glass and metal Glass has been manufactured in the Stourbridge area for centuries. The rich natural resources of coal and fireclay for lining furnaces made it the perfect location for the industry. Stour bridge glass is recognised as amongst the finest in the world and has been used many times as gifts for royalty and visiting dignitaries. Bilston – Enamels Enameling in Bilston began around 1745 when a number of French Huguenot refugees, fleeing religious persecution, settled there. Isaac Beckett was known to have made considerable use of transfer printing on enamel boxes. Stoke on Trent – Pottery Over 1500 pottery firms operated in Stoke on Trent since 1700’s, producing a variety of product lines with distinct marks. Bottle kilns lined the city. Many makers continue use traditional ceramic processes.


See the exhibition panels and catalogue for information linking makers to their region.

Using the catalogue The catalogue can be bought at the gallery desk for £5.00. It’s aim is to provide a further insight to being a maker and their practice and it can thoroughly support your visit to the gallery. It contains a number of colour images of the work, text from the exhibition panels and essays by maker Sally Greaves - Lord and critic Lesley Jackson. Finally it also provides a map detailing locations of the makers and further information of the mentioned themes. At Home II The catalogue information and an essay about the At Home project that gives an insight into the personal experience of learning about commissioning and living with contemporary craft.

Activity booklet The brightly coloured and fun activity booklets will also be available to purchase at the cost of £1.00 per child. These include drawing opportunities and observation activities and a card construction worksheet.


Discussion points Explore each of the themed areas and take a close look at the objects. You can apply each of the following questions to any area or piece in the exhibition. Personal choice • Which object is your favourite? • Describe the piece? • What do you like about it? • How does it make you feel? • If you could keep the object, where would you put it in your house? • What would you use it for? (to look at, wear it, hold flowers) • Would any one else in your family use it? • Which object do you dislike and why? Materials • How many different materials can you see in the exhibition? • What type of properties do the materials have? E.g. hard, soft, bendy, melted, sharp, cold. • Which objects are natural or man made materials? • Why do you think the maker choose that particular material? • Does the object look strong or weak? • Would different materials make the object better? What materials would this be and how would it change the object.


Inspiration and influences Look at Bridget Drakeford’s information in ‘a making career’ section. • What do you think influences Bridget’s work? • How do you think makers record inspiring things that they see? • Where do you think the other makers find their ideas and inspiration? • Are there any historical links to any of the pieces? • Where would you look for inspiration if you were making a piece of craft? Process Choose a piece from the exhibition • How do you think the piece was made? • What tools or equipment do think were used to create the piece? • How long do you think it would take to make? • Is the piece decorative or plain? How or why do you think the maker decided to decorate it that way? • Do any pieces use traditional processes?

What is a maker? • Can you name different types of makers? • What are the differences between makers and other artists? Form • Can you describe the shape of your favourite piece of work? • Is the work flat or three-dimensional? • Why does it work as a shape? • Does the work look heavy or light?


Ideas for practical work Suggested activities link to art and design: Key stage 1& 2 unit 5a Objects and meanings and unit 1B Investigating materials In the gallery: • Draw your favourite piece of craft from the exhibition. Focus on the outline. Add in any patterns or marks that you can see on the pieces. • Look at the handling objects. Close your eyes and describe to your partner what the object feels like. Can your partner guess what the object is? • Write a list of the different types of materials in the exhibition. Draw an object made of each material along side the list. Back at school: • Develop a miniature gallery. Each person in the class could take on a role of a different maker. Make a piece of work out of the same material. • Explore materials by making jewellery out of each medium. E.g clay, metal, textiles, plastic, natural materials. Which material works best? • Make a collage using magazine cut outs and coloured paper, designed around the textile hangings by Sally Greaves Lord. Focus on pattern and colour. • Using recycled materials create a fish inspired by Rosamonde Ingram. • Look at the ‘At home II’ project. Create a piece of craft for some else in your class designed especially for them. • Write a story about your favourite craft piece from the exhibition. This could be fictional and or based on the real maker. If you are interested in an artist delivering a workshop at your school please contact craftspace who can recommend artist who may be interested.


Recommended websites There are many websites that may help you when researching craft. Here are a few to get you started: http://www.craftspace-touring.co.uk/ www.ragm.co.uk http://www.craftscouncil.org.uk/ http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/index.php http://www.icga.co.uk/ http://www.dazzle-exhibitions.com/links.html http://www.uk-craft.com/summary.php?craft=galleries http://www.bcfbooks.co.uk/ http://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/ http://www.craftsman-magazine.com/about/ http://www.culture.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/8BF4DA54-0207-43BE81AA-F64177550C0C/0/crafts.pdf


Glossary and Definitions

Words to explore Maker Contemporary Collaboration Vocation Residency Freelance Business Commission Texture Inspire Process Identity


Definitions Biscuit (ceramics) The first firing of pottery to harden it before it is glazed. Bone china (ceramics) China clay made from fine earthenware mixed with bone, which gives it further translucency Casting To make an object by pouring hot liquid, such as melted metal or ceramic, into a shaped container where it becomes hard

Enamelling (metal) The process of fusing thin layers of coloured glass to a metal surface through heating. Embroidery (textiles) To decorate cloth or clothing with patterns or pictures consisting of stitches that are sewn directly onto the material. Firing (ceramics) Clay is put into a kiln (a hot oven) to heat the clay until it hardens. Gilding (metal) To cover a surface with a thin layer of gold or a substance that looks like gold Blown Glass Air is blown down a tube into heated glass to form hollow objects such as bowls.

Porcelain (ceramics) A ceramic ware that is fired to a very high temperature to give a white translucent item. Resin

A type substance that is sticky when applied to a material and then becomes hard. Throwing (ceramics) A method of making pottery on a rotating wheel.

Made in the Middle 2006 Teachers' Pack  
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