Made in the Middle Contemporary craft from across the Midlands
Introduction An overview of the exhibition Aims of the exhibition Projects developed and parties involved
Where to see the exhibition Tour schedule
List of makers Names and media
Useful websites Websites for researching craft
How to explore the exhibition
Themes Themes explored within the exhibition Prompt questions to help investigate the exhibits
Ideas for practical work Suggested activities Follow-up ideas
Glossary and definitions
Introduction An overview of the exhibition
Projects developed and parties involved
Made in the Middle is an open exhibition held every three years originated by Craftspace and selected by a panel. This year the theme is Pathways to Craft: exploring different alternative ways to approach making, including innovative digital processes and various career routes.
This project was a partnership between Craftspace and mac birmingham in collaboration with The National Centre for Craft & Design.
There are 35 makers participating. The exhibition highlights the career path of the makers, reflecting the different routes taken and then looks to the future with the action research project Apprenticeships in the Making. Previous Made in the Middle exhibitions have shown work from makers in the West Midlands. This seventh show displays work originating from across the Midlands region, having expanded to include the East Midlands.
Apprenticeships in the Making was an action research project to investigate the potential for young people not in education, employment or training to undertake an apprenticeship, and explore the challenges for both the young people as well as the participating makers. This project was a partnership between Craftspace, mac birmingham, The Prince’s Trust Fairbridge Programme in Birmingham and Made in the Middle exhibitors Jennifer Collier, Kevin Grey and Amy Twigger Holroyd.
Aims of the exhibition The aim is to focus on alternative ways to approach making. This is shown through the variety of makers’ experiences and the different routes taken to get to this point in their practice. Alongside this, the show explains through the experiences of young people participating in the Apprenticeships in the Making project, the possibility of using an apprenticeship as a potential way into a career. Made in the Middle will also demonstrate the developments in craft made with the use of digital technologies. New processes and technologies open up possibilities for makers to push the boundaries of their chosen medium and explore new ways of working.
Where to see the exhibition The exhibition will tour for 18 months. The launch is at mac birmingham in February 2012. Check the websites for events at individual venues. Tour schedule
11 February 2012 – 15 April 2012 mac birmingham Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH www.macarts.co.uk
28 April 2012 – 1 July 2012 The National Centre for Craft & Design Navigation Wharf, Carre Street, Sleaford, Lincs NG34 7TW www.nationalcraftanddesign.org.uk
15 September 2012 – 27 October 2012 Shire Hall Gallery Market Square, Stafford ST16 2LD www.staffordshire.gov.uk
15 January 2013 – 9 March 2013 Rugby Art Gallery and Museum Little Elborow Street, Rugby CV21 3BZ www.rugby.gov.uk
23 March 2013 – 11 May 2013 Bilston Craft Gallery Mount Pleasant, Bilston WV14 7LU www.wolverhamptonart.org.uk
25 May 2013 – 6 July 2013 Northampton Museum and Art Gallery Guildhall Road, Northampton NN1 1DP www.northampton.gov.uk
List of Makers Made in the Middle 2012 Exhibitors Name
www.jennifercollier.co.uk & www.unittwelve.co.uk
Anna Collette Hunt
Pottinger and Cole
www.basketryplus.org and click on her link
James and Tilla Waters
In addition to the makersâ€™ websites, the websites below may also be of use when researching craft. www.craftspace.co.uk www.craftscouncil.org.uk www.photostore.org.uk An incredibly useful database of images from Crafts Council. www.nationalcraftanddesign.org.uk www.culturelabel.com Has a small selection of work from the Made in the Middle shop stock. www.designfactory.org.uk Design Factory is a creative development agency offering support to makers in the East Midlands whose website showcases products and lists exhibitions, as well as offering makers opportunities. www.designermakerwm.co.uk Designer Maker West Midlands provides information and signposts opportunities to support makers in the West Midlands.
How to explore the exhibition Gill Wilson
Anna Collette Hunt
Made in the Middle links to Art and Design from KS 1 onwards. Younger pupils can explore the exhibition, learning the social conventions of visiting a gallery, developing language through seeing unusual and surprising objects that have been made in unexpected materials. The wide variety of exhibits can be inspiration for written descriptions, poems, recounts and imaginative writing. The visually stunning patterns and repeat designs seen in the exhibition can be reworked in different ways back in school using grids and tables. Pupils can explore symmetry in exhibits and then relate this knowledge to everyday objects and begin to understand how mathematical skills can inform how makers work. Reinforce maths language in a craft setting by talking about rotational symmetry, parallel lines, translated images and more! The exhibition offers older pupils the opportunity to develop critical analysis skills, build their visual vocabulary, use a sketch book to record and analyse others’ work, and see how designers use digital technology to help realise their ideas. Get them to make notes of their favourite pieces and research later how the maker used new technology to achieve the final work on display and also work on the maker’s website.
You can explore various other resources at the exhibition. There is a handling table with the opportunity to touch and hold pieces from some of the exhibitors. In addition Jon Williams’ pieces and Anna Collette Hunt’s table piece are interactive. In the Statements folder you can find out more about the maker’s inspiration for their pieces. The iPad will give you further information about creative career signposting, supported by Creative & Cultural Skills through their Creative Choices website. You can scan the QR code links on the panels and labels to take you to find out more about the maker’s work and processes or to link to the following sites to give us your thoughts and reflections on the exhibition or, afterwards, send in photos showing any follow up work you have done. www.madeinthemiddle.org www.twitter.com/craftspace
www.facebook.com/craftspace www.flickr.com/groups/madeinthemiddle www.craftspace.co.uk
This can also be an ideal starting point for considering the various options available in addition to higher education when they leave school, through discovering how many different pathways the makers in the exhibition have taken and the action research project Apprenticeships in the Making.
Themes Karina Thompson
The exhibition has different themes explored through case studies of individual artists. You can read these case studies on the panels within the exhibition. The different themes are: The Traditional Path Apprenticeships to Making Making as a Second Career Diversification of Practice Diversification from Making Developing New Pathways Each object label tells where the maker is based and their pathway. The makers may also have information on their career route and examples of their work on their own websites which are listed above. A catalogue will be available to purchase which will go into the routes to practice in more detail. There are five pathways explored in the exhibition: Traditional New skills Second career Diversification Apprenticeship Discuss and analyse the exhibits in different ways Personal response What are your first reactions to the work? Do you like it? Which is your favourite bit of it? Do you like the colour/s? What is it about? Where would you imagine it being used or displayed â€“
in a home, in a gallery, in a public building? Why would it be good to display it there? Materials How many different materials can you identify in the object? Are they natural or man-made? How would you describe the main material used: hard, strong, cold to the touch, easily cut, flexible, warm to the touch, delicate, fluffy, transparent, translucent, opaque, shiny, dull, sharp or spiky, woven, flat, smooth, rough, knobbly? Do you think it is heavy or light? Why? Do you think the object is made from the most appropriate material? How would you improve it? Process How do you think it was made? What tools would you need to make this object? Would you need a special workshop to make this in? What different skills/ techniques/ processes do you think the maker would have known to help them make this object? Form Describe the shape of the object? Does it remind you of a regular geometric shape (e.g. square, rectangle, circle or triangle)? Is it two-dimensional (flat) or three-dimensional? Is there an inside and an outside surface? Are they the same? Why do you think the maker has chosen to make it like this? Is the object meant to be used for a purpose or is it just decorative? Does the shape help? Have you ever seen anything else similar?
Ideas for practical work Amy Twigger Holroyd
Suggested activities whilst at the exhibition Make a tally chart of the five pathways taken by the makers to see which is the most popular. The five pathways are: Traditional, Apprenticeships, Second Career, Diversification and New skills Find and record the names of the makers who support new graduates (or other makers) and how they do this. Find the work by Amy Twigger Holroyd. She uses a method called ‘stitch-hacking’ to add words to a garment. What words would you incorporate into your jumper and why?
Looking at the exhibition, what patterns made with a raised surface inspire you? Think of other objects with a raised surface pattern that could be used with vacuum forming or reproduced with digital manipulation onto a new surface. Explore the idea of a multi-sensory object. Jon Williams has made ceramic forms which explore the natural acoustics of the material. Look at other objects in the exhibition and describe how they work with more than one of your senses.
Name four reasons why a maker would want to diversify? What might they gain by doing something different? Make a list of makers using traditional techniques? Make a list of makers using new technologies?
Ideas for practical work Andrew Tanner
Follow-up ideas After looking at the work by Andrew Tanner in the exhibition, cut and paste imagery found on greetings cards to make virtual plates with an animated component made with stop motion animation. If you have a favourite way of working or media, take on an apprentice and work together to make objects for an exhibition in your class. Are there any adults who could bring in their expertise to the class and teach a new skill like knitting, soldering or basketry? Refer to Anna Collette Hunt’s swarm of insects. Make a swarm to invade a space in your school. What creatures will you choose? What medium will you useclay, paper, recycled objects? Research pictures of Anna’s Swarm installation for Nottingham Castle on her website: http://www.annacollettehunt.com/. Consider carefully what is possible in your chosen space. Set up a blog to record how the project progresses. Have a look at the App to build your own virtual beetle.
Try blind embossing to create a wall panel. Mandana Thompson uses leather: however you could try cutting thick card shapes and gluing them onto board. Place lightly dampened cartridge paper over the shapes and rub with a burnisher (or back of a spoon), or emboss in a press. Try different places or ways to display the work to ensure the embossed images are visible. Use Imogen Luddy’s Crochet Chair and Zoë Hillyard’s ceramic and textile vessels as inspiration to create a new object from an existing one. Cover an existing hard solid structure with a soft and flexible wrap/material to challenge the viewer’s perception of the object. Write about who you’d like to be an apprentice for. Whose work excited you whilst at the exhibition? What material inspires or fascinates you? What skill would you like to learn?
Glossary and definitions Augmented reality
Using a smart phone camera App to add computer generated imagery to a real object or place.
Applying a chemical to a metal creating a reaction that alters the surface texture and/or colour.
A moulded design that is raised above the surface often produced by pressing the pattern into the material.
Gaffer casting crystal
A transparent glass type designed to withstand the special demands of the lost wax process.
Glass casting billets
The most superior form of casting material, ensuring excellent translucency with minimum bubbles.
Layers of wood glued together.
A superheated beam of light giving a concentrated heat source to join metal pieces together by melting the metal (welding).
A shiny metallic surface.
Very thin layers of wood that are designed to be stuck down on a surface to form a pattern or image.
To undergo a chemical reaction with oxygen as in rusting.
Clay with paper fibres mixed in, adding possible uses to the original properties of clay: paper clay is stronger allowing thinner constructions and can be joined in different ways to ordinary clay. It is fired as normal clay.
An electric arc is used to melt the metal at the welding point, the process uses a tungsten electrode and the area is protected with an inert gas (TIG = tungsten inert gas).
Waterjet cutting uses a fine jet of water mixed with an abrasive matter to cut through materials. Shapes can be intricately cut or carved without damaging the material by heating.