Sign Post to a New Space

Very good two day symposium in Harrogate last Thursday and Friday. I so nearly didn’t book ‐ juggling and justifying the expense to the last minute…but being there served to affirm the fundamental value and importance of such events in a creative life. The focus: “ 16 leading international practitioners, curators and historians discuss the possibilities for creative expression arising from the interplay between collections ‐ collecting ‐ collective memory ‐ collective constructions.” !! Excellent presentations from Japan, Australia, Europe, U.S. and U.K. delivered from a huge reservoir of knowledge and often with humour, provided insight into textile life around the globe. And given the context I find myself in now, it was fascinating to hear how other artists in different times/different places have worked with historic collections. I am including images of the Dutch artist Marian Bijlenga’s pieces partly because she gave us such a clear, uncluttered and heartfelt talk ‐ but mostly because I love her work. I admire the strength and integrity of her personal tactile language. Marian Bijlenga at Harrogate Conference 2005 One of the very best things about gatherings of this sort is meeting new people and the re-establishing of contact with contemporaries – feeling part of something… slightly indefinable ‐ no longer a fish swimming alone. So much was inspiring during the two days but particularly uplifting was the vision and commitment of Michael Brennand-Wood and Mary Schoeser, the organisers. I would never underestimate the amount of time and energy and sheer dedication to realise such a project. Dot study, (detail). © Marian Bijlenga - Click to enlarge. Sign Post to a New Space conference, Harrogate - Click to enlarge. Hank of Ramie - Click to enlarge. Ramie (detail) - Click to enlarge. Hank of silk - Click to enlarge. Silk (detail) - Click to enlarge.

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