Re-making the Cornucopia

missiongallery:

A detailed insight into the design process involved in Loglike’s ‘Cornucopia’. Thanks Jen!

Originally posted on :

Lathe in a country cottage
Recent interest in Cornucopia, (a large sculptural piece made from reclaimed wood) and the opportunity to show it at Mission Gallery and the Ruthin Craft Centre prompted a radical renovation and overhaul. The question was, how to improve an artwork that had already been made once, but so rapidly and loosely that it had fallen apart at the end of its original installation?

Sculpture in Haus of Helfa, Llandudno
The first showing of Cornucopia at Haus of Helfa in 2013 had proved that the design worked well. It was appealing, impressive and understandable. There, against the backdrop of a gutted building, its rough surface made sense. The piece did what it had to, for as long as it needed to. In this new exhibition, Cornucopia had to stand up to close scrutiny and also hold its own against a wealth of work by Welsh design talent. The distressed finish wasn’t doing it justice.

wooden hexagons of different sizes
Solutions we needed…

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Cork Craft & Design Exchange |05 – 07 August 2014

Following an invitation from Cork Craft & Design (which we happily accepted – I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland) for a cultural exchange of sorts.

Cork Craft & Design is a voluntary organisation of Cork craft makers (comprising of all craft disciplines). Its aim is to represent all professional craft makers within the City & County of Cork, working towards making the area a recognized city of excellence – Cork Craft Month (5th August – 5th September) is an important tool in this.

This was an opportunity not only to visit Cork Craft & Design but to share ideas and to research Irish based makers. We had been invited to talk about how we work as an Art & Craft gallery, combining both exhibitions and Craft Space. It is our ethos as Mission gallery ‘to nurture development and to push the boundaries of Visual and Applied Art’, offering exhibition, Craft Space and Residency opportunities to both emerging and established artists and makers.

Having arrived and met Carmel Creaner, CCD’s Secretary (and my guide for the trip), we headed out into Cork – first stop: Designworks Studios, Cork. A beautifully curated jewellery gallery and workshop space run by jewellery designer Tuula Harrington, renowned for hand-selecting Ireland’s most prestigious and talented jewellery designers and goldsmiths. Following a tour of makers work, Tuula, Carmel and I fell into conversation over the importance of aiding new and emerging makers – not only through volunteering and internships, but offering forums to which these makers can be introduced to those already in the industry.

A brief visit to the English Market for some much needed sustenance, followed by a visit to the Lavit Gallery. The Lavit Gallery is one of Cork’s longest established galleries, dedicated to promoting the work of artists and makers who have achieved the highest artistic levels ranging from the traditional to the contemporary. Filled fit to bursting – it was hard to know where to look first!

Onwards to Mary Enright’s Goldsmith & Jewellery Gallery in Kinsale, and a sneak peak at a new collection she’s working on (simple yet beautiful) for IJL: International Jewellery London. A quick detour to Enibas and coffee then to the main event of the day – the launch of Cork Craft Month with the curated showcase exhibition of Motive, at the Old Mill, Kinsale. A chance to see some selected makers work, nicely curated by Stephen McNamara (the sheer amount of vinyl lettering was phenomenal, yet it brought the whole exhibition together in a simple and effective way – vinyl and I do not get on by the way).

Motive Annual Showcase Exhibition | James O’Neill Building, Kinsale | 05 – 14 August 2014

Having met some lovely makers and seen examples of high quality work, it was fair to say that the first day had given me some food for thought!

An early start (with a full stomach) for day 2 – Cork Textiles Network’s Re:View exhibition was first point of call. The presentation at the ready (and slideshow working – thankfully), I introduced the network to Mission Gallery – a selection of exhibitions, craft space, makers, education and aims. The Re:View exhibition itself is held in Macroom. A large space can sometimes be daunting yet it had been filled well – the work had been curated in a way as to draw you around the room, allowing each maker their own exhibition space which merged well with the next.

Re:View exhibition | Cork Textiles Network | Town Hall Gallery, Macroom | 01 - 23 August 2014

Re:View exhibition | Cork Textiles Network | Town Hall Gallery, Macroom | 01 – 23 August 2014

A short car trip through lovely countryside to Tony Farrell’s workshop and an array of hand-turned bowls and platters await us – elm, beech, oak and lime. The Clay Works exhibition awaits us (although still being set-up), fortunately due to Carmel’s forward planning this does not impede us – we are expected and are free to wander through The CIT Wandesford Quay Gallery. Even in its unfinished state it is easy to see that the exhibition will be a success!

Clay Works Annual Members Exhibition 2014 | CIT Wandersford Quay Gallery, Wandersford Quay, Cork

Clay Works Annual Members Exhibition 2014 | CIT Wandersford Quay Gallery, Wandersford Quay, Cork

The Cork Craft & Design Pop-up shop at the Douglas Village Shopping Centre conveyed how effective it can be to take Craft out from a gallery environment. As most galleries or Craft shops will know it can at times be a challenge to introduce the general public (who are not used to visiting art establishments) into a space like this yet the pop-up shop seemed to do this easily.

Back again to the city centre and to the collective studios at Sample Studios. A visit to Nuala O’Donovan’s studio is on the cards and I’m getting just a little excited! A sculptural ceramicist based in Cork, her work is pattern based, intricate as well as pristinely clean. From there we visit Lesley Stothers with her wire spoons and paper pieces at her very organized studio and Thomas Campbell at his somewhat less organized but equally creative space.

The day underlined the importance of keeping in touch and working with others within a creative space – of not only creating work but of discussing/sharing/swapping/chatting/arguing ideas and concepts. To look for opportunities to broaden our own and other’s practices and to find Craft’s place within a business orientated society.

Mission Gallery and I would like to thank everyone (especially Carmel and Tony) for this fantastic opportunity of viewing a small snippet of Cork Craft & Design and to wish the very best to all with their own practices. This exchange is a relationship we hope to build on in future, and following the trip we would like to offer a Maker in Focus opportunity to selected Irish makers (names to follow soon)…

Go raibh maith agat

Ephemeral Coast | Gemma Copp

Statement

I work predominately with film and installation, often filming in isolated and secluded places or places perceived to be so by the viewer. My work aims to raise a flux of visceral emotions relating to identity and basic human emotions and concerns.

Bio

Gemma Copp is a Welsh artist, who currently resides in Swansea, her city of birth. Graduating with a BA in Fine Art from Swansea Metropolitan University in 2006, Copp went on to complete an MA in Contemporary Dialogues in 2009 at the same University. Copp has recently taken part in the Glynn Vivian’s Artist in Residence program. Copp has shown work nationally and internationally and has recently exhibited work at the Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh, and at the Mannheim Film Festival in Germany, where she received a special commendation from the judges. She was awarded Welsh Artist of the Year in 2012.

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Space  2014

Film, 40 mins.

With its continuous body of salt water covering most of the earth’s surface, the sea is seen as a geophysical body with the tidal rhythms acting as its lungs. The sea is a constant reminder of life, where its continuous tidal motions breathe existence into nature’s habitat and fuel the cycle of regeneration. But what if that were to stop? Life is given value because of its transient and impermanent nature, and the coastline can be just as fragile and ephemeral. What if the rhythm were to be damaged and the cycle broken? Would nature’s balance disappear with the low tide, never to return? Within the piece you see a melancholic, motionless figure, dressed in black, with her back to the viewer. It appears that she is stood, balancing on top of the sea, as the waves repeatedly roll around her. The sea appears to be in balance at this point but as the once high tide turns to low tide and disburses around the figure, it gives the impression that something menacing is about to happen. The colour and focus of the horizon, that once was clear and inspiring, creating feelings of happiness and limitless possibilities, instead now offers the viewer visceral feelings of concern and desolation.

Ephemeral Coast | Fern Thomas

www.thesefuturefields.eu

Statement

Fern Thomas is based out of Swansea, Wales, UK. Rooted in the processes and principles of Social Sculpture, her work explores the potency and transformational capacities of the image in its broadest sense and interrogates her relationship with the ecological, archetypal, and mythological world. Manifesting in action – live or documented – her process-led and intuitive explorations often take the form of a physical interaction or ‘meeting’ between herself and a place, a dream, a history or another being.

Bio

Thomas is the winner of Mostyn Open (2011), was a recipient of the Arts and Humanities Research Council Award (2011/2012), was awarded the Interdisciplinary Arts Prize (2013) at Oxford Brookes University for her work during her Masters in Social Sculpture, and received a Creative Wales Award in 2014 to support her ongoing research into participatory forms and their relationship with sustainability. Thomas received her MA in Social Sculpture from Oxford Brookes University, working with Shelley Sacks, where she developed the post-apocalyptic research unit Institute for Imagined Futures & Unknown Lands.

She co-initiated the collaborative and pedagogical groups Art’s Birthday Wales and Forever Academy, works closely with her key collaborator Owen Griffiths, and is a member of the Social Sculpture Research Unit based in Oxford, UK.

 

From the Watchtower

 

The Sea and We;

A love affair

A catastrophe…

 

From the Watchtower will see the transformation of citizen into learner/observer into active participant. Expanding on a woman’s daily practice of watching the sea from her top floor flat overlooking Swansea Bay, the Watchtower will be activated by the use of a high stool by the window to sit on and the day-long focus and observation (sometimes with binoculars, sometimes without) of the sea.

Across several weeks full days will be dedicated to the act of observing the sea. This act of considered mindfulness will attempt to focus on the sea only, without distraction, holding the image of, and also ‘being with’, the sea. This will provide the space to notice the shifting tides, the changing colours of the sea and also things about the sea which the woman does not yet understand.

At the end of each day observations and thoughts will be transformed into a spoken word / sonic interpretation of the day which will then be made available on the online From the Watchtower Radio Station.

Although in essence a lonely process, with connotations of a future world where a person sits looking at the sea for something yet unknown, this research will extend to include other women who live on the same hill. They will be invited to contribute their thoughts and experiences of having a daily relationship with this body of water visible from their homes.  Pre-established contact with others who have a relationship with the sea such as academics working with climatic change and oceanography at Swansea University will form a bank of expertise to call upon at appropriate times during the process (forms of contact and evidence of dialogue to be confirmed).

There will be a resulting sound archive available online as part of the radio station and a small publication will also act a document of the process. This will be printed by Like Lichen a small handmade publishing press and will be the first publication by this press.

Ephemeral Coast | Stefhan Caddick

http://www.stefhancaddick.co.uk

Artist Statement

I am interested in the savagery of the natural world, misremembered episodes from political history, the three-minute single and not knowing the way. My work, whilst taking a range of forms from film to installation, drawing to performance, is unified by an intellectual and aesthetic rigour. I approach the act of making work with an interest in the process itself and will sometimes invent ornate, often ridiculous systems or methodologies as a mode of production. My work is at once darkly melancholic and blackly comedic.

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Brief Bio

Stefhan Caddick is a Wales-based artist who works in video, installation and performance.  His practice is often a collaborative engagement that sources its materials from institutions, communities and individuals. With an interest in process itself, Caddick invents ornate systems of production that are both melancholic and comedic. He is the recent recipient of the Major Creative Wales Award from the Art Council of Wales (2013), and has been commissioned for various artistic projects including Pickle Lane (2013) at the Fourth Wall Festival, Ghost Parade (2012) at the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Festival and The Magician’s Cat (2004) at the Welsh National Opera. Caddick is currently a visiting lecturer in Creative Sound and Music at the University of Wales College, where he also earned his MA in Documentary Photography.

Drowned World

“The low night sounds of the jungle drifted over the water; occasionally a marmoset gibbered or the iguanas shrieked distantly from their eyries in the distant office blocks. Myriads of insects festered along the water-line, momentarily disturbed as the swells rolled in … slapping at the canted sides of the pontoon” JG Ballard, ‘The Drowned World’, 1962

Taking its starting point Ballard’s novel of the same name, Drowned World comprises a functional, scaled down prototype of a junk rigged floating survival craft. The craft sits at the centre of a fictional, faceted environment, reminiscent of early video games.

Like Ballard’s 1962 novel, the installation asks questions about what happens to people when the edge is redrawn; and the enduring allure of natural catastrophe – ‘the-end-is-nigh’-ism – as evident in the biblical flood story as it is in contemporary debates about climate change. It also stumbles into issues about migration and whether there’s a survivalist thread hidden within the contemporary ‘maker’.

Ephemeral Coast is an international, 4-year curatorial research project curated by Celina Jeffery (University of Ottawa,Canada).

Ephemeral Coast | Julia Davis

http://www.juliadavis.com.au

Statement

The primary focus of my research investigates the perceptions of and relationships between places, spaces and human habitation. My questions revolve around how these perceptions underpin our sense of self as well as howlandscape is cultural space – a space formed by and informing culture.

Brief Bio

Julia Davis is a site-specific artist based out of Sydney, Australia. Over the past decade Davis’ work has been installed in salt lakes, deserts, coastal precincts, parklands, galleries and built environments. Her practice explores the perceptions and relationships between objects, places and spaces. More recently, Davis’ work has attended to the viewer’s experiential reading of space in terms of temporality and duration. She has exhibited in Australia, Germany, Italy and Spain, and is the recipient of numerous awards including the NAVA NSW artist grant (2011), the Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award (2007), the Woollahra Sculpture Prize (2006) and the NGSW Director’s prize (2002). She currently teaches sculpture at TAFE and holds an MVA from Sydney College of Arts.

Consilience: as the world turns, 2013/14, Time-lapse HD video, stereo sound, 07:49 (loop).

Concept/performance: Julia Davis

Camera: Alex Cherney

Compositing: Matt Fezz

Sound: Paul Huntingford, Julia Davis Thanks to NASA for extracts of sound from Voyager 1 & 11’s  first recording of interstellar space and encounter with Saturn 1980.

My work explores the effect of time on understandings of the body in relation to landscape and how this underpins our sense of self and place. I often work in ‘active‘ landscapes such as deserts, volcanic areas, coastal precincts and salt lakes and am interested in the idea that landscape is cultural space – a space informed by and informing culture.

In geological time, the landscape moves, pulses and crashes in processes of coming into and out of existence. The often, violent imagery of turbulent volcanic ash clouds used in recent works translates here in this vast Southern Hemisphere sky which elicits contradictory feelings of foreboding and rapture. Tension between anticipated loss and subsequent renewal, as well as the duality of processes that create and destroy, corrode and protect are ongoing interests in Davis’s art practice. The ‘active’ places she refers to mirror the fragile human experience of movement, instability, rhythm, reflection and change. In my work, geological time and human perception merge into a single spatial experience and take us closer to a sense of the world as our place.

Through this work, I explore what Elizabeth Grosz calls in her book, The Nick of Time, the “brute world of materiality, a world regulated by the exigencies, the forces of space and time.” I question how our immersion in time and place affects both our sense of embodiment and our perception of ourselves. Her installations, videos and prints evoke desire, vulnerability and anxiety; a sense of being poised at the edge of a world that is fraught with man made and natural disaster.

You can also view Julia’s work produced during an IASKA’s residency in Western Australia, SPACED: art out of place, 2010

http://www.spaced.org.au/one/content/project/Mukinbudin%3A+Julia+Davis/16/

Ephemeral Coast is an international, 4-year curatorial research project led by Celina Jeffery (University of Ottawa, Canada).

Ephemeral Coast Curator’s Perspective: Celina Jeffery

One of the central intentions of Ephemeral Coast is to consider new ways of configuring culture and meaning into experiences of environmental change. As a university based curator, I’m interested in how alliances between the visual arts, academia and community can create such opportunities for us to consider this.

South West Wales, which boasts stunning beaches on the Swansea peninsula that sit side by side with a significant industrial past and a commercial present, is an obvious choice for me to locate one of the Ephemeral Coast exhibitions. It offers potential for so many facets of the project’s goals: the gallery hosting the exhibition is situated in a maritime quarter and has the capacity to connect through geographic proximity and community to the cultures of the coast. Moreover, South Wales, along with the West of Wales and most regions in the South of England, have experienced startling and aggressive weather patterns – mostly attributed to climate change, with record storm surges and flooding remapping the physical and I would argue, emotional contours of the coastline with serious ramifications of how we conceptualize living on the coast.

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I also grew up in one of the more industrial areas of South Wales and carry very vivid memories of the surprising and often sublime contrasts between this coastal region, the coal, steel and chemical works which dominated the coastal edge and the hills and valleys which envelop the habitats of the communities within. Major aspects of these industries and their associated cultures have now recessed, thwarted by lack of economic regeneration, while the long-term impact of such industries upon the environment have yet to be fully realized. The artists taking part in Ephemeral Coast, S. W. Wales were chosen for a number of reasons, but all have been concerned with the aesthetic problems and conditions that arise from coastal environmental changes occurring within their specific region.

The artists taking part in this exhibition currently employ ideas, themes and methods of exploration and mapping coastal culture and their related ecologies; and all are concerned with practices of site-specificity. Each of the artists produced new work based on the curatorial premise of the exhibition: Stefhan Caddick, (Abergavenny, Wales) will respond to the recent floods in the region with a diorama inspired by J.G. Ballard’s Drowned World, which alludes to nihilism, biblical floods as well as contemporary migrations; Fern Thomas’s (Swansea, Wales) From the Watchtower Radio Station will utilize sound recordings of her own performative practices of observing the sea as well as those of her community for ‘the […] space’ in Mission Gallery; while Julia Davis’ (NSW, Australia) video installation presents a comparative geography in which the artist positions herself ‘at the edge’ of an encounter – with nature’s wonder and imminent ecocide. Meanwhile, Gemma Copp, a Swansea based artist has produced a video for ‘the […] space’ in which she contemplates the breath of the sea and its figurative death.

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Leaving Tide, Gemma Copp, 2014

There are always and inevitably gaps in the conceptualization of such projects and their specific realization. The cultural imaginings of coastal environmental changes in local and comparatively global contexts is magnanimous; the task of identifying the ethical and aesthetic potential of curating climate change is a difficult one; and the concept of using the exhibition as a forum for exchange between multiple but related disciplines in academia while also trying to create legitimate engagement with the public sphere is challenging.  Yet, if viewed as an event that creates a series of propositions, Ephemeral Coast offers an interesting nexus of dialogue between art, ecology, and community.

Some of these questions fold back on identifying the aesthetic problem itself: the curatorial process offers for me, a unique opportunity to discover, analyze, re-imagine and re-frame the cultural and ethical discourses surrounding environmental change. It is therefore, the very ‘uniqueness’ of Caddick’s drowned world, of Davis’s numinous encounter with the coastal perimeter, of Thomas’s daily observations of the sea and Copp’s fusing of her breath with that of the tide, that present very particular and distinct takes on our relationship to the coast. Indeed, the ‘topic’ of climate change – a nebulous and indistinct phenomenon associated more with changing weather patterns than multifarious economic, political and cultural impacts on the environment, is not overtly or didactically apparent. It is not an exhibition ‘about’ climate change, so much as a series of individual, poetic and socially investigative aesthetic considerations which trace the coast as a liminal, transgressive and ‘ephemeral’ counter-narrative.

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Ephemeral Coast is a long-term research project with exhibitions currently planned for Mauritius (2015) and Alaska (2016) with further sites being investigated. A catalogue of Ephemeral Coast – S. W. Wales, will be available, with contributions by Ian Buchanan, Director of the Institute of Social Transformation, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia; Mary H. Gagen, Associate Professor of Geography and Climate Change, University of Swansea, Wales; and Celina Jeffery.