Archive for Dail Behennah

Dispatches: Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, Plymouth, UK

Posted in Commissions, enamel, stone with tags , , on February 20, 2011 by arttextstyle

Calculus, by Sue Lawty, 2m x 3m, natural stone on gesso. photo by John Coombes

 

Taking Time: Craft and the Slow Revolution, opens February 12th at the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery and runs through April 9, 2011.  The exhibition, which was curated by artist Helen Carnac for Craftspace, “considers how the practice of contemporary craft making embraces similar values and philosophies to those supported by the Slow Movement.  Both think through where things are made, by whom and the importance of provenance. They ask us to slow down, perhaps not literally but certainly philosophically, and to reflect on other and perhaps more thoughtful ways of doing things.”  Taking Time features 19 international artists, makers and designers, including Sue Lawty, Matthew Harris, Heidrun Schimmel and Sonya Clark, whose making practice and work connects with these ideas. In different and sometimes overlapping ways they examine the world through making and in places quietly ask questions about global and local conditions that we find ourselves in today. The exhibition aims to show that contemporary craft practice and its methodologies can generate a modern and timely response to current social debates.

Sue Lawty provided in-progress images and described the process of making of Calculus, her work large and meticulously crafted work for the Taking Time exhibition on her V&A blog  http://www.vam.ac.uk/vastatic/microsites/1395_lawty/wordpress last January. In making the work, she wrote, “hundreds and thousands of decisions were wrestled and questioned in researching, collecting, sorting, selecting, organising, ordering, laying out, composing… The process is by its nature, a meditative and slow affair. I found myself considering how each tiny found fragment of rock laid out in each single row, echoed the minute subtle nuances and individualities embedded in all the rows of all the fragments of woven cloth I’d encountered in the V&A stores. Each unique mark and decision of infinitesimal difference subscribing to the language of the whole.”

The Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery was home to another fascinating installation, Labelled, by Dail Behennah, from February 2009 to May 2010  http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/lookingin_lookingout.pdf.

Labelled-by-Dail-Behennah

Labelled was made of 490 suspended enamel labels, hung in three layers forming a circle over 2m wide. Each enamel was printed with a label from natural history specimens within the Museum’s collections. These specimens were collected and intended for study. The labels were written by curators and collectors over the centuries and record various details about the specimens. One of the core aims of Labelled was to provoke viewers into thinking about why we collect and what can be learned from these specimens. The collections have a genuine scientific importance and are studied to help understand species and habitats in the past as well as in the present. The glittering enamels Behennah used reflected the preciousness of the natural world and different species. The circle was punctuated by red labels, which indicated an endangered or extinct species and reminded viewers of the fragility of the natural world.

Behennah says she was always interested in the idea of the collector’s cabinet which aimed to collect and preserve knowledge. “Without natural history collections in museums, and their associated information, we would not know which species are threatened, on the verge of extinction or already extinct,” says Behennah. “Some, such as the dodo and passenger pigeon, may live on in folklore, but species of insignificant-looking insects or fish can disappear without trace if they have not already been recorded, classified and labelled by collectors in the past, and preserved in museums today.” It was Behennah’s hope that the installation would engender debate about museums and their role, as well as debates surrounding species diversity and conservation. “These are important topics,” Behennah notes, “especially now that we are appearing to witness climate change and habitat movement and reduction.” The Museum’s website still includes additional information, including and interview with Behennah, images of the installation process and some of the specimens and more. http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/lookingin_lookingout.pdf

An example of an enamel label, of the sort Dail Behennah prepared for her installation work, Labelled. A large part of the value of a museum is contained in its labelling and scholarship, a fact that is generally not acknowledged. Each of the 490 enamels in Labelled is printed with a label from natural history specimens within the Plymouth City Museum’s collections.

The Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery is at Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AJ.

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Summer Stock: Artist Lectures, Classes and Workshops

Posted in Classes, Lectures, Workshops with tags , , , , , , on April 25, 2010 by arttextstyle

Here’s a list of opportunities to connect this summer with artists that browngrotta arts promotes:

Dorothy Gill Barnes in her studio

Dorothy Gill Barnes
May 30th to June 11th

From Nature: Textiles/Sculpture, Penland School of Crafts, Penland, North Carolina ;
Using mostly materials gathered from the Penland landscape, students in this class will construct vessels or sculptures that honor nature using a variety of techniques: carpentry, sewing, weaving—whatever is appropriate to local materials and suitable to individual inspiration. We will work with respectfully harvested heavy and delicate barks, grasses, wood, vines, and roots.

Dail Behennah at COLLECT 2009

Dail Behennah
May 30th to June 11th

Line, Light, and Shadow: An Approach to Basketry Construction, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, Maine;
The shadows that baskets cast and contain are often complex and beautiful and you will be encouraged to consider this aspect of the structures that you make. Ways of joining hard and soft materials will be demonstrated and, if necessary, invented in order that 2D and 3D forms can be constructed. Demonstrations, exercises, and discussions will provide inspiration, which will enable you to develop your own ideas. Participants will be encouraged to make samples, 3D sketches, and a more considered piece of work.

Nancy Moore Bess holding Glacial Planes at SOFA NY 2010

Nancy Moore Bess
May 16th to 22nd

Japanese-Inspired Baskets, Snow Farm, Williamsburg, Massachusetts;

Some traditional Japanese Baskets require only fifteen minutes and a smile. Others can consume the length of an entire workshop, no matter its length. Each example in this workshop can lead to hours of experimentation and dozens of variations.

July 23rd

Wrapping Flowers — Japanese Style , Berkshire Botanical Garden, Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
In Japan, presentation influences so much – food, flowers, tea. But Japan is not the only culture this worksop will be inspired by. Their are wonderful exsiting flower arrangement traditions from many cultures and this worksop will draw from them.

August 6th to 10th

Pillow Baskets: Screen and Paper, Peters Valley Craft Center, Layton, New Jersey; Contact: Jennifer Brooks; http://www.petersvalley.org
A wide variety of hardware store screening can be cut, folded, woven and stitched into lovely vessels. A covering of bits of handmade papers creates a luminescent skin. Years of travel to Japan and teaching has exposed Nancy Moore Bess to a wide range of vessel forms. Her passion for Japanese Packaging influences all that she creates.

Green Sculptures by Ceca Georgieva

Ceca Georgieva
Weekends from May to September

Green Summer Workshops, Ceca’s garden in the Vitosha Mountains near Sofia, Bulgaria. Email us at art@browngrotta.com if you’d like more details. The workshops will focus on dyeing with natural dyes using old traditional Bulgarian recipes.

Sheila Hicks Reflected in her Deck Weaving

Sheila Hicks
July 2010; exact date to be determined

Global Intrigue II 4th International Textile and Fibre Triennial , Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, National Museum of Art, Riga, Latvia
The exhibition opens July 9th at the Arsenals Exhibition Hall and runs through September 5, 2010. Sheila Hicks, one of two specially invited artists, will speak and exhibit work.

Lewis Knauss in Front of RETURNING GRASSES

Lewis Knauss
August 10th to August 14th

Fiber and Handmade Paper into Sculpture (and Artist in Residence) , The Bascom, P.O. Box 766, Highlands, North Carolina 28741

Mia Olsson TRACES 6 RELIEF Detail

Mia Olsson
June 28th to July 4th

Dyeing with Plants , Sätergläntan, College of Handicrafts, Knippbodarna 119, SE-793 4, Insjön, Sweden

August 9th to 13th

Free Embroidery, Black on white, White on black, White on white…, Sätergläntan, College of Handicrafts, Knippbodarna 119, SE-793 4, Insjön, Sweden

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In Print: Weave Arrived, in how to spend it, the Financial Times

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 10, 2010 by arttextstyle
weave.arrived.jpg

Basketry has graduated from country-fair staple to sophisticated urban art form, Emma Crichton-Miller wrote in Weave Arrived, an article in the December 5, 2009 issue of the Financial TImes‘ glossy weekly magazine, how to spend it. Over the last 15 years, Crichton-Miller observes, “basket-making has experienced not just a revival but a reinvention.” The transformation to an expressive medium has been led in the UK by Mary Butcher, recently designer-in-residence at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Butcher learned traditional skills from artisan basketmaker, Alwyne Hawkins, but as a research fellow she began to use the materials to create work that “slipped its leash” — cones that hang from the ceiling, chains of bark rings and densely woven sculptural shapes. Crichton-Miller notes that outside the UK, art basketmaking has had a high profile for sometime as a result of artists like Markku Kosonen of Finland, and John McQueen and Ed Rossbach in the US.

With the vessel no longer the “first priority,” says Butcher, basketmakers are able to address other exploratory concerns. Lizzie Farey’s willow spheres and soaring wall pieces are animated by her attachment to the landscape of Scotland, where she lives and works. Dail Behennah, who studied geography, creates forms of steel, willow and other woods that are constructed, rather than woven. Her grids, scaffolds and spheres explore ideas about line and light and shadow. Joe Hogan rescues ancient wood from bogs and the sea that he incorporates into his woven forms. The result is often unexpected, highly individual and energetic. Artists like these have ended “basketry’s 20th-century obsession with the past,” Crichton-Miller concludes, and entered “a new world of pure function-free aesthetic pleasure.”