Monday, 14 September 2015

An Abecedary for Oya / Manufactum at CC de Ververij

Below is some copy which I wrote last month to accompany ‘An abecedary for Oya’, a series of works included in the current exhibition Manufactum at CC de Ververij in Ronse, curated by Jan Leconte and Chris Rotsaert.

For more info on the work and exhibition, see the links above or previous posts, or better still, go see the exhibition before the end of the month.

A for Anticipation and Artisanal

B for Baskets and Bonanzas

C for Cording and Coiling

An Abecedary for Oya

Earlier this year, artist Shane Waltener worked on Land of Plenty, a project commissioned by Rocsa. The collaborative project with the Oya group led to a number of objects being made, using locally sourced plant materials and yarns. They were exhibited at the end of the project at De Site in Ghent, where the plant materials were originally collected from.

The 26 composite pieces on display here include these original objects combined with others that inspired them or that were made in response to them. Also included with these are a number of Dailymades, selected from an ongoing series of works started by the artist in 2011.

By collaging and juxtaposing objects drawing on traditional crafts from all around the world and including techniques such as weaving, basketry and Oya crochet work, 'An Abedecary for Oya' questions where inspiration comes from and what objects communicate to us; can they contribute even to our sense of place and shift our understanding of our own social or cultural identity?

D for Darning and Dance

E for Exploring and Expanding

F for Feral and Foraging

G for Generous and Generative

H for Harvest and Hardiness

Sunday, 2 August 2015

transacting at TransActions (The Weave Exchange)

transaction in progress

Belatedly sending off some text and images as feedback to the organisers of TransActions: the Market of Values (see previous post), which will be used in a forthcoming publication.

Below is a pre-edit preview of the questions I was asked to answer that will tell and show you how the event went last month...

a successful transaction
another successful transaction

what values did your store explore?

The store at #TransActing displayed a collection of stitched and woven objects, produced using locally sourced plant materials and yarn during Land of Plenty, a recent project with a community group based in Ghent. These objects were offered to visitors at the market on the provision an exchange was made for these in the form of another object, an instruction or a thought or story inspired by these. The idea with this scheme for transaction was to question the value of objects and making; the provenance of materials, finding sustainable ways of making work, the necessity for social interaction and exchange to determine the value and meaning of objects.

deliberating a transaction
a failed transaction

 what transactions did it feature?

A number of transactions involved exchanging instructions and drawings for some of the objects, but no new objects were made at the stall. Instructions included using some of the work as a cache-pots, using ‘Oya’ inspired crochet work as alternative for decorative glaze motifs on ceramic, using these also as stencils for printmaking and as templates for jewellery and other fashion accessories, including a wide brimmed hat from one of the larger and more colourful pieces on display.

a happy transactor
... and another!

 a thought or two about being part of #TransActions?

I was initially surprised at the fact that so few people engaged with making at the stall. Reflecting on this I think the market format for the event, with multiple stalls offering a whole range of opportunities for transacting, probably dictated a certain pace at which the transaction were made and prevented visitors investing much time making. This allowed for replacing objects with instructions, which is great; an idea for making something after all, as opposed to a showing a finished object, is full of promise and unexplored possibilities.

the transaction space

Friday, 10 July 2015

The Weave Exchange

Above are pictures of stalls being build yesterday for the TransActions: the Market of Values, which I’ll be taking part of on Saturday at Chelsea College. It was a glorious sunny day, perfect from helping out the Critical Practice team and Public Works making from recycled wood from the degree shows at the college earlier in June.

My plan at the event with The Weave Exchange is to display a selection of objects made by Oya during the Land of Plenty project. I’ll invite people to exchange these for something else. This might be a new object, or a pattern, a set of instructions, an idea for an improved version of these, or even a story that related to them in some way…

The People’s Bureau, who invited me to be part of TransActions, will be given the role of assessing whether the exchanges are equitable. Without their endorsement no trading can happen. I’m interested in finding out what criteria are used when debating these exchanges and with this, how the value of work, making and objects is put into question. I’ll keep you informed on the outcome of all of this in my next post.

Works produced by Oya, Land of Plenty project

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Land of Plenty (the unravelling)

And here we are again in the Land of Plenty… 9 workshops in and 3 to go before the final event this Friday. We now have an idea of what the installation will look like and where it is to be located. installing it will involve making an opening through an existing fence to lead visitors from the public area of De Site to the wilder and closed-off area, now overgrown with grasses, flowers, shrubs and trees growing between concrete slabs. These plants have provided us with materials to work with but despite our daily foraging excursions, we have hardly impacted on the wild surroundings.

Thinking about this now, I might have adopted a more radical approach when cutting back the vegetation; the site is to be built on next year so this could have been an ideal opportunity to have cut down a few trees to produce something truly monumental. Instead, I’ve proceeded with much economy and lightness of touch as usual. I didn’t want to disrupt the environment too much so that when the installation is up, it might appear as if it had grown there too.

This might almost have been the case if it wasn’t for the selection of bright and occasional fluorescent colours the women the Oya Atelier chose to stitch with. Seeing them in action I get a sense their choice was a reaction to the previous project, led by Daniela Dossi, which had them do much detailed work, working mostly with muted colours and according to specific instructions.

Back to this project, our plan then is to mark the end of the project by stitching a structure between trees to hold all the pieces created over the last three weeks. The fruits of the women's labour will be suspended on this net of threads and invite visitors to walk through the more inaccessible and wilder parts of De Site before the bulldozers move in.

This Friday 26th from 6.30 onwards, the installation will be ready for viewing and visitors invited to make their final contribution to it before we unravel it, row by row, until there is nothing left but a crop of stitched 'fruits' on the floor. Some of these will go back to the atelier, others I'll take back to London where I’ll present them as a collection of objects to be traded or exchanged at the forthcoming Market of Values on July 11th. This new collection will then make its way back to the Oya atelier in Ghent. More on this and the Oya stitching tradition in my next posts. See some of you on Friday hopefully for the completion, and unravelling, of the installation. Details of the event can be found here.