My walk this week was short, cold and through the remnants of Storm Hannah – it was part of a sound and weave workshop I was running over the weekend. The first stage of the workshop was to go round Swansea Marina and listen to the sounds which featured what is known as the Marina Orchestra.
The leading orchestral instruments are the masts and rigging followed by the percussion of clanks and bangs, thumps and gloops of other maritime artefacts and of course the choppy water of the marina itself.
It was wild and cold and although we found a relatively sheltered spot to listen to the “symphony”, when we ventured down to the seafront, Continue reading→
The most important reason for me to visit Dumfries was to check out Gracefield Arts Centre and the space in which I would have work in an exhibition later in the year. The British Tapestry Group exhibition “Sound and Weave” is now on at the arts centre and runs there until 29th September.
My tapestry is experimentally interactive with light sensors embedded in the weave – the sensors trigger different field recordings layered over a looping background soundscape when they are cast into shadow by, for instance, the viewer’s hand or body.
“Experimental” is the key work here and it proved a challenge to calibrate the sensors to react at their optimum in a space with lighting quite different from my studio. In this instance I am happy for the interactivity of the tapestry to be sensitive to the changing ambient light as much as the gallery lighting and human intervention, but in future venues I will provide my own lighting with a view to a tighter control of the sensors.
INTERCONNECTION – interactive woven tapestry by Alastair Duncan
INTERCONNECTION – interactive woven tapestry by Alastair Duncan
The videos below show both my own tapestry “in action” and the other works in the exhibition. Thanks again to Dawn, the Arts Officer at Gracefield, and all the BTG people involved in setting up the exhibition. It will be my turn when it comes to Swansea in March 2019!
If the videos do not show below in your browser, please click the links below to view them on Vimeo.
I selected a very beautiful deep red rose as my featured image for this post but if you first see the post in an email, you will have to click through to see the image which comes at the end of the selected images for my review of the walk.
The rose itself I found in the orangery which was being restored at the back of the Museum in the Park in Stratford Park, Stroud. I was visiting the museum to see the exhibition of knotted tapestries by Anne Jackson but I also plannedContinue reading→
The park in question on my walk this week is Stratford Park in Stroud, England. I’d driven up there to see a friend’s exhibition of knotted tapestries – Anne Jackson in the Museum in the Park. It was well worth the drive and having spent an hour enjoying the exhibition in detail, I still had time to take a walk in the park.
All the classic features of a British urban/suburban park were thereContinue reading→
My walk this week is around Bath in the south west of England – a town famous for its Roman baths and spas and also for its place in literature, specifically the wonderful classic books of Jane Austen – see here.
I was in Bath was to go see the Tapestry: Here and Now exhibition at the Holburne Museum and attend tapestry weaving symposium held there – The Narrative of Tapestry. The view above is from the museum looking down Great Pulteney Street. Continue reading→
A few weeks ago I took a tapestry weaving workshop over the weekend for the Crickhowell Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers. They had asked me if I could do a version of my workshop “Sounding out Colour and Texture”.
The workshop focus was sound and the intention was to help everyone to develop ideas for tapestry weaving by using a medium that may not have occurred to them previously. It wasn’t going to be possible in the time allowed to produce finished tapestries but we were able to experiment with different techniques and materials as a means of interpreting different aspects of sound.
The language used in describing sound relates very well to the language used in the visual arts and crafts. I am not talking of the technical terms connected to audio and tapestry weaving, but rather the interpretive, emotional terms used. Colour and texture, rhythm and melody.
We often hear the term “the tapestry of life” – the wide range of techniques and materials it is possible to use within tapestry weaving make it possible to represent any number of aspects of our emotional and physical lives and sound can be an excellent starting point for exploring those possibilities.
In these workshops I would also ask people to close their eyes and imagine what colour a sound might be or what it would feel like in their hands if they could grab a hold of it. The sound editing program I use, Adobe Audition, can show us the wave form of the sound and it can show us the “shape” of the sound in the spectral display, but it cannot tell us its texture and the colour it shows is only that selected by the user in the program’s preferences.
This is where the imagination comes in and helps us to develop the designs we may use to present an interpretation of a subject that could be said to have an extra dimension to it.
apart from looking at how different sounds appear visually on the spectral display of an editing program like Adobe Audition,
Bramble thorns and barbed wire – both are effective means of protection!
Barbed wire has been both a feature and a theme in my work as an artist for many years now. The idea to try including barbs within the weave of my tapestries came from my need to represent something of the tension I felt whilst listening to the peace talks in Northern Ireland back in the late 1990s. Having grown up in Belfast during the 60s and 70s, it seemed to me to be the perfect material to represent conflict as my memory is of there being so much of it around at the time.
The first people to see the first tapestries I wove that incorporated barbed wire, did not think of it as representing conflict except in terms of texture – the soft wool of the weft and the hard sharpness of the barbs. They were living in the local rural community of SE Wales and only thought of barbed wire as a material for use in farming.
Metaphor or not, for me the barbs still represent conflict and although that theme in my work has broadened over the years, it is still a fact that the hard, sharp material of spikes, either man-made or natural, are there to protect one thing against another where there is a conflict of interests.
I have included a photo of one of my earlier tapestries from this thematic period – if you would like to see more examples of my work, please visit Design Fibre ICT at www.acmd.co.uk
Continuing with my textural link to StillWalks, these and other mini woven tapestries are available on my new Etsy Shop, ACMDesign – each one is unique.I have described them as “tapestry notes”, and in doing so, I was thinking back to when I started using wire in my work as an artist.
One of the first tapestries I wove that included barbed wire can be seen here. It and another are also on the Etsy shop. However, barbed wire is not the starting point for my work with wire and my interest in metal.
I originally started working with wire in a similar way to which I am now doing with these mini tapestries – as design notes. I think of them in the same way as I think of drawing in a sketch book, and as I work on them, I develop my feel for the wire and find out how it interacts with the soft fibre of the warp and weft. More on this tomorrow.
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