Thursday, 18 February 2010

Blue to Red

Nottinghamshire has a rich history as the Dukeries and is packed with stately homes that have been renovated and remodelled as galleries and art workshops.  Among my favourites are Rufford, Thoresby, and Staunton Harold Ferrer's Centre (ok, that's Leicestershire).  One that I've been meaning to discover is the Harley Gallery near Worksop.

Tipped off by Maebh Warburton's blog about the current exhibition, "Follow a Thread", we combined our visit to Thoresby with a stop at the Harley Gallery.

Where Thoresby is stone, highlighted with blue paintwork, the Harley is highlighted with red.  It's a stunning gallery space.

The exhibition featured the work of six artist-makers from Edinburgh, each specialising in contemporary tapestry.  My favourites were Jo Barker and Linda Green.  Having started to weave tapestries (okay.....tapestry.....still on going)  the technical control and ability of Jo Barker is outstanding.  Her ability to paint with thread and keep the surface alive is beautiful.  Like a true textiles groupy I couldn't help sneaking a look at the back of the tapestry and loved the hanging threads and rich pallette.

Jo Barker tapestry
Jo Barker tapestry (detail)

Linda Green's work was inspiring in a different way.  I loved the way she's challenged notions of cloth and weave and created a mini-museum of samples that push the boundaries of fibre art.  These tiny pieces (10cm to 30cm tall) reminded me of anthropological finds from Africa or the Far East that could be musical instruments or jewellery. These pieces led  me to challenge my own assumptions about what a tapestry should be and what it should be constructed from.

Linda Green tapestry studies

I'm looking forward to returning to the Harley Gallery for the Slow Craft exhibition at Easter.

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