New Term - blog from Rachel

I know. I know. It shouldn’t have taken this long to sharpen a pencil (my previous – and to date, only – blog post was in February 2010). And it didn’t.

It’s not that I’ve been lazy. It’s just that this PhD requires a whole different set of manoeuvres than I’m used to. I thought I’d be able to offer up, in cross referenced, footnoted and exquisite detail, a full proposal of what was needed, what was going to happen and how I was going to spend my time until January 2013. It’s not quite like that, as it turns out. I’m hoping to have something more articulate by December. I’ll try.

In the meantime, this is some of what I’ve been up to. Heading home to Northern Ireland for a long overdue family visit, I landed right in the closing days of August Craft Month. And subsequently spent most of my time running around – and delighting in – exhibitions, demonstrations, talks and the works. Highlights included:

  • A demonstration of the 160 year old Jaquard loom at the Linen Museum in Lisburn, Co Antrim. With special thanks to Alison for an expert and very patient demonstration. Flabbergasted comes close. The level of spatial and technical awareness required to operate what is essentially the first binary computer is something I couldn’t come close to. The mill girls of the Belfast linen mills should never be underestimated again.
  • The craft & design collective’s ‘SLOW BURN’ ceramics exhibition at spacecraft in The Fountain Centre, Belfast. Shane Porter’s Vessels in particular. 
  • In conversation with Mandy McIntosh, Zoe Shearman (of Craftivism) and Emma Shercliff on a slow afternoon at Queen’s University, which turned into a fascinating discussion of collective making, among other things. 
  • The Jerwood Contemporary Makers at the Naughton Gallery at Queen’s.  Some pieces were unexpectedly fun, most felt quite unexpectedly dark, and the one I liked best seemed the quietest: Dawn Youll’s ‘After the Event’.
  • And Jeanette Winterson’s introduction ‘The Making Game' is a powerful read on making.
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