A dedicated craft exhibition and activities centre has opened in West Kilbride, and launches with a touring exhibition from the Crafts Council.
The Barony Centre opened to the public on 02 May 2012, and builds upon the significant regeneration achievements of Craft Town Scotland, West Kilbride: Scotland's first designated Craft Town.
Culture, specifically craft, is at the very heart of Craft Town Scotland. Craft Town Scotland leases eight studios, each with a display area, to makers who range from those starting out on a career to those with established reputations. Work is designed and made on site, and available to purchase direct. All profits generated by Craft Town Scotland are reinvested into sustaining and developing West Kilbride's retail and cultural hub as part of a vibrant community.
The redeveloped Barony Centre was designed by award-winning architectural practice Ingenium Archial Limited. The 19th Century 'C' listed Barony Church is integral to the unique visual townscape of West Kilbride, and was purchased for the community in 2000. The project has been developed over a five year period, during which time significant adaptations were required to enable the building to provide the level of service envisaged by the community. Whilst remaining sympathetic to the original external building, the redevelopment has incorporated contemporary architectural interventions, which have resulted in a flexible, dynamic space for the future.
Open seven days per week throughout the year, the facility will host the very best heritage and contemporary craft and design touring shows from the UK and beyond. Visitors will also be able to buy quality craft and design, take part in craft and design classes, enjoy a variety of cross art form events and finish with snacks from the café.
The Barony Centre opened its doors to the public on Wednesday 02 May with the launch of ‘Lab Craft: Digital adventures in contemporary craft’, a Crafts Council of England touring exhibition.
Lab Craft features 26 of the most experimental names in craft and design. Traditional craft skills have been combined with cutting-edge digital technologies to create unusual and unfamiliar objects that take a fresh look at how technology can be used by craft makers.
The exhibition is curated by design commentator Max Fraser, and includes textiles, ceramics, furniture, jewellery, glass and lighting. The makers featured in Lab Craft are: 1234lab, Gary Allson, Assa Asshuach, Tomoko Azumi, Tord Boontje, Melanie Bowles, Philippa Brock, Committee, Shelley Doolan, Michael Eden, Zachary Eastwood-Bloom, Jo Hayes Ward, Tavs Jorgensen, Chae Yong Kim, Lazerian, Lynne Maclachlan, Geoffrey Mann, Justin Marshall, Drummond Masterton, Gareth Neal, Daniel O’Riordan, Jo Pierce, Ismini Samanidou, Timorous Beasties, Nina Tolstrup and Daniel Widrig.
Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director of the Crafts Council, said: “Lab Craft showcases some of the most innovative contemporary craft being made today, and the exhibition is a great way of exploring and understanding the technologies and methods that connect the digital and the handmade. We are extremely pleased that Lab Craft is finishing its run in the stunning new Barony Centre – a venue that will hopefully herald a new interest in contemporary craft in West Kilbride as part of the Craft Town Scotland project.”
Maggie Broadley, Director of Craft Town Scotland, said: “The Barony Centre will be the only Scottish venue to host the Lab Craft exhibition and I am delighted that we have been able to work with Crafts Council in bringing work of such high calibre to West Kilbride, in this the Year of Creative Scotland. The show will launch The Barony Centre and its creative programme, which has been greatly enhanced by Craft Town Scotland’s winning one of 3 prestigious Year of Creative Scotland Creative Place Awards 2012”.
In January 2012, Craft Town Scotland was awarded a Creative Place Award worth £100,000. The award will help develop a new series of exhibitions for The Barony Centre and develop new programmes to involve younger, and older, members of the community in their creative programme. The Creative Place awards are part of the Year of Creative Scotland 2012, a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL. They aim to celebrate the creativity of smaller communities across Scotland and support them to develop a year-round programme.
Find out more about Craft Town Scotland.
Find out more about Lab Craft: digital adventures in contemporary craft.
View a slideshow of images from Craft Town Scotland setting up Lab Craft.
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