Sunday, 14 March 2010

Sampler at the Craft Rally

Well my head is well and truly full of planning for the Craft Rally event curated by Helen Carnec, that we're taking part in on Thursday 25th March at Chelsea College of Art & Design.  Click on the link above for details of how to book tickets for the day.  Helen's pulled together a diverse range of events, discussions and workshops, so I can hope some of you can make it down to contribute.

Several of the sampler-cultureclash collective will be taking part in an improvised performance in the evening at approx 7pm, along with some special invited guests thrown into the mix.  We've no idea what we've got planned yet but I promise an interesting line up.

Look forward to seeing you there.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

"Manchester, so much to answer for.."

I don't know why but everytime I say Manchester, I automatically follow it with the words of Morrissey " much to answer for" from the Smith's song "Suffer Little Children".

Anyway, not sure why I'm ramblin' on about that, but to update you on a great day that we spent, a couple of weeks ago, with students on the BA.Hons Embroidery Course at Manchester Metropolitan University.  Having spent my twenties living, working and dj-ing in Manchester I always love going back.

In the morning we gave a presentation about the sampler-cultureclash project to a packed lecture theatre of maybe 100 students or so. Needless to say, we were incredibly nervous but excited about the opportunity to talk about the project with the students. It was great that two of the collaborators - Jason and Yusra - were there, particularly given that Jason had just arrived back from a month in India and Yusra was there with her new child Azariah, only 4 weeks old.  That was particularly special!

The presentation seemed to go down really well, with lots of questions and very positive feedback from the students and tutors.  If you were there I'd love to hear your honest comments about the presentation and the project.  You see I never know whether I'm rattlin on, or presenting the story in an articulate and interesting way!  Hopefully the latter but probably somewhere in between.

We'd been invited up to help kick start a project the first year students were working on about samplers.  To help them think about different ways of sampling, what sampling is and could be, and how historical objects and traditional processes can inform contemporary creative practice and vica versa.

In the afternoon we ran a short workshop with about 30 students from the 1st year of the course, plus a couple of other students who were exploring the connection between sound and stitch in their work. The aim was to create an improvised collective sound piece combining word, pattern and sound.  We worked in three groups, with each student having a go at creating pixel drawings both individually and collectively, some of which the students working with Jason then translated via Reaktor into sound, whilst another group worked with Yusra exploring word and the voice through creating their own collective vocal orchestras.  The groups then rotated so they took part in each excercise.

Here's a link to a selection of photos from the workshop.
sampling manchester
I particularly love the way that the collective pixel drawings take shape as people contribute.  A word left unfinished then being deconstructed and dissolving into a single square.

I'm waiting to get copies of the word excercises back, so I'll post a selection of the individual and collective poems in a future post, so watch this space.  Jason and I plan to work on the sound piece the students started during the day, hopefully going back and working with some of the students further.

I can't wait to see and hear what the students come up with over the next few weeks, and I hope to go back up north to talk to them about how things are progressing, and of course to see the finished work.  I also want to to go back into the amazing room full of all manner of embroidery machines to think about how we might access that resource to inform and create future work.

So a huge huge thank you to Isabel, Kate and everyone from MMU and of course in particular a massive thank you to all the students for such a warm welcome and for making the day so much fun and for throwing yourselves into the workshop so enthusiastically.  Good luck with the project.

We left feeling very inspired.