Friday
Mar292013

Forthcoming project - Læ & Leben, Lolland, Denmark, May-Sept 2013

Bat Wing Shelter, provisional drawing I, Tim Johnson & Mònica Guilera ©

Preparations are well underway for an exciting project curated and organised by Jette Mellgren and Jan Johansen in association with the Museum Lolland Falster on the Danish island of Lolland at the mouth of the Baltic Sea. Titled 'Lae & Leben' - which, though difficult to translate from a mixture of Danish and German - is to do with the theme of shelter and life, the project will bring together twelve artists and basketmakers from around Europe to work simultaneously on creating a body of work inspired by the special environment and natural history of the location.

Working together with Mònica Guilera, we will be making two pieces over a week in April which will then be on exhibition from May through to the end of September. Our pieces - initial sketches above and below of our starting point - respond to the theme of shelter and the location, Reventlow Park, being the home to a variety of rare and special bat species. it's always exciting to embark on a new project and no doubt it will evolve and develop once we get started!

The makers on the project are:

Mary Butcher (England), Joan Farré and Carlos Fontales (Spain), Tim Johnson and Monica Guilera (UK & Spain), Anne Mette Hjørnholm (Denmark), Annette Holdensen (Denmark), Jan Johansen (Denmark), Jette Mellgren (Denmark), Palle Lindau and Anne Højstrup (Denmark) and Karin Van Der Molen (Holland)

Bat Wing Shelter, provisional drawing II, Tim Johnson & Mònica Guilera ©

Tuesday
Mar262013

hedging and ditching...

It's one of those busy weeks running from one workshop to another - so I pause for breath for a moment to tell you about a piece I've just delivered to the 'From Bare Stems' Exhibition curated by Hilary Burns for the Basketry and Beyond 2013 project and festival in May. I had a wonderful time going down to hang my piece in the show, attend the opening and see all the wonderful exhibits new and old, contemporary and traditional.

Wall text from the exhibition:

Hedging and Ditching, 2013

This new woven wall piece made especially for the ‘From Bare Stems’ exhibition combines natural and man-made materials and uses as its inspiration the shapes and forms of Devon’s celebrated hedgerows. The upright sticks of hedgerow trees and the rounded forms of stone faced banks gave Tim his starting point of combining rounded ‘willow bark crisps’, the patterns created by multiple rows of twining and the contrasting light and dark lines of split and shaved willow sticks . Bailer twine and Coir string are perhaps more familiar to the modern farmer and the fishermen of old than to the basketmaker and Tim is happy to include their distinctive colours and textures whilst referencing local rural industry.

 

 

Monday
Mar252013

connections...

It's been an inspiring week for making connections - first of all chatting with artist and basketmaker Harriet Goodall from New South Wales, Australia who is in the midst of numerous projects working with locally harvested natural and recycled materials making contemporary baskets and sculptures that speak of her local environment. Harriet writes a very interesting blog and I'm delighted to be today's featured artist: fibre rush.

Harriet is based south of Sydney -  so I'm imagining (rightly or wrongly) a vaguely similar landscape to the one I explored over a two months residency with the New England Regional Art Museum north of Sydney during 2000. There I wandered into the surrounding farmland and bush gathering and making everyday with the stuff I found - a  wonderful place and an exciting opportunity to play with a huge array of unfamiliar materials.

The Australian influence stayed with me for a long time after my return homewards and I continued to explore the wrappings, bundles, handfuls and packages over several works in the months to come.

'all the things' - third version 2003

Bundles and Ropes one person show, Art & Design Gallery, University of Hertfordshire.

Another great connection this week has been catching up with the inspiring collection of artists and basketmakers that form the Urban Weaver Studio over in Vancouver. Combining the traditional skills of basketmakers with contemporary environmental issues the makers there work with a wide variety of invasive species in need of control - many imported from Europe and some of my favourite materials too! Plants like Yellow Flag, Ivy and Bulrush have become problem species and their harvesting for creative uses is an inspiring model for makers everywhere with environmental concerns.

If your interested in working with some of these materials - watch this space as I'll be posting soon about forthcoming fibre workshops on the Isle of Wight, in Germany and perhaps elsewhere.

 

Friday
Mar222013

Sell, Sell, Sell.....

I'm preparing materials for making over the next few months - making hoops for Frame baskets, splitting sticks for Boat baskets, shaving laths for Woven Paths, sorting rods for fitching and bark peeling. I'll be selling through local galleries on the Isle of Wight like Quay Arts Craft Shop and Pelham House Gallery and in basket markets in France, Spain and Germany too.

It's nice to be part of a long tradition and here are some basket merchants of the past!

Basket seller painting - unknown source.

Carle Vernet, Marchand de Paniers, 1820

Eugène Atget, Marchand de panier, 1899

Costumes de Paris à travers les siècles: le Marchand de paniers, Gourdon de Genouillac 1880


Wednesday
Mar132013

Sunshine and Snow...

After several days of cold winds and all kinds of snow the sun is out and makes us believe it might be Spring again. I've seen Red Campion in bloom - stupidly early - alongside the Primroses, Snowdrops and miniature Daffodils in my garden, it's nice to bring a few flowers indoors in the Rush Vases I made a little while ago.

Pussy Willow and Three Cornered Leek (Allium triquetrum) on my window sill.

Wednesday
Mar132013

Vilanova i la Geltrú - sea, sand and sun! 

Weaving by the Sea update.........on our special blog. Places are booking up fast for our Basketmaking Holiday by the Sea in Vilanova i la Geltrú - so if your thinking of joining us book in soon to be sure of a place. See you there!

Thankyou to Ajuntament de Vilanova i la Geltrú for the pictures.

 

Friday
Feb152013

Last few places available for next weekend....

Basketmaking with Tim Johnson and Monica Guilera

23rd and 24th February, Saturday and Sunday, 10am - 4pm

The Depozitory,  23 Nelson Street, Ryde, Isle of Wight. PO33 2EZ

Over this weekend we will be running two workshops side by side as described below:


Introduction to Willow with Monica Guilera

23rd and 24th February, Saturday and Sunday, 10am - 4pm,

£80 for 2 day course, all materials and tools provided 

Come along and choose from a variety of projects including a useful basket with a Hazel stick handle, Catalan Trays, a randomly woven Nest basket and a beautifully curvy 'Zarzo' cheese tray from Spain.

Frame baskets with Colourful Willow and Hedgerow materials with Tim Johnson

23rd and 24th February, Saturday and Sunday, 10am - 4pm,  

£80 for 2 day course, all materials and tools provided 

Learn to make useful frame baskets with a wide variety of this seasons fresh and colourful willow harvest and locally gathered hedgerow materials. Frame baskets are traditional to many parts of Europe and America and are a real joy to make in a variety of sizes. Tim will guide you through the process of making good strong frames and how to use a variety of local materials with techniques from Spain and the UK. 

To book your place on either workshop email Tim Johnson on johnson@timstring.freeserve.co.uk

Wednesday
Feb132013

An invitation to Weave by the sea...October 2013

Today we are launching a new project - that is myself with Monica Guilera and Mai Hvid Jorgensen, come and join us for an exciting three days workshop in Vilanova I la Geltru just south of Barcelona then follow on to the excellent International Basketmaker's Fair in Salt on the 5th and 6th October.

More to follow and all the details so far on our new 'Weaving by the Sea' website.

Friday
Feb082013

Last places available for Sunday's Living Willow workshop......

I'll be giving a workshop this Sunday alongside alongside Catalan basketmaker Monica Guilera at the excellent new arts venue and studio in Ryde - The Depozitory.  We will be teaching living willow structures suitable for beginners and basketmakers. Last few places booking today and tomorrow!

Contact me directly by email to book your place: click here to email

10th February, Sunday, 10am - 4pm

Weaving with Living Willow, £40 for 1 day course

All materials and tools provided but please bring a flower pot at least 30cm wide with soil.

Bring along your own flower pots and planters and weave your own living willow 'woven trees' that make beautiful features in any garden or patio. You will have time to make several 'woven trees' - these can be kept in the pots that you bring or transpanted into your garden.

Sunday
Jan202013

'Transmission' - Guest Curating at Quay Arts

Last week and next I have been invited as a guest curator to transform the exhibition 'Transmission' at Quay Arts into it's second of three incarnations featuring works across the disciplines of Fine Art, Illustration, Photography, Product Design and Animation by recently graduated students of Southampton Solent University’s School of Art and Design.

To re-curate an existing exhibition into a new one with the addition and substraction of just a few works with the aim of providing the viewer with a new exhibition experience is quite a challenge!  Guided by the new theme of 'Manufacture' and the assistance of students from Isle of Wight and Southampton colleges it is however proving to be a stimulating process and as always with curation projects one that forces me to look at creative practice in new ways.

Following the exhibition 'hang' this week a Creative Conference examining the exhibition and it's threefold curation will be held on Wednesday - come along to see various presentations including my own on my creative practice, gallery education work and curation of this exhibition.

Entrance free but booking advised:

Wednesday 23 January 10am - 5:30pm Quay Arts, Newport, Isle of Wight.

 

Sunday
Dec232012

Basketmaking Workshops - Jan & Feb 2013, Ryde, Isle of Wight, Tim Johnson & Monica Guilera

Looking for a last minute Christmas Gift? Look no further!

In January and February I will be teaching alongside Catalan basketmaker Monica Guilera at the excellent new arts venue and studio in Ryde - The Depozitory.  We will be teaching a variety of baskets and techniques suitable both for beginners and those with some making experience.

Workshops are £40 for single days and £80 for weekends. All materials and tools supplied.

Contact me directly by email to book your place: click here to email

Dates and details:

19th and 20th January, Saturday and Sunday - please note date change to
23rd and 24th February, Saturday and Sunday, 10am - 4pm

Introduction to Willow, £80 for 2 day course, all materials and tools provided 

Come along and choose from a variety of projects including a useful basket with a Hazel stick handle, Catalan Trays, a randomly woven Nest basket, a decorative Madeira Border Basket for bread or cakes  and a beautifully curvy 'Zarzo' cheese tray from Spain.

Please note this course will now run concurrently with the Frame Basket course described below with myself and Monica sharing teaching over both courses.

10th February, Sunday, 10am - 4pm

Weaving with Living Willow, £40 for 1 day course

All materials and tools provided but please bring a flower pot at least 30cm wide with soil.

Bring along your own flower pots and planters and weave your own living willow 'woven trees' that make beautiful features in any garden or patio. You will have time to make several 'woven trees' - these can be kept in the pots that you bring or transpanted into your garden.

23rd and 24th February, Saturday and Sunday, 10am - 4pm

Frame baskets with Colourful Willow and Hedgerow materials, £80 for two day course

all materials and tools provided

Learn to make useful frame baskets with a wide variety of this seasons fresh and colourful willow harvest and locally gathered hedgerow materials. Frame baskets are traditional to many parts of Europe and America and are a real joy to make in a variety of sizes. Tim and Monica will guide you through the process of making good strong frames and how to use a variety of local materials with techniques from Spain and the UK. 

 

 

Thursday
Dec132012

Thorny issue....

I've had a couple of walks exploring the hinterlands of Ryde this week and am enjoying my discovery of new places - remarkable combinations of light, frost and dew have coincided with the sudden fall of leaves to reveal the beauty of the protective thorns of Blackthorn and Rose, black and blue buds of Ash and Birch and corky barks of Maple and Elm.

My Blackthorn pictures seem to work the best - taken just as the morning frost melts away leaving dewdrops suspended on the thorn tips. The last picture below is a fine 'stags horn' Oak showing the frequent attentions of woodpeckers.

Thursday
Dec132012

Workshop at the Museu de la Pauma in Mas de Barberans

At the end of November I was teaching alongside Monica Guilera at the Museu de la Pauma in Mas de Barberans in southern Catalonia, we taught the very attractive stick handle basket which is very useful for all kinds of jobs around the home and especially Clementines at Christmas! Just a few pictures of the workshop in progress...

 

Wednesday
Nov142012

Getting ready for the annual Christmas Craft Fair - Wayzgoose 2012

I'm making for the annual Wayzgoose do at Jubilee stores - a great festive event and perfect place to find those perfect Christmas presents. I'll be showing some this years new 'Boat Baskets' made in France and Spain and a selection of weavings, wall pieces and Christmas decorations made with Rush, Esparto Grass, Willow bark and all kinds of beautiful sticks! see you there.....

Boat Baskets 2012

Split willow with diverse materials (palm stems, oat straw, iris leaf string, willow bark etc)


Friday
Nov092012

Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education

This week I have been away at the engage International Conference 2012 in Cardiff to receive a Marsh Award for Excellence in Gallery Education. I'm delighted and honored to have received this award in recognition of my gallery education work at Quay Arts and in particular for my work on the large scale project that I worked on in July this year: 360° - A Panorama. More about the awards this year can be found here: Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education.

Of course many thanks are due to the hardworking education and exhibition teams at Quay Arts and especially Jacqui Cussack, without whom all of these creative projects would never have come to fruition.

Brian Marsh and three of the four 2012 winners, Angela Bruce, Tim Johnson and Becky Graham. Photographer: Alicia Bruce.

Friday
Nov022012

The Straw Family

Last Saturday I lead a workshop for the national campaign for drawing - 'The Big Draw' in the Learning Curve Gallery at Quay Arts on the Isle of Wight. Making huge drawings on the floor - based around the participant's bodies - young and old - we started thinking about all kinds of shapes, creatures and monsters. Taking the line off the paper we then wove together 'The Straw Family' using a couple of pairs of wellie boots for starters then working our way up with willow, string, bamboo and those traditional hobby craft paper straws.

Monday
Oct222012

First Prize in the Contemporary Category of the XV Fira Internacional Cistell - Basket Making Competition, Salt, Catalonia 2012

I have just returned home from this years International Basket Fair in Salt, Catalonia, having had a fantastic time and wonderful to see so many excellent makers all in one place. The fair is very well organised as a friendly outdoor celebration of our craft by the L'Associació Catalana de Cistellers i Cistelleres (Catalan Basketmakers Association) and the Salt Town Council.

I was honoured and very happy to have won First prize in the XV Fira Internacional Cistell Competition in the Contemporary Category for my newly created work entitled 'Woven Path - New Direction' made with my own home grown, split and painted Willow combined with Rush and Bailer Twine. The Contemporary Category this year was themed around pathways - a theme very close to my heart in much of my work exploring maps, journeys and networks.

 

Saturday
Sep222012

Dan's Community Cart is on a roll!

I've just heard today that my friend Dan Robert's Community Cart is finished and out and about on the Isle of Wight at a local environmental 'Carbon Cycle' event. I've not seen the finished cart myself yet but you can see the beautifully crafted wheels that Dan has made here in Eccleston George's Gallery : Dan's Cart

You may remember Dan from his Amazing Wooden Bicycle Adventure and I helped out with this project weaving the large basket for the cart . Following the first weaving session in March I decided to let the half-green willow dry for a while to let it shrink and settle before the last rows of wailing and the border were made. Here you can see Dan sawing off the recycled plywood stakes ready for the willow border stakes to be inserted ......not a usual basketry technique but collaborations lead to interesting solutions!

Above - the willow stakes are inserted and ready for a string wrapped bundle border - inspired by an Isle of Wight fisherman's basket (see below) - perhaps the border being used for baited fish hooks to be lodged when out at sea. This border proved perfect for this cart as it will make a safe edge for children to climb in and out and hides away the potentially spiky stake ends from any hands pushing the loaded cart along.

Above the unusual fisherman's basket with it's 'primitive' but useful border also you can see it has been dipped in tar to protect it from salt water in common with Isle of Wight Shrimp Pots and also features evidence of a missing twisted willow handle and a length of rope stitched to the base to protect it on the boak deck.

Being late in the day we worked the border by candle light!

Thursday
Sep202012

Rafal - Swimming Pool Shelter Project, Mas De Barberans, August 2012

During August I joined four basketmakers from the Catalan Basketmakers Association - Mònica Guilera, Carles Alcoy, Joan Farré Oliver and Josep Mercader, to work on a project together in Mas de Barberans, the week preceding the town's annual basketry fair. Our proposal was to create a large shelter from locally harvested materials beside the town's brand new swimming pool creating shade from the blazing sun of southern Catalonia.

Bare foot cane climbing!

Over the four days of the project we worked early and late - avoiding the hottest part of the day, we built the main structure from the large bamboo-like European Cane Arundo donax, the same stuff that bassoon and oboe reeds are made from - alongside fences, roofing panels, baskets, bee hives, toys and no doubt many other things. The combination of Cane and Willow and sometimes Olive branches is a distinctive feature of Catalan basketmaking. With this in mind working alongside the makers from the Catalan Association brought a great wealth of material knowledge to compliment my own ideas about the structure and form of the project.

Monica Guilera's Asparagus basket - winner of the VI Certamen Internacional Basketry Competition 2012 in the Museu de la Pauma Mas de Barberans, featuring Willow and split Cane. 

Over the first three days our shelter took form following various experiments, discussions - and of course the occasional refreshing swim in the pool - it's a tough job but someone has to do it! Cane is a very different material to Willow and Hazel - the materials I usually make similar structures with, it doesn't always do what you might expect and tends to split, crack or snap if placed under too much tension, however with practice it is a wonderfully hard, durable building material that can take on very elegant forms that we hope compliment the setting and local landscape.

The projects title 'Rafal' refers to a traditional Catalan shepherds shelter made up in the hills from whatever materials are available - a nice connection to our project and our desire to use materials that naturally fit into the landscape and have to be transported the minimum distance to be used.

Following the construction with Cane the local town council delivered a good supply of Olive branches to create a shade creating wall on one side of the shelter. These were threaded through the structure and sandwiched between canes to create easily attachable long bundles.

Antonio Rodríguez and myself hoisting an Olive sandwich! The final structure can be seen in my full website gallery here: 'Rafal', Swimming Pool Shelter Project

The last day of the project was a workshop for local makers and students to have a go at constructing a large split cane tunnel along the pathway to the pool and to assist with the Olive covering of the main shelter. Once again we were experimenting combining my 'birdweaving' techniques usually worked in willow but this time in split or cleaved Cane to make a finer material that can be worked in bundles - as long as you bend it the right way!

Our students had a great time and made a major contribution to finishing off the whole project in time for the weekends festivities and many visitors. A big thankyou to all the makers involved, the workshop participants, Mas De Barberans Town Council for supplying materials and the Museu de la Pauma Mas de Barberans who co-ordinated the whole project in advance with Mònica Guilera of the Catalan Basketmakers Association. Carles Alcoy and Joan Farré Oliver set up the split cane arches for the workshop tunnel.

Sunday
Jul082012

360° - A Panorama 

Busy busy at Quay Arts this week and next!

New gallery here: 360° - A Panorama

More info here: Quay Arts