The I, CULTURE tour bus has set out on the road. On Monday, the 27th of June a caravan of 18 sewing machines, 150 kilos of colourful fabrics and 2 km of thread have crossed the Polish border heading for London's Watch This Space Festival - the next stop on the I, CULTURE Craft Workshop tour,
The I, CULTURE tour bus has set out on the road. On Monday, the 27th of June a caravan of 18 sewing machines, 150 kilos of colourful fabrics and 2 km of thread have crossed the Polish border heading for London's Watch This Space Festival - the next stop on the I, CULTURE Craft Workshop tour
The project launched in Warsaw in May. After London, over a period of six weeks, the contemporary crafts workshop visits four capitals: Paris, Madrid, Brussels and Berlin. In each capital alongside meetings with local craftsmen and research conducted by volunteers, a piece of the I, CULTURE puzzle is to be created, inspiring today's generations to find out more about the art of traditional craftwork and to learn to create their own craft projects.
After six weeks the project will return to Poland, in order to set out again on its tour to the East: the stops in of the next round of the tournee are Kiev, Minsk and Moscow. The I, CULTURE Puzzle events will take place in twelve capital cities between July and December to highlight Poland’s Presidency of the European Union. Having started in Warsaw, I, CULTURE will finish in Copenhagen, the next city to take on the presidency of the EU Council.
On Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd of July, The National Theatre, Southbank, played host to the London edition of the I, CULTURE project. An interactive sculpture made by the public will form London’s piece of the I, CULTURE Puzzle.
This international art project was created in collaboration with Monika Jakubiak and designed and organised by design collective Urban Brew. The I, CULTURE Puzzle in London encouraged members of the public to stretch their creative skills and acquaint themselves with unfamiliar craft techniques in the vibrant setting of the National Theatre.
Another highlight of the weekend was the world premiere of "Planet Lem" as part of the Watch This Space Festival on the 1st of July - on the inauguration day of the Polish Presidency of the EU Council in 2011. The performance, created by the theatre group Teatr Biuro Podróży, is inspired by the writings Polish science fiction writer Stanisław Lem.
Link to Photo Gallery: I, CULTURE Craft Workshop - London - Image Gallery
A huge sculpture based upon the magnification of a pulled thread, formed the centrepiece of the weekend. Urban Brew invited the public to contribute to the sculpture using fabrics donated by LMB & Co and add their stitch to this public art project. The completed sculpture was then photographed from above. This artwork forms part of the overall puzzle picture, which will spell the words "I, CULTURE".
Further more, participants who were involved with a two day private workshop prior to the event, worked alongside the public during the weekend, sharing their experience of the project and the skills that they have learnt. The project was further supported by master craftsman Alva Wilson who demonstrated the skills of millinery, and by a group of young fashion and textile designers Agony Aunt Design who provided a Stitch Clinic for members of the public who wished to learn basic skills in sewing. Coram Media had kindly offered to produce a 360° real image video environment of the I, CULTURE London Puzzle to help to document the project In support of the online I, CULTURE archive.
Link to Video: I, CULTURE London - Video
Shirley Nette Williams, a participant of the London workshops, commented on her blog:
Following an introductory meeting with Monika and Urban Brew two weeks earlier, we gathered again in Hackney for a two day workshop. We presented our research and discussed our personal views on ‘what we can leave behind for our descendants as an example of a common or popular modern craft’. (…)
Days 3 + 4 were spent at South Bank as part of the ‘Watch This Space’ program of summer events. We set up shop in front of The National Theatre to demonstrate our craft skills and make things for curious members of the public. We had discussions with visitors regarding their views of craft in society and asked them to vote for which craft they’d most like to see preserved for the future.
Many of the visitors expressed a positive change in their attitude towards craft, particularly sewing, once they’d seen first hand the amount of work and patience that is required to making something. I’m personally interested in encouraging more men and boys to sew. So I pleased to see a good representation of male participants and I especially loved the father who sewed with his two sons! I believe that this event may be responsible for an increased appreciation of craft amongst many of the visitors during the weekend. Some lucky visitors even went home with a lovely handmade gift!
For full blog entry, see: textureyes.com
Other participants of the workshop comment on their experiences:
The I,CULTURE project has been a great experience that I am not going to forget ever. As a first volunteer job I can confirm how willpower of people can be the benchmark to develop an awesome project. Moreover, when people do something gladly I think the feeling is extended around everybody. Crafts is a language where good mood can be notified and the obvious bases are hard-working, courage and perseverance.
Veronica Garcia, cargocollective.com
Participating in I,CULTURE (...) has helped me re-ignite my passion for craft, in particular embroidery and sewing. This project has made me realise that I wish to take my work in a more craft based direction (...). I,CULTURE has made me refocus and see my art as something that should be enjoyed, as opposed to something which feels like a job. I have just been confirmed as a participant at the Vintage festival on the southbank, helping to run the art school and I will hopefully to be able to spread the word of craft and to carry on teaching people the skills so they can be crafters in their own right.
David Ho, geewaihoillustrator.blogspot.com
The I,CULTURE project was...seriously crafty. (...) we were all there to celebrate craft, at whatever level we understood it.
I researched the craft of embroidery at the Hand and Lock studio, and had a go at a bit of gold work. Whenever I talk to skilled craftspeople, I am always amazed at the time it takes to do things properly, there is something really special and important about spending a proper amount of time actually making something with your hands, it's a really great feeling
Ella Dorfman, agonyauntdesign.posterous.com
Urban Brew are a design collective who work on design projects, installations and events. Urban Brew have previously worked alongside The British Museum and Hidden Cities on cultural public events. Urban Brew have developed the concept of I, CULTURE - exploring the role of craft in contemporary society - designing a sculptural structure for the public event at The National Theatre. The sculpture took its form from an unraveled thread that had been magnified to a huge scale, and encouraged the public to participate in the event by weaving fabrics onto the sculpture.
The fabric that the public chose to weave onto the structure was dependent upon which craft they chose to vote for, and the structure thus became a visual dialogue about which craft Londoners chose to pass on to future generations. The structure also housed various activities, which explored and promoted craft to the visiting public.
LMB & Co is London's largest textile processor working with local authorities, schools, charities and private companies to Reuse and Recycle clothing, textiles and shoes which would otherwise go to landfill. LMB have recently set up 123 a sustainable department store on Brick Lane and work with local designers to upcycle textiles into fashion garments and homewares.
Alva Wilson - Alva Headwear, specializes in hats for men and women. His work side- steps traditional techniques and explores contemporary design concepts incorporating texture, shape and form. He studied fashion/textiles at Middlesex University and freelanced as a fashion designer before deciding to do millinery. He sold his first collection to 'THE HAT SHOP', in Covent Garden and then went on to sell to other boutiques as well as commissions for the theatre, film and Television. He opened his first shop 'THE HAT GALLERY' at the now thriving Broadway Market, Hackney, in 1998-2002. During this time he went back to designing clothes as well as hats and collaborated with other designer makers within Hackney who frequently exhibited at his shop. As well as doing hats for the Royal Ascot and Rother special occasions Alva teaches hat making and felt making at colleges, schools and museums. He has also sold hats to shops in Japan, Paris and New York as well as boutiques in the U.K
Agony Aunt Design is design collective of students studying bespoke tailoring, knitwear and product design who look to develop solutions to any problem through creative thinking, art and design, with a particular focus on emotional well-being and community.
Coram Media is a new generation media company. We combine innovative online and mobile technologies with traditional broadcast media to create interactive applications and content. Our staff, and the close network of experienced consultants that we work with, are experts in their field – this expertise varies from traditional television production to programming of advanced mobile and online applications to produce truly unique content for our clients. Our specialism ranges from the creation of sports and music content and 360° real image video environments for outdoor sports and venues, to the development and production of traditional television content with a strong cross platform focus. Our clients include mountain resorts throughout the world, television channels, brands, media companies and advertising agencies, record companies and games console manufacturers.
Date: 2nd and 3rd of July, 2011
Venue: National Theatre, London
Organised by: Urban Brew, National Theatre, Adam Mickiewicz Institute
Project cofinanced by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.
I, CULTURE is a Flagship Project of the Polish Presidency of the EU Council. For more information, see: I, CULTURE
Source: Adam Mickiewicz Institute