Crafting Futures Thailand

Crafting Futures Thailand brought together two makers from Scotland with two craft-based designers from Thailand for a ten-day residency at Cove Park, Scotland in February 2020. During this residency, makers shared experiences, skills and processes; and created materials to work with beyond the residency. Makers continued to work with these materials and create work for 12-months afterwards (extended due to the Covid-19 pandemic).

Collaborating makers:

Kawisara Anansaringkarn, Coth Studio

Female wearing a stripy t-shirt and white jacket, standing in front of large pieces of hanging white paper
Kawisara Anansaringkarn

Kawisara Anansaringkarn – known as Poon – is co-founder of Coth Studio (Creative Collaboration Thailand). She is a Thai-born multidisciplinary designer who has a broad experience in various design fields. She started in the field of interior architecture before expanding to product, communication and experience design. Her works are characterised by a mix of approaches, materials, techniques and stories where she loves to explore the new relationship and combination of it that is responding to the new context. She doesn’t have a fixed discipline but loves to blur conventional boundaries and limitations of the subject.

‘Overall, the residency gave me an opportunity to expand my perspectives and practices in crafts. I had a wonderful time working alongside so many talented people in a friendly and motivating atmosphere. The natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere in Cove Park allowed me to become more focused on what I wanted to do as a designer. Fortunately, I was paired with Stefanie who also shared the same passion in crafts. We were interested in socially engaged projects and transformable designs. In addition, we have worked with materials, such as trash and by-product material, that are commonly undervalued by most people. Hence, this is why we were particularly interested in e-waste. We started our project by exploring and conducting some research on how crafts can play a more important role for a more responsible use of e-waste during the period of the programme.’

Stefanie Cheong

Female wearing a respirator mask and apron, stood in front of a wall with jewellery hammers on it
Stefanie Cheong wearing a respirator mask

Stefanie Cheong is a maker who is influenced by our environment. She has been
specialising in using found Scottish rock with Fairtrade and recycled
metals, cutting the rock using traditional lapidary techniques with a
contemporary aesthetic. Elevating the beauty of the rich and abundant
geology formed in Scotland she makes art objects and jewellery that
encourage sustainable design through interchangeable elements. The
foundation of her practice continues to develop through ethical and
sustainable considerations. She is always learning and questioning as she
makes.

She is currently forming ideas around social geology, interested in how
millions of years have dictated the development of land and culture. She wants to know more about how humans responded to the natural environment
to survive and looking to discover the links between geology and how it
shaped the way of life pre-industrial revolution. There is a lot to
learn from the resourcefulness of the past to help inform better
decision making for our futures.

Thailand-based designer Kawisara Anansaringkarn of Coth Studio and I met on a 10 day residency at Cove Park. We explored commonality in our work and responded to the global issue of e-waste being dumped on countries such as Thailand. We looked to nature to mimic geological process to create new kinds of rocks that produced a new material that could provoke questioning and give the waste a new purpose. Post-residency, we decided to experiment within the confinements of our own expertise and equipment by producing our own range of rocks that were to be turned into jewellery or objects. The impact of this residency has been invaluable, it has really made me
look at waste streams and continue to develop my practice by pushing the boundaries of material choice and making me asses the ethical implications of every material I use.’

Prach Niyomkar, Mann Craft

Man wearing round framed glasses standing in a green crop field
Prach Niyomkar, Mann Craft

Prach Niyomkar – known as Mann – is from Sakon Nakhon Province in Thailand. he is a natural colours artist. In 2010 he founded his brand Mann Craft creating wearable art textiles (scarf, textile and home decoration objects). He is interested in colours, especially colours from nature. Firstly, he started to learn and experiment with the indigo plant (indigofera tinctoria) from local artisans and then experimented more with others plants and soil for dyeing, printing and painting. He works with local weavers. Part of his job is to design, dye the yarns with natural dyes (such as indigo, lac, mud, tree leaves and flowers) and send these to the weavers. He likes to experiment with other crafts from many places and other artists (eco-print, block print, tablet weaving.) His recent project is ‘Man gardens’ creative crafts center. He is developing the land to be a space for connecting, inspiring, sharing and sustainability.

‘I applied to join this programme because I’d like to experience as a residency artist and to work with international artist to feel and to understand the residency system, artist’s thinking process. I learned a lot with my collaborative partner Lynne, who’s pattern weaving is inspired from DNA data. I visited her studio in Aberdeen and was inspired a lot by how artists in Scotland could have working space and supported by many organizations with strong connections. At Cove Park, with fantastic scenery, we decided to have ‘the changing weather’ as our collaborative theme. Carol, our kindest mentor took us to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE). The staff showed us the art exhibitions, the herbarium, and the sample of lichen dyes. Lynne and I decided to experiment dyeing fibers with lichen that we found in Cove Park and also I brought some of my natural indigo paste to experiment there.’

Lynne Hocking-Mennie

Female portrait
Lynne Hocking-Mennie

Lynne Hocking-Mennie is a handweaver and trained scientist whose work sits at the intersection of art / craft and science, creating handwoven objects that turn data into physical objects. Her current work takes inspiration from genetics (DNA sequences and ancestry) as well as bioacoustics and weather data. She has undertaken two residencies as part of the British Council’s Crafting Futures programme where the work created was inspired by data.

She learned to weave on a backstrap loom while travelling in Thailand in 2016. After taking more weaving courses in Scotland, she now has her own studio in Aberdeen city centre where she works with multi-shaft floor and table looms. She creates objects for exhibitions & commissions and also teaches weaving workshops.

Her practice has a strong focus on environmental sustainability (She works mainly with natural and / or upcycled / found materials, including fleece from my local rare breed farm, aiming for minimal waste) and storytelling through objects.

Come rain or come shine‘ evolved from Lynne and Prach’s collaborative residency at Cove Park, which took place at the end of Storm Ciara, and therefore the weather was violently changeable minute-to-minute. They spent time experimenting with natural dyes and fibres that reflected the environments of Thailand (indigo, brought from Thailand (blue) & cotton) and Scotland (lichens collected at Cove Park (gold) & wool, flax).

The need for protection from the elements, especially in the context of climate crisis effects on different geographies, was explored; and a potential future where rapid and violent changes in weather become more commonplace considered.

They explored what umbrellas and parasols, typical tools used for protection against rain and sun, of the future might look like when both need to offer protection against multiple weather types. Repurposing an existing umbrella and parasol frame, they were covered with cloth woven from materials dyed during the residency.

Lynne’s umbrella takes weather data from a one-hour period during Storm Ciara that went from dense snow / hail to blue skies / sunshine and back again. She integrates ‘cocoons’ / rolags (created as precursors to spinning cotton and wool) into handwoven material. Gold Scottish lichen cocoons are interwoven into a dense handwoven substrate that protects against rain; and the blue Thai indigo cocoons interweave with a looser fabric that offers shade from strong sun.

On Twitter

#MeetMakeCollaborate Exhibition Talk, at: 'Identity, Collaboration, Sustainability: an online, international festival of craft' Join #SimoneStewart, Head of Programme @TheBarnArts for insights into #craft exhibits 13:45 BST, Thu 30/09/21 Register: https://t.co/14b5ZD14kl https://t.co/fQO1tAtGfC