Meet Make Collaborate
a strand of
‘Identity, Collaboration, Sustainability:
an online, international festival of craft’
Meet Make Collaborate presents new individual and collaborative works created by international collaborating makers from Mexico, Thailand, Canada and Scotland taking part in three international residencies. See details of the exhibition tour, at the Lochty Gallery, Carnoustie Library 24 November 2021 – 19 March 2022, and has included showcases at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery and the Barn in Banchory, Aberdeenshire.
The exhibition was a strand of ‘Identity, Collaboration, Sustainability: an online international festival of craft’ which took place Monday 27 – Thursday 30 September 2021. Watch the Meet Make Collaborate Exhibition talk by Simone Stewart, Head of Programme at the Barn, presented in the festival programme on the Craft Festival 2021 Vimeo channel.
Pilar Obeso Sánchez & Kate Davies
Following their residency in Scotland, Kate and Pilar exchanged letters discussing how popular culture, play and humour had been absolutely key to shaping their own creative identities. Through this correspondence they discovered a shared childhood love of costume and dressing up.
Bringing their cultural aesthetics, shared sense of humour, regional masked rituals, performance and play together, they each designed and made a work inspired by and for each other developing their own Cadaver Exquisito, a delicious bricolage of Mexican and Scottish flavours. In the trickster creatures Pilar and Kate created for each other, they realised cultural identity is something you can playfully exchange, embrace, defy, swap out, dress up in, put on, or take off.
Medium: felted wool & papier mache
Soledad Ruizz Mendoza, Dalila Cruz & Fiona Hall
The three makers spent time together in Braemar naturally dying Merino Yarn with locally foraged Tansy and Buddleia plants and shared these amongst themselves, going on to use these natural yellow dyed yarns as a basis for their individual works which hang together as a trio.
Untitled Textile Work, Fiona Hall
This piece came about following Fiona’s discussions with her collaborative partners Soledad and Dalila during their residency stay in Braemar. Despite cultural and physical distance, they had similar connections to their grandparents, ways of life, and loss of those through transition, travel, modernity… They also connected through their use and respect of materials and our local natural dye plants.
Fiona’s piece speaks of her identity as a Gamekeepers granddaughter. Her grandparent’s way of life revolved around grouse shooting and moorland management. It’s an integral part of the culture, identity, and history of their community. Grouse shooting sustained the community and sustained a way of life. And it is part of Fiona’s identity, but at the same time lost to her as a city dweller with no connection left to that community. It’s a memory.
Fiona wished to say something about the fragility of the eco-system due to grouse shooting, the battle between the grouse and the moorland. And something about three journeys, our convergence, and parallels. If you look closely, you’ll find Mexican Grecas – the symbol of life.
Medium: hand screen printed, devore, wool, poly-cotton & linen, naturally dyed Merino yarn, repair stitching, hand embroidery.
Weaving, Soledad Ruizz Mendoza
Textile work, Dalila Cruz
Dalila Cruz & Lynne Hocking-Mennie with Bii Daüü Collective
Sounds recorded by artisan weavers in Teotitlan de Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico were translated to handwoven rug patterns, capturing a fleeting moment in time and creating physical form and longevity beyond the moment itself.
‘El Sonido Que Mueve El Mundo: un celular y un pájaro
(The Sound That Moves The World: a cell phone and a bird)’
“Wednesday 5.45 am … We went early in the morning to the mountain to record the sound of the chachalaca bird. While I was recording some other bird sounds, my cell phone rang...”
Procoro Ruiz, Bii Daüü Collective
Chachalacas are noisy birds found in wooded habitats around central America. Cell phones are ubiquitous.
Medium: cotton weft and naturally-dyed wool warp
‘Mi Hija Contando Del 1 Al 10 En Zapoteco
(My Daughter Counting To Ten In Zapotec)’
“Monday 1:00 pm … My daughter came home from school and I was talking to her in Zapotec, so we recorded her counting to ten. We are proud to speak Zapotec with our children.”
Fermina Ruiz, Bii Daüü Collective
Zapotecs are indigenous people of Mexico, with a native language that is spoken alongside others and safeguarded for future generations.
Medium: cotton weft and naturally-dyed wool warp
‘A Risa Del Bebé
“Thursday 5:30 pm … My son’s laugh on a rug is the most wonderful part of my life and I feel happy and blessed because a laugh is something magical.”
Ana Ruiz, Bii Daüü Collective
Alex has the bubbliest laugh.
Medium: cotton weft and naturally-dyed wool warp
Based on the weather pattern over one hour during Storm Ciara (west coast Scotland, February 2020), this work considers the places of protection needed in a future where climate change causes rapid and violent changes in weather, where a single object needs to quickly change to provide protection from both intense sun and heavy rain/snow.
Medium: vintage umbrella frame with handwoven cotton and linen cover; cocoons of wool, flax, rose and cotton dyed used lichens and indigo.
Dimensions: 120 cm diameter x 95 cm length (handle to tip)
‘The New Kind of Rock’
Kawisara Anansaringkarn & Stefanie Cheong
Focusing on the global problem of e-waste and in particular the deportation of waste from the UK to Thailand, the duo wanted to create a new usable material that would raise awareness and try and find a solution towards this issue. Looking to nature they mimicked rock cycle processes that could help transform the non-precious metal elements of e-waste into The New Kind of Rocks. Exploring a few rock types and how they were formed they made their own examples of what sedimentary, conglomerates and fossils from the future would look like, a snapshot into the remnants of the Anthropocene. Combining plastic, metals, wires, glass, with natural materials such as sand and rocks they produced materials that were interesting and hoped that would have viewers questing what they were made of and why they were produced. After their collaborative residency at Cove Park in February 2020 during which they created samples, they each continued to research and experiment with the processes they devised together during their residency and responded individually through making a collection of jewellery and objects.
Andrea Tsang Jackson
How do we approach new entities in our lives? New people, new ideas, new environments? Hesitancy, curiosity, acceptance and/or embracing? These groups of objects are a series of movements, captured in an abstract animation and strung together to imagine such a scenario. They are created from remnants from a Nova Scotian rainwear manufacturer, found in multiples as a result of the garment production process.
The independent entities wonder how they can belong among the ruins and remnants – the opposite position of their role in the animation.
How do we integrate new experiences into what we knew or were before? In this fabric locally produced and processed wool, a traditional Scottish material, is combined with waste material from Nova Scotia: offcuts of an innovative textile made from recycled plastic bottles. The ancient technique of hand-knotted pile has been applied over a computer-controlled multi-shaft handwoven ground to create a visual narrative of transformation. This in turn has become the basis for experiments in animation and a new textile story.
Andrea Tsang Jackson & Cally Booker
As collaborative partners, Andrea & Cally are both motivated by questions of identity, community and belonging, coming as they do from families with a history of migration, and having established our own lives through relocation and ‘coming from away’. Their collaboration is centred on applying the new lens of animation to their work, enabling them to take the spatial framework of textile design and use it to explore narratives of identity and transformation in a temporal medium.
Andrea’s piece, Unknown, is a child-like representation of how we perceive and approach unknown entities and how we all search for belonging. The series of movements are strung together in a stream of consciousness manner.
In Cally’s work, Identity Shift, stories of growth, encounter and change are expressed through line, in movements reminiscent of traditional country dances.
This work explores the in-between-ness of a certain time and place within the landscape and is a balance between textiles, sculpture and installation. The Japanese aesthetic of Ma takes into consideration the space between two markers and this concept has impacted my creative practice. Throughout conversations with Louise’s collaborator Kiersten Holder-Ada, they spoke about these in-between spaces within landscape as a shared interest. Louise continued exploring these themes once back in Orkney using found materials from the landscape, and pushing the scale of the work using threads to hold the space in between two markers.
Medium: Steel and naturally dyed textiles
The process of excavating ancestral lineage, as a white settler of Scottish / Orcadian and Irish descent, can be both connective/healing and painful as it necessitates a reckoning with legacies of harm. This piece facilitates a somatic practice of sitting with the tension inherent in this reckoning and in the ‘both/and’ reality of colonizer / colonized. The rocks, akin to bendlin stanes traditionally used to secure thatched roofs in Orkney, create a physical tension in the body; an opportunity to practice an embodied presence under said tension and discomfort, encouraging a felt sense of connection to the land and holding space in which to inhabit other expressions of hybridity. The rock suspended on the back body is from Orkney, representing history and the landscape of Kiersten’s Orcadian ancestors while the rock suspended on the front body is from Mi’kma’ki, representing the present, their current home and the legacy of this land. The leather, handmade rope dyed with lichen (a hybrid organism) and the ropework suspending the rocks draw in queer and kink lineages. This work questions how a regenerative connection to lineage and an embodied practice of sitting with complexity might ground and expand our resilience to better serve the sustainability of our work and collective movements for racial and environmental justice.
Photography of the Torso Piece being worn is by Mo Phùng.
Medium: Leather, sand cast sterling silver hardware cast with sand from Orkney & Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia) handmade rope made from lichen (Umbilicaria Mamulata) dyed wool, rocks from Orkney & Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia).
Louise Barrington & Kiersten Holden-Ada
This collaborative piece draws on Louise’s Orcadian cultural identity and relationship to the land and sea, Kiersten’s identity as a queer non-binary settler (of Scottish & Irish descent) and each of their interdisciplinary practices. Emerging from a shared interest in experimenting with sound and light as craft materials, this audio-visual tapestry is an exploration of tension and expansion within ‘in-between’ times and spaces. Louise collaged moving images that reflect everyday moments within the landscapes of Orkney and Mi’kma’ki/Nova Scotia maximizing light, shadow and movement while Kiersten composed the soundscape by weaving together audio samples from in-between times (dawn/dusk, spring/fall) and spaces (shorelines and intertidal areas) from both places. Reflecting liminality as an expansive condition versus a condition of opposition, this work is a subtle troubling of false-dichotomies such as fine art/craft, colonizer/colonized, invisible/visible, gay/straight, and the gender binary.
Date: November 2020
‘New Silk Road Medal Series’
Mengnan Qu & Susan O’Byrne
Mengnan: ‘In this project, my work partner Susan O’Bryan contributed her incredible knowledge about ceramic material. In those uncountable online meetings with Susan, the information exchange between us included technical support and also profound cultural influences from each other. Like the culture shocks along the silk road between the east and the west, we are in a new era, a new silk road era. These forms are influenced by the traditional Chinese form Cong symbolized the structure of our world. Flat square earth and round dome sky. With the internet and other technologies, the earth seems not a sphere anymore.’
Susan: ‘A series of three dragon broaches made from sheets of “homemade” printed poly-vinyl porcelain and extruded poly-vinyl porcelain treads. The material was developed in an attempt to replicate and produce coloured versions of a commercial material introduced to me by my collaboration partner Mengnan Qu. This pre-fired flexible porcelain material enabled these experiments in the tracing and digital cutting of motifs on flat coloured sheet porcelain. Each broach comprises of 5 layers of cast and digitally cut poly-vinyl porcelain with individually applied porcelain” embroidery” threads. All porcelain is fired to 1260 deg. Centigrade. The Dragon Motifs were taken from Chinese silk embroideries as catalogued in Emblems of an Empire, Selections from the Mactaggart Art Collection, John E. Vollmer and Jacqueline Simcox, a book gifted to me from Mengnan.’
‘Shoes for Mary’
Jennifer Green & Sarah Paramor
Jennifer Green & Sarah Paramor use weaving and basketmaking to interrogate how place influences identity. The makers exchanged skills online, and wove together elements of Scotland and Canada, one using natural materials from their locale and the other weaving maps.
Shoes for Mary is inspired by Mary Campbell who, having survived the perilous journey from Applecross, Scotland, to Nova Scotia on a warship in 1803, “took charge of the cows and with a sickle she reaped enough food for the three cows for the winter”. Mary later drowned in Farrnet Bay, “crossing in a boat alone, taking a tub of butter to a shoemaker in payment for his work”.
Two makers, two pairs of shoes made on opposite sides of the ocean, celebrating a self-reliant woman who used her Highland skills to forge a fresh identity in Atlantic Canada.
Carol’s new body of work in porcelain was in response to her residency in Halifax and influenced by her ongoing collaboration with Nova Scotian based Jeweller Rebecca Hannon. Together they have been exploring identity in the contemporary, multicultural societies of Scotland and Nova Scotia. Specifically identity in relation to colour in our living and natural environments and in the ethnic mix of people that call each country home.
A set of 7 vessels in white porcelain, each decorated with inlaid porcelain and glossy watery glazes in a variety of blue, turquoise, grey and pink shades representing the Halifax waterfront and its relationship to the city. The lines represent reflections in water and the glass of shop fronts and the tall contemporary buildings within the city centre. The lines also represent the traces of streets and pathways as seen on a map, and the meandering journey of discovery Carol made as a visitor. Each piece has decoration on both the inside and outside of the work to create different perspectives of the city.
Dimensions: all pieces are 15cm long x 13cm wide, with 3 different heights of 13cm, 20cm & 25cm
‘Equal and Opposite’
A set of six ceramic vessels in black, white and coloured porcelain representing skin tones. In exploring the connections between our countries, Rebecca and Carol have discussed current and historical tensions between indigenous people and immigrant settlers in Canada, many originating from Scotland. Their research has been intensified by the Black Lives Matter movement and the urgent need to speak more openly about inequality and injustice. Created as pairs, each vessel has an equal and opposite partner piece which offers an alternative version of the same colour story. For one, the pattern of colour sits on the outside, and for its partner on the inside, referencing the insider and outsider perceptions that reinforce discrimination.
Dimensions: each piece is 19cm long x 17cm wide x 15cm tall
‘Celebration of Colour’
A set of 3 angled pieces in white porcelain, each decorated with inlaid red, orange and plum coloured porcelain and matt glazes in the rich blues and purples which represent my visual experience of Halifax, particularly the interplay of colour between the natural and manmade. The residency took place in autumn and the bright orange and red of the trees set against the brightly coloured painted wooden houses generated a colour palette that speaks of the character of Halifax. The pieces lean towards one another as if in dialogue, echoing the relationships between buildings in the cityscape. As the viewer moves around the work they gain new perspective of each piece and different visual relationships between them.
Dimensions: each piece is 13cm wide x 10cm deep x 25cm tall
‘Bird of Passage’
Rebecca Hannon & Carol Sinclair
‘There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before.‘ Robert Wilson Lynd
The right hand wing of this collaborative piece was made by Rebecca in Halifax, Nova Scotia and the left hand wing by Carol in Forfar, Scotland. Adapted from the wings of the Siskin, a bird that lives in both countries, the wings have been scaled up to human size to represent the connections between the collaborators, the natural environment that connects both countries and the need to work together to protect it. We need both wings to take flight.
The colours chosen for each wing are taken from those found in the other collaborators natural and built environments. Photos from Scotland and Nova Scotia were exchanged and the digital ‘eyedropper’ tool allowed each artist to extract pixels, leading to distinct colour palettes representative of each place. The materials and processes used to achieve these site-specific palettes, have been chosen with sustainability, recycling and repurposing in mind.
Rebecca challenged her established artistic practice by incorporating craft materials and processes suggested by Halifax makers in response to the Scotland inspired colour palette. New processes using thoughtfully sourced materials and historical techniques have made each feather a module of research.
Carol has used a set of interconnected materials that form part of “closed loop” of reusing, repurposing and recycling to extend the use of materials and increase the sustainability of her creative choices.
Dimensions: each wing is 190cm wide by 90cm high, depth 5cm Rebecca Hannon’s project was supported by Arts Nova Scotia
Meet Make Collaborate is part of an international project by Applied Arts Scotland SCIO in partnership with the British Council Crafting Futures programme including the British Council Mexico, British Council Thailand and the British Council Scotland. It is funded by Creative Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Edinburgh College of Art, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, High Life Highland and Museums Galleries Scotland.