Crafts Council chair hails ‘compelling’ Alice Kettle exhibition
28 January 2019
Thread Bearing Witness presents a series of large-scale textiles work shining a light on refugee displacement
The chair and director of the Crafts Council made a special visit to Professor Alice Kettle’s Thread Bearing Witness exhibition, hailing her “extraordinarily graphic, powerful and compelling” work.
Thread Bearing Witness, exhibiting at the Whitworth until February 24, presents a series of large-scale textile works that shine a light on refugee displacement.
Professor Kettle gave a tour of the exhibition to Professor Geoffrey Crossick, Chair of the Crafts Council, and Rosy Greenlees, its Executive Director. The Crafts Council is the national development agency for promoting contemporary craft in the UK.
“Alice Kettle is, in my mind, the most exciting contemporary textile maker and artist around.
Professor Crossick also praised Manchester School of Art as “one of the most important places where the development of high level skill in craft takes place”.
In Thread Bearing Witness, Professor Kettle has created new works by drawing contributions from refugees and has also worked directly with artists from Afghanistan, Syria and Uganda who feature in the exhibition through a series of sculptural textiles and other textile artworks.
She hosted the Crafts Council alongside dozens of schoolchildren from the Manchester Multi-Language Mushaira project, who are working with Manchester Metropolitan University staff to create multilingual poetry and artwork.
Professor Crossick said: “Alice Kettle is, in my mind, the most exciting contemporary textile maker and artist around.
“Alice is one of those people whose work is extraordinarily graphic, powerful and compelling - as the best visual art is, but also she is a textile artist for whom the working of the textile, the technical skill, the way it all happens, is absolutely all visible in the work that you see.
“She has a very distinctive personal voice. You can always recognise an Alice Kettle piece of work.”
Professor Kettle, Professor of Textiles at Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “The Craft Council’s support for material practice here has been constant - we have worked with them through Hothouse, Assemble and in various other student and research initiatives. As a School of Art with such important craft practice as a specialist and expanded field, this visit and their interest is of great value.”
Professor Crossick also praised the way Manchester School of Art teaches craft to students and its practice-based research– “not just the technique but the ideas, the conceptual thinking and the ways in which students at the School of Art are pushed to be creative in exciting ways.
“Manchester School of Art is certainly a jewel in the crown of Manchester Metropolitan University but it's also hugely important for craft in this country.”