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Mitchison, L., 2014.

Material Matters

Output Type:Exhibition
Venue:MMU Special Collections, 3rd floor, Sir Kenneth Green Library
Number of Works:10

Lesley Mitchison; Programme Leader Textiles in Practice F/T
Output 2
Type: Exhibition
Title: Material Matters

Material Matters was an exhibition curated by staff in Special Collections at MMU; the exhibition looks at how different materials have been used in art, craft and design over the centuries and across cultures. The exhibition contained historic objects from MMU Special Collections that were displayed alongside the work of contemporary makers from Manchester School of Art. As a member of staff working in Textiles (weave) I was invited to contribute work to this exhibition.

The opportunity to reference the work from the Special Collection archives for visual and contextual information is key to the continued development of particular threads of investigation already pertinent in current research. The importance of new archival research was key to the development of new processes and techniques in weave in the work produced. This is particular to the sustainable dyeing of materials and yarn and the use of figurative imagery in weave utilising non-digital methods. Particular reference has been made to the work of the weaver Ethel Mairet and to the Whitworth Art Gallery that house some of Mairet's sample books.

Originality in the work produced for this exhibition comes from the interpretation of these historic and traditional arte-facts into contemporary samples and fabrics celebrating the value and longevity of these traditional processes.

The importance of skill based history, which has fallen out of favour with much contemporary craft criticism and the fundamental values of craft-work and its process, have been the main influences for this body of work and it is the transferable nature of this research that gives this work significance.

The work was displayed alongside historic objects, they sat side by side in showcases and on the gallery wall; this served to emphasise to an external audience the on-going importance of materiality to the artist and designer past
and present.