I went to a seminar on collaboration and partnership this week. Vanda Campbell’s blog has a great write up and images from it. There was a very diverse mix of people, crafts, stages in life and in making. Which made it all the harder, actually, to find people with common interests: I think we were all secretly hoping to somehow ‘be picked’, be paired up, with our perfect match in a great collaboration. Yes, like Cinderella.
It was a very different social atmosphere too, from other ‘mixers’ I’ve been too, like the ones at escape from the city. I suppose the social profile & skills of the average artist/maker is very different from the city-escaper: it was surprisingly hard to get conversations going. I was trying to follow Escape’s Rob Symington‘s best advice ever, “don’t wait to be picked”, so annoyed a lot of people by making them talk to me.
There was talk of creative collaboration between artists on the one hand, and partnerships between museums and funders to put on exhibitions on the other – a real art / business split. I suppose I’d really like to use making to cross that divide – hand-craft the way museums engage with people like I’d hand-craft a pot, or some Fair Isle: with a space for something new to develop.
Bizarrely (or maybe not – I’m the same person), we used this approach a lot when I ran prototyping teams in my last job. So, if we were trying to connect two factories, one in Puerto Rico, one near Ayr, we’d knit up computers and screens and real data to show how it could all work, with everyone chipping in.
I’m knitting up my lace and cable-knit stitch tests at the moment. I made some purposely rough shelves for my glaze tests, and I’m looking for the same look in the throw.
I’ve dyed all the tests – black; but the wool (a gift) turns out to have quite a high acrylic content so a soft grey is the darkest it gets. One batch has also come out browner: I think some contamination of the dye bath. Apparently just a chip in the enamel of a pan can mute the colour; I had a problem with a pin-hole in one of my pans – which I think caused the muting (as well as what I thought was a lot of condensation. Doh!) The picture look better in cream, but the grey looks better in real life – one of the things I like about craft is how much it shows up the limitations of screens!