Thread: Bare

Monday 5 September – Friday 4 November.

The RBSA Craft Gallery has established a reputation as the leading outlet in the Midlands for contemporary craft. The programme of creatively themed exhibitions showcases designer makers from across the UK, exploring contemporary approaches to traditional craft-making techniques and materials. Each exhibition is a feast for the senses as well as the mind, displaying the functional alongside the innovative. The RBSA also provides opportunities for designer makers to exhibit their work in the heart of Birmingham’s creative and historic Jewellery Quarter, demonstrating its continued support of Britain’s handmade craft industry.

Featuring both established and emerging designer makers, ‘THREAD: BARE’ explores textile practice and how it informs contemporary fine craft. Textile crafts have progressed significantly in the last decade, both creatively and professionally. See how makers exploit the various properties of different textile materials, revealing how fabric and thread can be incorporated into numerous craft forms including jewellery and ceramics. This show explores the potentials and boundaries of working with textiles, so why not come along and be inspired?

Confirmed Exhibitors: Kayleigh Biggs; Karen Bunting; Catherine Carr; Sara Cohen; Sally Collins; Angela Evans; Kate Holdsworth; Yoko Izawa; Kay Morgan; Alice O’Neill; Natalie Salisbury; Emma Palmer; Emmy Palmer; Betty Pepper; Alison Stockmarr; Liz Willis; Mayuko Yamamura.

Betty Pepper, Emma Palmer, Natalie Salisbury, Sally Collins, Karen Bunting.

Betty Pepper’s work combines jewellery, textiles, and fine art. Her works are greatly inspired by books, stories, and poems. Betty illustrates these narratives using a combination of textiles, silver wire, and paper. By re-using materials, particularly textiles and books, her work plays with the idea that these objects were once part of someone else’s life. The sentimental value we place on jewellery and precious objects also inspires Betty’s narrative pieces.

Jeweller and crochet fanatic Sally Collins’ ‘Make Do and Mend’ collection features a range of earrings, brooches, neckpieces and rings which explore a traditional approach to recycling and sustainability. Using domestic crafts such as knitting, sewing, and crochet, alongside more conventional jewellery making skills, Sally creates colourful and tactile pieces of contemporary jewellery. Her concern is not only with the ecological benefits of re-using and re-inventing something old, discarded or forgotten, but also with the history of an object.

As a contemporary Jewellery Props Creator, Birmingham-based jeweller Natalie Salisbury creates dramatic yet wearable bespoke accessories for the stage, screen, and catwalk. Originally trained to work in metals, Natalie’s current collection is informed by fabric and textile design. Inspired primarily by historical costume and film, she continues to seek fresh ideas in order to explore new methods of making.

Karen Bunting specialises in making reduction-fired stoneware, mostly thrown and then individually worked upon to bring out the particular qualities and textures of each piece. The patterns that Karen adds to her pieces are inspired by the textures of fabric. She uses a limited range of clays, slips, and glazes – always working within a restricted palette of colour. Her work comments on the value of hand-made objects in a society that increasingly places emphasis on mass-produced products. Karen also believes that using cared-for objects which cannot easily be replaced, accustoms us to the idea that life is fragile and change is inevitable.

Emma Palmer graduated from Middlesex University in 2008. She uses vintage techniques of ‘tatting’ and French knitting to create her intricate, colourful jewellery. Her use of these traditional methods allows her to create unique and complex structures. Emma uses tatting to make her ‘Cluster’ collection, adapting it to create delicate loops of lace. The lace is then combined with antique-style oxidised silver elements to create a strikingly elegant range.

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