A Million Dollar Collar made entirely from the seed heads of artichokes and a box claiming to have all of Gateshead inside are just two of the exhibits likely to get people talking at the Shipley Art Gallery’s latest attraction.
Craft Now, which opens on May 31 and runs to the end of the year, promises to show off some of the UK’s newest and most exciting contemporary work when it comes to textiles, glass and ceramics, all of which have been purchased for the gallery using funding from the Northern Rock Foundation.
Makers included in the exhibition are Michael Brennand Wood, internationally regarded as one of the most innovative and inspiring artists working in textiles; Felicity Aylieff, whose ceramic work is informed by an artist’s residency in Jingdezhen, China, the worldwide centre for porcelain production; and influential quilt artist Pauline Burbridge.
Julie Milne, chief curator of the Shipley, says: “The Shipley Art Gallery has one of the most extensive and important collections of contemporary craft outside London and this new exhibition will bring some of our most interesting recent acquisitions together.
“The pieces on show will give an idea of the breadth and quality of work being made right here in the UK today including jewellery, glasswork and textiles.”
But back to that artichoke collar. It has been made by jeweller Nora Fok who works entirely in non-precious materials.
An accompanying Artichoke Parachute magnifies and recreates the seed heads using nylon.
Artist Paul Scott has been instrumental in demonstrating the creative potential of ceramic and print, a combination which has been used in industry for hundreds of years.
His Gateshead in a Box was commissioned for the Shipley Art Gallery in 2010, consisting of individually printed tiles representing Gateshead’s past, present and future.
Many of these are based on the artist’s work with local school pupils and other Gateshead residents.
Also on show will be Family Feast by Barnaby Barford who works primarily with found ceramics, manipulating both mass-manufactured and antique figurines to create acerbic narratives about contemporary society.
Penny Vowles, programme manager at Northern Rock Foundation, said: “The Foundation made a significant grant in 2005 to the Shipley Art Gallery to enhance its Craft Collection as part of our Culture and Heritage programme.
“We are delighted that we will be able to celebrate the result of the grant during this exhibition and that so many visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy the Northern Rock Foundation Craft Collection.”
Craft Now runs from May 31 to December 20. Free entry. For more information, visit www.shipleyartgallery.org.uk or call 0191 477 1495.