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Time-lapse: an exhibition by our Cornwall & Devon Cluster Hub

Formed in June 2020, the Cornwall and Devon Cluster Hub is part of a growing initiative by Design-Nation to foster links between its members within regions and localities, and one that has been very timely since the advent of lockdowns and the sense of isolation created by these. The group has a new exhibition opening in May 2021 called “Time Lapse: recording a moment in time”.

The Cornwall and Devon Cluster Hub comprises designer/makers of jewellery, ceramics, glass, sculptural silver, wearable art, film and textiles. Throughout 2020, despite restrictions on sales opportunities and exhibitions, they continued to work, united under the Covid-19 umbrella, responding to the restrictions which have been imposed on all our lives. The members have used their making to explore their shared experience of lockdown, boosting mood and developing resilience.

This time of reflection has given rise to a range of work in response to issues observed locally but which are of international concern, reflecting worldwide trends in more mindful and caring approaches to life and work. Issues the  D&C group are looking at include:

  • Plastic which washes up on our beaches, particularly the vast quantities of commercial fishing gear.
  • The importance of native woodland and concerns about habitat destruction.
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species
  • Reduced, repetitive lifestyles and the need for social interaction.

This thought and creativity has resulted in a colllective body of work which  records what happened when time stopped, when Covid took hold, and how these artists responded… and then emerged into the public domain after a period of containment and introspection. Using this exhibition opportunity as a springboard, the artists have explored the benefits of creating art as a way of coping with living through a pandemic.

Artists exhibiting: Abigail Brown, Alison Brown, Bridget Macklin, Fiona Sperryn, Lynne Speake, Lucy Spink, Maria Andrews, Maxine Greer and Susan Kinley.

The exhibition will be on show at the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro from 17 May until 25 July 2021.

All images courtesy of the exhibiting artists.

Background on the makers and their work:

Abigail Brown: In 2020, during the peace of the first lockdown, I became increasingly concerned by how far-removed from nature humans have become.  The pandemic has distracted attention from the climate change crisis that we are already experiencing.  A crisis for which there is no vaccine.

Alison Brown: “Ghost Fishing” highlights industrial fishing techniques and world-wide overflow of detritus and flotsam. Washed up sea twine is twisted into hand-made braid and hooked with porcelain fish. Ovid wrote ‘Where belief is painful we are slow to believe.’ We need to cherish our beautiful planet and its extraordinary inhabitants.

Bridget Macklin: Every piece of work begins with a blank canvas of pure white porcelain representing beauty, value and fragility. Into this she mixes other materials.  Sometimes these are raw clays which she finds whilst walking. These interact with the porcelain to build strata of colour where the only limit to interpreting the finer detail is the viewer’s imagination.

Fiona Sperryn hand weaves unique tapestry-style artwork. She enjoys the physical interactions of the creative process, from textural mark-making outdoors to hand finishing the woven cloth in her studio in Cornwall on the edge of Bodmin Moor. She draws inspiration from her environment and a love of weave structure.

Cornish based jeweller Lucy Spink places a high value on nature and its fundamental influence on the human condition. Combining traditional jewellery techniques and thought-provoking contemporary design with the influence of her fine art education, Lucy hopes to draw wearers of her work into looking at and engaging more deeply with the landscapes we live in, seeing nature in more detail and with greater awareness and compassion.

Lynne Speake is directly influenced by her environment, inspired and excited by things unnoticed … erosion, peeling paint, rusting metal, colour, texture and pattern.

Maria Andrews is concerned with our personal journeys which can bring joy and pain, beauty and ugliness as we navigate life. She explores this in her collections through how they are reflected and echo in the natural world. Working primarily from precious metals she incorporates other materials such as found natural objects, wax and copper.

Maxine Greer is an artist based in Cornwall who creates thought provoking installations, animations and drawings. Maxine coordinates and delivers public engagement projects in a variety of community settings including garden sheds, schools and fields.

Susan Kinley makes artworks and installations that cross boundaries of disciplines, materials and processes, responding to particular places across time. Her starting points are often ancient archaeological sites, and works in glass, enamels and Japanese papers mirror both the wider landscape and close up surface details, with changes of viewpoints.

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Clare Edwards


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