Two major textiles exhibitions launched

After the dream by Chiharu Shiota - Lost in LaceAn ambitious exhibition featuring large-scale, theatrical and visually stimulating lace-inspired work has organised by a professor from the University for the Creative Arts (UCA).

Professor of Textiles, Lesley Millar MBE, has brought together 20 leading international artists for Lost in Lace which explores textiles and space at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG) from 29 October 2011 to 19 February 2012.

Lesley Millar MBE said: “Lost in Lace in a unique opportunity to see exciting, international work that will make you think about lace in a totally different way.

“I have had a fascination with the relationship between textiles and space since I organised an exhibition called Textural Space in 2001 so I was delighted when I was invited to curate a similar exploration in the 1,000 square metres of The Gas Hall at BMAG.

“The large space has provided the perfect setting for an exhibition of large scale works developing ideas of fluid and ambiguous descriptions of space.

“I think the public will be mesmerised by the sheer scale of the works, both in ambition and in outcome – for example, Atelier Manferdini’s ‘Inverted Crystal Cathedral’ is created from 1,000 kg of crystal, 600 strands of which have been donated by Swarovsky – it will be breathtaking.”

The exhibition is the outcome of a three-year research project for Professor Millar, who is based at UCA Farnham.

“I have spent the last 36 months in libraries, museums, visiting artists, designers and architects – talking, talking, talking,” she explained. “I was slowly able to put together an international cohort of practitioners who are using lace patterns, structures and the cultural understanding of lace in a trans-disciplinary manner to investigate how we negotiate thresholds and boundaries.”

Produced in partnership by BMAG and the Crafts Council, the exhibition brings together both leading and emergent artists and makers – many of whom will be exhibiting in the UK for the first time.

BMAG will also be displaying its own historic lace collection for the very first time with new research by UCA PhD student Gail Baxter. Visitors will be able to see different types of lace and find out about its history.

Gail said: “It is a great privilege to curate an exhibition which not only contextually repositions the lace collection of a major museum but also ties in with the Crafts Council’s international exhibition curated by Professor Millar.”

Professor Millar added: “I am absolutely delighted that Lost in Lace has provided the platform for one of my PhD students to develop their research into archival practice through the lace collection at BMAG.

“The exhibition of traditional lace and the various narratives that Gail has developed are a perfect counter-point for the contemporary works in Lost in Lace.”

Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director at Crafts Council, said: “We are thrilled to be working with BMAG and Professor Millar on this exciting exhibition.

Lost in Lace will encourage people to think about the fabric of the spaces we live in through extraordinary textile pieces created by prolific international artists. We believe this will draw new audiences to see the sort of contemporary craft that they may have never seen before.”

The exhibition is co-funded by the Crafts Council and University for the Creative Arts. Click here for more information about this exhibition.

Prof Millar is also curating an exhibition at the Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation in London. ‘Bite-size: Miniature textiles from Japan & the UK’ features the work of 51 artists who have taken part in various exchanges over the last 15 years, and will run from 31st October to 14th December 2011. Click here for more information about this exhibition and Prof Millar’s projects.