An exhibition of works by the furniture and spatial designer Clinton Stewart that “is an exploration, and observation of the way that we embrace and create associations images and objects that we interact with.”
uden stråforkter / no straw shortener - are two works by the designer and visual artist Christina Christensen. One work is with rye from fields near Odder, and the other with reeds from Kysing Beach, and both with cotton, linen and brass.
Through their work, many of the artists who exhibited at the biennale communicate complex ideas or raise important issues about our lives … both in our immediate communities but also, more generally, about how we respond to and how we do or how we should appreciate and respect our broader natural environment.
These woven panels raise interesting issues about both how we see and use natural materials and about the impact on nature of human intervention.
Over recent decades research by plant breeders has lead to the development short-stemmed grain crops - to reduce damage from wind or rain, and to increases yields - but, as a consequence, secondary uses for the product from taller varieties are lost.
Until the second half of the 20th century, corn was not simply harvested for the nutritional value of the seed but the long stalks were a sustainable raw material.
Straw (and in many areas reed) was used for thatch where stone slates or fired clay tiles were not available locally or were too expensive for ordinary buildings.
Now, we worry about air miles or about the cost and effect of shipping food, fashion clothing and goods round the globe but I'm curious to know how many people think about where the materials for the construction of their home come from and the environmental impact of those materials at the source, at the factory, and from the transport of the materials.
Generally, in the past - so before the twentieth century - transport of building materials was difficult and expensive. If you were wealthy then you could buy a fashionable fireplace or elaborate panelling from the nearest city or import an exotic wood like mahogany for a staircase to be made by a local craftsman, but for ordinary people, building an ordinary house, materials, generally, came from the local area - often from no more than five miles away - unless you were by the coast or on a river, or, from the 19th century, by a canal or then a railway, when transport costs were less prohibitive.
So, it is fantastic to see the architect Dorte Mandrup using thatch for not only the roof but also for the external cladding of the walls for the new Wadden Sea interpretation centre at Ribe on the west coast of Jutland.
But straw and reed were not just used for building but were also used to make mats or to make furniture - in areas, where good timber was not available - and for making household goods and toys - but how many people now have things in their homes made from straw or reed?
I had a set of table mats that lasted for nearly 20 years before they finally disintegrated and I have a few traditional Dutch Christmas decorations - small birds and stars - that are woven in straw, and every year, for more than 30 years, they come out of the cupboard to be hung on the tree … good and sustainable examples of rural crafts that have much more meaning than tinsel and baubles.
For more than 20 years I measured and recorded and assessed historic buildings of all periods and a good number were thatched. My job was to measure, record and date the timber-work of the roof structure but I have to admit that I rarely thought about the thatch … more than just to note the material and any pattern on the ridge or eaves that reflected the traditions of that area.
Looking at the work by Christina Christensen, reminded me when I first thought about long straw. I had been asked by BBC radio to collaborate on a programme about a thatched building in Oxfordshire and was there to talk about the date of the roof timbers - the form and techniques of construction suggested it dated from the 14th century and that had been confirmed by dendrochronology - but the main contribution to the programme was from a plant archaeologist.
What was so important about that particular roof was that it had never been stripped back for the thatch to be replaced completely. For over 600 years it had simply been patched and repaired with new layers over the old core of straw thatch. Not just exposed roof timbers but also the underside of the thatch itself were blackened with soot from the original open hearth that had been at the centre of the house until the 16th century when a new fireplace with a closed-in chimney was built.
From within the roof space, huddled in cramped space above modern ceilings, with me and the radio interviewer, the archaeologist drew out straws that were not far off 2 metres long and some still had their seed heads. From these he was able to identify the specific types of corn grown in the area in the middle ages - types of corn that were often specific to a relatively small area and certainly no longer grown - and identifying them was important for understanding medieval farming but also important for studies on bio diversity.
The exhibition for the prestigious Danish award for the crafts - the Biennalen for Kunsthåndværk & Design - opened today at Nordatlantens Brygge / North Atlantic House in Copenhagen and continues until 5 May 2019.
Artists and designers selected to exhibit this year are:
Helle Vibeke Jensen og Mette Saabye
Kunstnergruppen RØRT: Ædelmetalformgiver og sygeplejerske Kristina Villadsen, Ædelmetalformgiver og arkitekt Maja Røhl, Ædelmetalformgiver og cand.comm. Maria Tsoskunoglu, Ædelmetalformgiver og grafiker Nanna Obel
Katrine Borup, Pernille Mouritzen og Bess Kristoffersen
Sarah Oakman og Maj-Britt Zelmer Olsen
Bitten Hegelund og Uffe Black
Bodil Manz og Jacob Manz
Officinet - poster for Extract
This is a large scale installation by the artist Ingrid Kæsler that looks at how we see colour and how we perceive space and also explores the boundaries of the traditional techniques of how textiles can be coloured and how designs are printed or transferred.
At the centre are four large banners - they are described as membranes - that are hung one behind the other and you are encouraged to walk through the narrow space between them to see how the colours and sense of space and distance changes as you look along or through the work.
These banners all the same size but are made up from separate horizontal strips of polyester with 12 strips to each - of different widths and painted in strong acrylic colours. There are six colours, reminiscent of the colours of the rainbow but deliberately different and they are repeated in exactly the same sequence - so a run of six and then the same sequence of six to make up a complete banner. This creates what is almost a modulation or wave across the work as the banners ripple across the surface with the slight vertical folds of being hung free of the wall but also a gentle rising and falling of the bands of colour from front to back from banner to banner.
Each finished banner was laid out over a large squares of aluminium sheet that was turned through 45 degrees to form in effect a lozenge or diamond and the colour was transferred from the textile to the aluminium to create what are, in effect, translucent windows through which you can see through the work and see light from the gallery windows and the colours of the sequence of banners with a surprising sense of aerial perspective - surprising in that the colours are so strong but the distance between them is tightly confined. It is when you look through, from one to the next, that you see that the word membrane is appropriate.
One starting point or inspiration for the work was thinking about how light is refracted by a crystal.
The aluminium squares are actually made from four separate long narrow panels set side by side to form the square and with the colour transferred these have been set out on the floor on either side but not in the original sequence. Where the edge of the aluminium has left slight traces on the textile and where small areas of paint have not transferred each has a trace or an echo of the other so you can reconstruct where each aluminium sheet was placed when the colour was transferred.
The banners are 3 metres wide and three metres high and the aluminium panels are 1.5 metres by 1.5 metres so there is also a precise relationship between dimensions and scale and how we read space and proportions and about we do or do not make these connections.
glass by Morten Klitgaard
Bornholms Stemme / Voice of Bornholm - an exhibition on now at Officinet - the gallery of Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere in Bredgade in Copenhagen - has been curated and arranged by Bettina Køppe of the gallery Køppe Contemporary objects in Nexø on the island of Bornholm.
Bornholm is the large Danish Island in the Baltic that is about 35 kilometres off the south coast of Sweden. It's about 30 kilometres wide and possibly 40 kilometres from north to south and is renowned for it's landscape and for it's archaeology … with its position it controlled traffic through this part of the Baltic with major medieval fortresses. It's important not just for tourism but for artists and crafts makers who live here and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts schools of glass and ceramics are based on Bornholm.
The exhibition has works from four major ceramicists - Michael Geertsen, Nynne Rosenkrantz Christiansen, Christina Schou Christensen, and Jeanette List Amstrup - pieces by the glass maker Morten Klitgaard - works in wood by Tyge Axel Holm and jewellery by Kaori Juzu and Per Suntum.
detail of Barrel Ceramic by Chistina Schou Christensen - top right
Stoneage Decon ceramics and works on paper by Michael Geertsen - bottom left
ceramic by Nynne Ronsenkrantz Christiansen - bottom right
Karmstol, Stitched wood and a Skammel and Massive weaving
An important exhibition of recent work by the furniture designer and architect Else-Rikke Bruun has just opened at the gallery of the Association of Danish Crafts and Designers in Bredgade .
the exhibition continues until 20 December 2018
Officinet, Bredgade 66, Copenhagen
Tina Astrup graduated as a textile designer from the Danish Design School but also completed a post-graduate degree in furniture and spatial design.
Inspired by the timber and the colours seen in a local saw mill, where oak was stacked and seasoned, the work shown here is a project that has evolved over four years. She takes large disks of timber - sections of tree trunk - or substantial wedges of oak and baulks of wood and enhances both the pattern of the natural grain that mark the growth of the tree but her process seems also to echo mechanical cuts and saw marks that show how a tree is felled and the trunk cut into planks.
She uses vinegar poured over the timber that has been wound tightly with wire … a process that brings out tannins in the timber and creates slashes of dark colour in a way that echoes the effect when textiles are tie dyed.
This changes the character of the oak to make it darker both in terms of colour and in the sense of being much more dramatic.
We tend to see oak now only after it has been worked - so finely cut and planed and smoothed and pale - and see oak as the ideal wood for wide, hard-wearing floor boards or for strong finely-made furniture.
Along with beech and ash, pale or almost white oak is still a hall-mark if not the hall-mark wood for the modern Scandinavian interior. Through the classic period of modern furniture design, the English even talked about ‘light oak furniture’ to distinguish the look they wanted from the ‘dark’ oak of 19th-century and earlier furniture that was regarded as old fashioned or unfashionable.
But oak trees, in the wood or the forest, can be twisted and gnarled - powerful and impressive - and even disturbing.
The cuts and marks on these pieces by Tina Astrup reconnects us with what is, after all, the force - the almost aggressive force - of chopping down a large tree and cutting it into planks and should take us a step back from the product to the natural material and to the way we work with timber to see new possibilities in how designers could work with and use oak in very different ways.
An exhibition of the latest work by the textile designer Helene Vonsild has just opened at the craft and designers gallery - Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere - in Copenhagen. This is an intriguing and very beautiful and elegant exhibition that is a development of the techniques and the ideas shown by Helene last May when the work Human Textile Object was selected for Liquid Life … The Biennale for Craft & Design.
K&D - Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere - Bredgade 66, 1260 Copenhagen K
the exhibition continues until 8 April 2018
Laser-cut textiles ... an exhibition of designs by Anja Merete Larsen … studies in aesthetics and acoustics
"Where is the line between public and private? Can we change people's habits by repositioning a wall, pull a curtain or turning a door? It has great value for both employers and individuals to create confidence-inspiring space.
There is currently much debate about creating work environments that can suit both introverted and extroverted personality types. Environments where people can find peace, energy and focus. What is the optimum for an effective workplace? I think this is an interesting discussion to take up."
Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere - Officinet, Bredgade 66, Copenhagen
3rd - 18th February 2018
Today was the first day of the major annual craft market at Frue Plads in Copenhagen - Kunsthåndværkermarked - with ceramics, glassware, jewellery and textiles. Organised by the members of the association of Danish crafts - Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere - the market continues on Friday and Saturday 11th and 12th August.
Not in the normal location on the large square across the north side of Vor Frue Kirke in Copenhagen - because of excavation works there - but for this year on the other side of the church.
This is an opportunity to see - and to buy - some of the very best of Danish craft. And the weather seems to have improved just in time.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10-12 August
Kunsthåndvæker Markedet - the annual craft fair on Frue Plads in Copenhagen - will open on the 11th August and continue on the 12th and 13th.
Frue Plads is the square across the north side of Vor Frue Kirke in the centre of Copenhagen.
Organised by the association for crafts - K&D or Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere - there will be more than 130 stalls at the market. The list of major designers and makers from across Denmark who are showing their work is strong for ceramics and glass and jewellery but there will also be work by basket makers, textile designers and graphic artists.
This is an amazing opportunity to see and to buy some of the very best craft work from Danish designers and makers.
Kunsthåndvæker Markedet, Frue Plads, Copenhagen
Thursday 11 August 12.00 -19.00
Friday 12th August 10.00 - 19.00
Saturday 13th August 10.00 - 16-00