Jerwood Contemporary Makers 2009

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Seven new commissions by early-career makers, including Committee, Linda Florence, Julia Lohmann, Geoffrey Mann, Rachael Matthews, Claire Norcross and Ismini Samanidou.

Collaborative practice Committee (Clare Page and Harry Richardson) present a number of projects created from assembled, adapted and juxtaposed discarded objects and the leftovers from the retail world. Their signature Kebab Lamps are constructed by skewering different objects together, and an accompanying sound piece documents the discussion process integral to their assembly.

Linda Florence has made tiles of patterned flock wallpaper positioned across the gallery floor and walls. Visitors can add to the piece during the exhibition, continuing the pattern started by previous attendees. The work is inspired by mismatched tiles in Libya and patterns drawn onto the stairs of Glasgow tenement buildings by their inhabitants after weekly washings.

Julia Lohmann’s work Settlements is a series of plastic, porcelain, clay and bronze configurations that have been partly submerged in seawater tanks to allow Bryozoa, tiny marine animals, to settle on their surfaces. In the wild, these creatures colonise kelp and manmade waste, creating detailed calcified skeletons with mesh-like patterns. Settlement allows the Bryozoa to co-design the piece, and provides a glimpse of what is happening within the vast islands of rubbish floating in the remote areas of our oceans.

Geoffrey Mann has made a series of works that encapsulate the movement of the natural world – a moth and a bird – using cinematic stop-motion techniques, CAD modelling, rapid prototyping and traditional hand-craftsmanship. Two glass pieces capture the taking-off and landing of a feral pigeon and the trajectory of a moth’s flight has been developed into a static object using rapid prototyped nylon.

Rachel Matthews invites international participants to complete UFOs – knitters slang for unfinished objects. The UFO Project Administration Service connects makers over the internet, asking them to tell the story of why their piece could not be finished. These narratives are then used by the new knitter as inspiration on how to finish the piece.

Claire Norcross has created huge, bespoke and highly-crafted paper lights which reference the geometric structures within nature, using energy saving bulbs at the centre of her design. She is interested in light source being central to the sculptural form of her works. This project extends her work as lighting designer for Habitat and draws on her interest in organic forms, paper and origami.

Ismini Samanidou’s work for this exhibition is a 3m-high walk-through installation inspired by the history of the Jerwood Space building. She is a textile designer and artist working with woven cloth, with specific interest in the ways textiles can exist within an architectural space. Her work is mainly woven on a computerised jacquard loom, and this work was created on a special large-size loom in North Carolina.

The seven makers were selected by an independent panel comprising award-winning designer and environmental researcher Rebecca Earley; product and furniture designer Tomoko Azumi; and exhibitions manager at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery Andy Horn.

Jerwood Contemporary Makers ran from 2008- 2010 and was initiated to encourage new and stimulating ways of showing work across a range of craft disciplines and to support emerging talent. Jerwood Charitable Foundation channelled a total of £328,005 through the programme.

Installation view- Jerwood Contemporary Makers 2009. Image: Sarah Williams