Friday, 7 September 2012

DomesticMATTERS exhibition at Contemporary Applied Arts, London

Although the Alabasta home wares collection is a new venture for me, as a textile designer-maker I've been hand making embroidered scarves and blankets for many years under my 'Asta Barrington' own label. They've sold all over the world from Japan to the USA in prestigious shops such as Barneys New York, Takashimaya and Designers Guild. I make them from start to finish here in Bath, and that involves laboriously stitching cashmere, wool and silk fabric then hand dyeing them so the different textures take on subtle variations. Here's my current website, though it's going to go through a long overdue redesign soon.

I established Alabasta because I wanted to create a more accessible and broad range of home wares with patterns on them that I would never have been able to achieve with my existing textile techniques. The intricate swirling linear and animal forms I design have taken a few years to come together and this change of direction has been a breath of fresh air for me creatively.

The two strands of my work appear unrelated on the surface but they demonstrate that a designer need not be restricted to a single medium. They have the same influences and values: a passion for colour, use of the highest quality materials and a desire for innovation, but are executed in different ways.

Contemporary Applied Arts in central London has been one of the main outlets for my embroidered Asta Barrington products for many years and they always stock a good range of my cashmere and silk scarves. They have a constant programme of interesting exhibitions that showcase the work of their 300 designer maker members and this year I was asked to participate in the DomesticMATTERS exhibition curated by Brian Kennedy and Peter Ting, which is summarised here:
"The basic tenets of Modernism emphasized function and utility; abstract beauty, and sculptural form; honesty in materials and honesty in design; the use of modern materials and technology as well as an emphasis on the use of natural materials, beliefs and ideals that sit comfortably with contemporary craft. DomesticMATTERS explores this common ground and will create the imagined home of a collector of mid century modern furniture and contemporary craft over the gallery and board room spaces at CAA.
 CAA members, working in the furniture area, have designed production pieces for Benchmark, SCP and Heals and it is this body of work that we would like to draw from for this exhibition. By focusing on some of this production work as well as work from a wider range of materials, ceramics, glass, metal, textiles and wood within the exhibition further connections would be made between the concerns and values within modernist design and those of the contemporary designer maker. Placing contemporary craft/design within the broader context of modernist design and focusing on the issues of small and mid scale production for the domestic space during the London Design Festival would open up a timely opportunity to debate these issues." Brian Kennedy 2012
I have the entire Alabasta Folk Stripe collection of Åry trays (including the so-brand-new-I-haven't-had-a-chance-to-mention-them-yet Folk Stripe Woven trays), some Folk Stripe mats from Avenida and one of my hand made wool blankets in a bright cherry red in the show. They hang and sit in happy juxtaposition with products from over 30 other CAA members including some top quality ceramics from the likes of Chris Keenan and Derek Wilson plus some mid century furniture courtesy of the Rocket Gallery:

DomesticMATTERS at CAA, showing my Texture Stripe Target Fringe wool throw in the foreground and Folk Stripe trays on the wall.
Shelves by Tomado from the 1950s with Chris Keenan and Derek Wilson ceramics. Spot the brand new 49cm Folk Stripe Woven tray
Folk Stripe red 38cm tray with Tomado shelves and Derek Wilson ceramics
Andre Cordemeijer desk from 1959 with the new Alabasta Folk Stripe Woven 27x20cm tray and Derek Wilson cup and saucer
Alabasta for Avenida Home Folk Stripe placemats with Lubna Chowdhary storage jars and Jane Cox ceramics
upstairs at the DomesticMatters exhibition at the CAA, London
The new Alabasta Folk Stripe Woven 43x33cm tray cleverly displayed downstairs in the slide viewing area in the CAA Reading Room

The exhibition opened today and is on until Friday 20th October at 2 Percy Street, London W1T 1DD.

Read more about it on the FT How to Spend It website here

Corinne Julius' coverage in the Evening Standard's Homes and Property supplement:

Evening Standard, 12th September 2012

Coverage for this exhibition as part of London Design Festival can also be found in Homes and Antiques magazine's September 2012 issue:

click the image to read at a legible size

No comments:

Post a Comment