Last week I visited the city of Cork in Ireland as I had been invited to give the opening paper at the symposium MAKE on 7th March, organised by CIT Crawford College of Art and Design. The theme of the symposium was "our relationship to objects, to making, and our awareness through touch of our world of matter". The breadth of topics covered was extremely interesting. My paper 'Touching to Know, Knowing to Touch' was concerned with the significance of textural experience, and the closing speaker, the textile artist Alice Kettle, discussed the emotional impact of stitch and its transformative power. In between our two papers the symposium covered: the point in space or time where humans interact with a computation device; ceramics and augmented reality; assisted living technologies in healthcare; open source technology and video game aesthetics.
Immediately after the symposium we moved over to the CIT Wandesford Quay Gallery for the opening of the exhibition 'Things/Daiktai', which I had been invited to 'formally' Open. This was a collaborative project between students at Crawford College of Art and Design and those at Kaunas Art Institute of Vilnius Academy of Arts Lithuania. The students had been asked to consider the "fabric of unregarded things" and through this explore different cultures and meanings around the objects. As I had worked with Lithuanian textile artists between 2006-08 on my project 'Cloth & Culture Now', I anticipated exciting and challenging work, and was proved right, however I did not know the work of the young Irish artists until visiting this exhibition and I was totally delighted to see the quality of their work (really excited by the work of Monika Beniulyte from Kaunus and Derek O'Meara from Cork). The exhibition demonstrates, yet again, the variety and depth of investigation available through textiles, and in its installation achieved an exceptional level of professionalism. It runs until 12th April and I very much recommend it.
The welcome from everyone involved in the symposium and exhibition was warm and generous - thank you, and particular congratulations to Pamela Hardesty who had organised both events.