Innovation and experiment at forefront of contemporary textiles show

Ronnie Martin, left and Jo Kinross installing works for the Changing Threads - Contemporary Fibre Art Awards at the ...
Marion van Dijk

Ronnie Martin, left and Jo Kinross installing works for the Changing Threads - Contemporary Fibre Art Awards at the Refinery Artspace.

After seven years, organisers are still "blown-away" when unpacking and doing the final selection of works for Changing Threads - Contemporary Fibre Art Awards. Judith Ritchie takes a look.

This year's Changing Threads show has firmly cemented the awards event as a leader in contemporary textiles, with artists from around the country pushing materials and techniques into new and interesting realms.

New technologies, tradtional textile mediums and tehniques, sit alongside experimention, resulting in a show full of visual surprises. Selection into the show has becoming more rigorous each year, based on hard copy photographs of works. Once all 46 works are unpacked, selectors will take a final look at each work first hand, scrutinising every last detail. 

Guest judge this year is comtemporary painter, David Ryan, who brings a different perspective on textiles from the more conceptual level in his art practice. Selectors, Lloyd Harwood, Jo Kinross and Ronnie Martin, have been challenged and surprised by what they've unpacked.

"It's getting more contemporary and higher quality each year; artists have really stretched themselves" says Martin. "That's what we've been aiming for, beautifully executed work with a strong conceptual basis."

As the show has grown, so has it's reputatuion as a laeding contemporary textiles event in the New Zealand arts calendar.

"Just having a piece in the show is prestigious,' says Harwood. "People just want to be in the show, since selection is of such a high standard."

Works have materials as diverse as peat moss from Finland, woven tuku tuku, airbrushing on fabric, to plastic danger tape shaped into flowers, with many techniques exploring new methods of making.

During the time of the exhibition, Martin and Kinross are offering hands on workshops, ranging from eco colour and natural dying to mark making and stitching. Martin will hold her workshops in the newly refabricated studio at the Refinery, which opens out onto the enclosed courtyard area.

"It's wonderful to have this space in such a convenient loaction, both to the exhibition next door, as well as local galleries and food outlets," says Martin.

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Changing Threads - Contemporary Fibre Art Awards, Refinery Artspace, 3 Halifax St, Nelson, opens Friday May 15, 5.30pm, all welcome, to June 6. Creative Journeys workshop information: www.creativejourneys.co.nz.

 - Stuff

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