Craftspace Curates: Exploring craft in an expanded field.
Images (left to right, top to bottom): Kiln House, The Suitcase Foundry (detail), The Suitcase Foundry, Market Factory
Will Shannon: The Closet Craftsman
14 February – 19 April 2015
Part of the Craftspace Curates season at mac birmingham, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, B12 9QH
In February 2015 we launched a new season of events and exhibitions at mac birmingham. The season explores the theme of craft in an expanded field and launched with ‘The Closet Craftsman’, an exhibition of work by Will Shannon including a new specially commission work called Market Factory.
Will Shannon combines the role of designer, maker, manufacturer and architect. His work addresses themes of sustainable production and provokes us to think about how, where and why things are made. For each new work he invents a fictional tradesman and creates a portable workspace and tools for the character to use in their trade. Previous work has included ‘Kiln House’ for the Jerwood Makers Open exhibition where he created a fictional tradesman, a potter, and designed a mobile workshop which was capable of producing pottery, including the tiles used on the workshop roof, from local clay. This workshop was one of six included in the new exhibition.
Here is Will’s description of one of his work spaces, Kiln House.
Kiln House was commissioned for the 2012 Jerwood Makers Open exhibition. It is a workshop for an inner city potter. The potter’s raw material is clay sourced from under London streets and his wares form an integral part of the architecture he inhabits. The small workspace houses pottery tools and a gas fired kiln, it is fully equipped to process local raw clays into utilitarian wares.
Paying homage to the notion of the pioneer potter this amateur craftsman has shaped his workplace from the ground up. He explores what local means when living and working in the city. Sourcing clay from basement extensions and building site groundworks his raw material is a genuine bi-product of inner city development. He imagines how his growing craft skill could furnish homes with domestic wares sourced and made locally. In parallel to his burgeoning trade excess clay and kiln space is utilised to produce simple tiles to slowly weather proof his workplace.
Inside Kiln House are examples of London clay pots. A simple press molded collection intended to promote an open source, democratic approach to craft, inspiring the potter in all of us.
The Craftspace Curates season, in partnership with mac Birmingham, continues until spring 2016 and will encourage audiences to consider the role of craft and the maker in society through a series of commissions and events which include live performance, film, digital media and public art.
The free exhibition ran from 14 February until 19 April 2015 in the main gallery at mac Birmingham and included the opportunity to buy a limited edition chair produced by Will Shannon.
Will Shannon www.willshannon.co.uk
Curation And Partners
First opened in 1962, mac birmingham is a pioneering arts complex for everyone. Their mission; to make art an important part of people’s lives.