A brief guide to Scottish craft exhibitions

If you fancy getting in touch with your creative side, Craft Scotland is a fantastic resource. Whether you want to find an exhibition to attend in your area, or hope to get learn the craft of silversmithing or screen-printing, there are no shortage of options. A few of the current craft exhibitions happening in Scotland are listed below, and they look well worth a visit.
Lab Craft

Digital Adventures in Contemporary Craft is on until the 3 June 2012 at the Barony Centre, Craft Town Scotland, West Kilbride.
Jewellery made from sound waves, table lights created by a 3D printer, and a ceramic pot that can be scanned by an iPhone, all form part of this touring Crafts Council exhibition. Lab Craft features 26 of the most experimental names in craft and design. Traditional craft skills have been combined with cutting-edge digital technologies to create unusual and unfamiliar objects that take a fresh look at how technology can be used by craft makers. The exhibition is curated by design commentator Max Fraser and includes textiles, ceramics, furniture, jewellery, glass and lighting by makers and designers including Tord Boontje, Committee, Michael Eden, Gareth Neal, Nina Tolstrup and Timorous Beasties.

Lab Craft highlights include:

  • Woven Wood by Gary Allson and Ismini Samanidou explores how digital making methods can be used to translate magnified textile weave structures into timber.
  • Bubble jewellery by Lynne Maclachlan mimics delicate bubble and foam structures using a computer and digital generative technique to create forms which are then made tangible using rapid prototyping technology.
  • Shine by Edinburgh-based Geoffrey Mann has been using digital techniques to investigate the reflective properties of a metallic object – in this case a Victorian candelabra. A planar 3D scanner was used to document the reflective information, which was in turn used to create a rapid prototyped form, which has been cast. This piece renders the impossible by encapsulating the beauty of light shining off silver.

Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director, Crafts Council, said: “Lab Craft showcases some of the most innovative contemporary craft being made today, and the exhibition is a great way of exploring and understanding the technologies and methods that connect the digital and the handmade. We are extremely pleased that Lab Craft is finishing its run in the stunning new Barony Centre – a venue that will hopefully herald a new interest in contemporary craft in West Kilbride as part of the Craft Town Scotland project.”

Aberdeen Art Gallery

The gallery is showcasing some of the most prominent figures in the history of British metalworking. Metalwork has played a central role in our lives for centuries, from everyday domestic objects to the ceremonial commissions found in churches and government buildings.

Combining works from the permanent collection and the Goldsmiths’ Company Collection, on loan from London, this exciting new exhibition showcases some of the most prominent figures in the history of British metalworking and explores how they have engaged with this versatile material. Sitting alongside the historic silver in this exhibition is a comprehensive selection of modern and contemporary metalwork by some of the leading makers in Britain such as Gerald Benney, Malcolm Appleby and Chris Knight.
Admission: Free.

Dundee Heritage Trust

To celebrate the 500th anniversary of Dundee’s Weaver Craft, Dundee Heritage Trust is hosting a major exhibition highlighting the importance of weaving to the city’s history. As one of the famous “Nine Trades of Dundee”, the Weaver Craft has always played an important role in the life of the city. The exhibition will form part of a year-long programme of celebrations across Dundee marking this special anniversary. The show will highlight the importance of weaving to the city’s history with themes covered including engineering, training, woven products and the lives of the workers. It will feature a selection of striking framed images from the Trust’s rich historic photograph collection including local factories and mills, weaving machinery and Dundee’s weavers at work.
There will also be showcases of previously unseen objects, photographs and archives from the collections including model looms, wooden patterns used to make the machines, a variety of weaver’s tools and woven jute products including hessian wallpaper and a number of original historic photographs of weaving factories.

Re-Dress

On 5 May, Paxton House, in the Scottish Borders, launched Re-Dress, an exciting new exhibition of fabulous recently conserved 18th century costume, coupled with stunning contemporary fashion, inspired by the collection, from students of the School of Textiles & Design at Heriot-Watt University.

The collection comprises 21 pieces of male clothing ranging in date from the 1740s to 1760s, including coats and waistcoats in sumptuous velvets, luxurious brocade, intricately embroidered silk, woollen broadcloth sewn with silver ‘lacing’, a banyan with matching waistcoat and an elaborately decorated saddle cloth & pair of pistol-holders.

Paxton House, near Berwick-Upon-Tweed, is an 18th century neo-Palladian mansion situated in 80 acres of grounds with riverside walks, an adventure playground, the Stables Restaurant with irresistible home-baked scones and cakes and the Regency Gift Shop..

Kelvingrove Gallery

Kelvingrove Gallery marks the 400th anniversary of glassmaking in Scotland with a unique exhibition of over seventy beautiful glass pieces drawn from Glasgow Museums’ extensive collection. Showcasing works by key manufacturers and artists working in Scotland from the early 18th century to the present day, it includes early bottles, Venetian inspired glass, fine engraved glass and late twentieth century art glass.

3 Harbours Arts Festival

From 2 to 10 June 2012, the 3 Harbours Arts Festival (situated on the shores of the Firth of Forth in the coastal villages of Cockenzie, Port Seton and Prestonpans) features over 100 venues, 100 artists and over 50 events. Packed with art, live music, workshops, murals, trails, literature, photography and drama this festival is not to be missed.

Part of the festival’s appeal is its quirky approach – artwork can be found in unusual locations around the three villages. Follow the popular Art Trail of the “Open Houses” where local resident’s homes are turned into temporary art galleries displaying and selling work by local artists.The open houses are situated along the old historic high street between the villages of Cockenzie and Port Seton.