What Is Textiles?

One of my most enjoyable experiences was working at Edinburgh College of Art, having the opportunity to engage with such a wide variety of talent from a range of different disciplines. As a result I thought I knew the answer to the question ‘What is Textiles?’. How wrong I was. This illuminating exhibition of contemporary textiles pieces challenged, educated and inspired a wider discussion on an art form that is so much more than yarns and looms.

Hosted by the Kalopsia Collective, five artists answered this question with very different approaches. Adam Robertson’s colour coded exploration of literary best sellers found pattern in programming creating a new visual language in a series of block colours on a non repeating fabric wall hanging. His application of the same programme on a cushion piece proved contemporary textile design had as much place in the home as on screen. Louise Weeden’s three dimensional prints and Tim Kloed’s geometric pieces particularly Borscht further explored the potential of where contemporary textile design can be developed. Two pieces by Nina Falk were equally powerful. (Un) Conscious Deformation was a visceral commentary on our obsession with the body beautiful and Wedding Dress was similarly thought provoking with so many stories contained in one piece of clothing. One of the treats of press night was the opportunity to see Rachel Lobban at work on a stunning piece that covered the entire back wall of the Whitespace Gallery. Rachel’s flock of birds were symbolic of the soaring potential of Kalopsia Collective and a worthwhile reminder that the bigger the question, the bigger the answer.

What is Textiles? runs until May 2nd at the WhiteSpace Gallery, 11 Gayfield Sq, Edinburgh.