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WOOD: Art & Design at Messums

WOOD: Art & Design at Messums

Vessels from Eleanor Lake, photo by Jeremy Johns

We are so looking forward to the upcoming MATERIAL: WOOD Art & Design exhibition at Messums Wiltshire (8 August – 9  September) which promises to be its most exciting yet.

Messums Wiltshire has always championed the artisan and handmade and this three part show, comprised of an exhibition, festival and hands-on making experience would seem to be the perfect fit.

In an age where our outlook is largely shaped by digital media, WOOD upholds the contention that it is art which binds people to people, not objects.

The scope for an exhibition of this kind is enormous and the cathedral like space at Messums is ideally suited to showcasing a mix of craft, design, sculpture and painting. 

Artists and makers including Thomas Heatherwick, Gareth Neal, Chris Eckersley, Richard Woods and Alistair Mackie lead a survey of contemporary making practises in wood, with an emphasis on chair design. Henry Brudenell Bruce’s colossal outdoor chair which recently showed on Dartmoor, epitomises the spirit of this show.


Above Alastair Mackie

Johnny Messum says: ‘Since opening in 2016 with a remit to support and encourage creative process and thought across artistic genres, Messums Wiltshire has been a platform for a wide variety of art forms from contemporary dance to clay and ceramics. None have been more fitting to our wooden building than the connection to the makers and builders in wood.’

To emphasise the point, this exhibition comes with a range of talks and workshops led by some of the best known practitioners working today. 

Flicking through the listing of events there is so much to love here.

There's a workshop on chairmaking with Chris Eckersley (9-11 Aug, £385) where you will be guided through the making of your own chair out of ash. Described by Eckersley as ‘slow chairs’ you’ll experience at first hand traditional construction methods and take your work of art home with you.

We’re definitely signing up for the talk This Girl Makes with Hattie Speed on 15 August. Hattie is a young designer maker with a love for natural materials and she will also be running children’s workshops on stool making (16 and 17 Aug).

Another talk we’ll be attending is ‘The Story Boat’ with Gail McGarva. Gail retrained as a boat builder at 39, specialising in building exquisite replicas of traditional clinker boats.

Renowned local cabinet maker Dom Parish holds a 2 hour workshop for over 8s learning how to make his iconic flying propeller.

Find details about the new show with its opening night next Saturday 11 August  (Messums throws an excellent party) here https://messumswiltshire.com/material-wood-art-design/
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