30th September to 5th November 2023
South Hill Park, Bracknell, RG12 7PA
2023 marked 50 years since South Hill Park became an arts centre. Members of Consuo responded to various aspects of the centre - the buildings, grounds, activities, people, history, events - to create an exhibition which was part of the celebration of this anniversary.
Curator: Loucia Manopoulou
Foreword by Professor Lesley Millar
Throughout our lives we maintain a continuous relationship with cloth; it is the witness to, and record of, our lives. Performing such a role, textiles are a perfect medium through which to reflect on South Hill Park, the building and its history. And so it is with this exhibition.
However, this exhibition is also a celebration of MA Textiles at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) Farnham. Textile excellence and Farnham School of Art, now UCA, have been synonymous since Ella McLeod took on the role of Head of Textiles in 1949. She had been a student of Elizabeth Peacock, who in turn had been a student of Ethel Mairet, thus establishing the foundational value of continuum of practice. Those pioneering principles of innovation embedded in technical knowledge and material understanding have been sustained to this day. In 2007 the MA in Textiles at UCA Farnham began to encourage students to explore how they could use their finely honed skills to engage with other possibilities alongside the strictly functional. These included the use of cloth to articulate space and to materialise the stories of place, both so central to this exhibition. The mantra is always: if you know how and why anything/everything is possible. Over the years since 2007, the MA Textiles students at Farnham have produced exceptional work, which in many cases led to highly successful PhD’s.
One of the dictionary definitions of the word consuo is ‘to sew together’. Here, in ‘Reflections of South Hill Park’, the Consuo Group has ‘sewn together’ work from some of the final MA Textiles Farnham graduates, showcasing the diversity of techniques, materials and narratives. Each approach is personal to the artist, but all demonstrate that commitment to material and technical excellence that has been the hallmark of Farnham textile graduates at all levels and at all times.
Lesley Millar MBE
Professor Emerita of Textile Culture
University for the Creative Arts
Consuo Textile Art welcomed Frances Geesin as their first guest artist.