"A community was created from the Studio Group. The work acted as a focal point, inspiring collaboration, conversation, intimacy and a goal to achieve."
Helder Clara, Artist Studio Group participant
The Studio Group
formed around Brazilian artist Maria Nepomuceno’s Tempo para Respirar (Breathing Time)
, commissioned for Turner Contemporary’s Sunley Gallery in 2012.
Group members responded to a call to artists, makers and anyone else with basic sewing skills to get involved in creating the work.
The group met regularly during the three weeks that Maria Nepomuceno was in Margate; the aim was for them to learn her techniques so that they might create an element to be installed after the initial unveiling of the work in September 2012, following an ongoing series of workshops.
Maria was extremely impressed by both the enthusiasm and skill of the group, and they became deeply involved in the work much more quickly than expected, creating elements of it and participating in its installation in the Sunley Gallery. Maria left the group with a plan for additional elements to be created over subsequent months; and the group took complete ownership of this process, organising workshops to ensure the work was completed and helping to maintain the installation while it was in the gallery and sustaining wear and tear from public interaction.
At a celebratory event
in late November 2012 these new elements were added, completing the work (and also suggesting its possible continual expansion) by extending it beyond the bounds of the Sunley Gallery toward the rest of the lobby space.
In the year since Maria’s project was completed, the Studio Group has continued to meet regularly. They have been working together on their first self-initiated project, the creation of an ambitious textile sculpture through the process of knitting, sewing and knotting to achieve large-scale jellyfish for an installation by Helder Clara, one of the group members who became a leader in the completion of Maria Nepomuceno’s installation after her departure. The group have formed strong bonds among themselves and speak with great enthusiasm about the value of participating to them individually; some have gained new confidence to pursue their own art and craft practices with greater focus and enthusiasm, while others have simply made new friends and deepened their appreciation for art and for Turner Contemporary. Many have learned new skills (sewing, beading and knitting) and they are keen to continue working and learning together.
The group is now contemplating where and how they would like to exhibit this project, and which other projects they might to take on once it is finished. They remain committed to working together to help artists create their work, whether that is the work of one artist in the group or someone external to it. They will soon be embarking on a process to commission a second international artist, who will work with them to create a major installation to appear in the Sunley Gallery in early 2016.
"The studio group brought together the local community. Through giving our time
and affection we achieved an international project."
Heidi Plant, Artist Studio Group participant