A Darker Thread: Laura Thomas

Loose Threads: Glimpse

Silk, cotton and Lurex cast in acrylic resin

 

“Laura Thomas is an award winning woven textile artist and designer specializing in producing striking textile artworks for contemporary spaces.  Laura’s breadth of practice and multi-faceted approach has made her somewhat unusual in the woven textiles sphere.  Whether it be site-specific art, exhibition work or interior textile design, underpinning all of Laura’s work is an inherent practical curiosity to exploit weave principles, celebrate the beauty of yarns and create striking aesthetics for this ancient craft.

Laura is particularly well known for her ‘Resonate’ body of work, whereby delicate textile constructions are cast in acrylic resin resulting in a surprising juxtaposition between the hard edged acrylic and loose threads or openly woven cloth.

The new artworks created for ‘A Darker Thread’, were made in response to the current political climate.  The ‘Loose Threads’ sculptures aim to capture the unwoven warp threads stretched taut on a loom – an analogy for time standing still and a fleeting glimpse at what the future might hold.  Each one of the three sculptures offer a narrow flash of red, blue or yellow threads through black silk and cotton yarns; the essential primary colours not entirely obscured by darkness.”

 

Born and brought up in Pembrokeshire, Laura Thomas studied woven textiles in the University of Central England, The Royal College of Art, and then on to become one of the founding Fellows of The Ann Sutton Foundation, a weave design research centre in Sussex.

Since completing her Fellowship in 2003, Laura established her textile art and design studio in South Wales, and has been dividing her time between public and private art commissions, exhibition work, curation, technical research and freelance design consultancy.  Laura is also a lecturer on the BA Textiles: knit, weave & mixed media course in The Carmarthen School of Art, Coleg Sir Gâr.

Laura’s breadth of practice and multi-faceted approach has made her somewhat unusual in the woven textiles sphere.  Whether it be site-specific art, exhibition work or interior textile design, underpinning all of Laura’s work is an inherent practical curiosity to exploit weave principles, celebrate the beauty of yarns and create striking aesthetics for this ancient craft.

Laura has received many notable awards for her practice including a Creative Wales Ambassador Award from the Arts Council of Wales. In 2011 Laura was a finalist in the Inspire Wales Awards in recognition for both her practice, education work and involvement with organisations such as the Makers Guild in Wales to raise the profile of craft. In 2008 Laura won the Applied Arts prize in the Welsh Artist of the Year competition for a ‘Loose Threads’ sculpture and the Wesley Barrell Craft Award for Textiles. She has work in several public collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, The National Wool Museum, the Powerhouse Museum in Australia and the Crafts Study Centre.

Recent public art commissions have included: The Beaney House of Knowledge in Canterbury, Cynon Valley Hospital in Mountain Ash and the new Fairmont Hotel in Mecca.

Working alongside Oriel Myrddin Gallery, Laura developed, selected and curated ‘warp+weft’, an exhibition of international contemporary weaving in 2010 which toured to other venues in Wales and England. Other curatorial projects have included: 2015 ‘Connecting Threads’ Tenby Museum, Pembrokeshire; 2013 ‘Utility’ Craft in the Bay, Cardiff;  2011‘Resonant Colour’ Llantarnam Grange, Cwmbran, Wales;  2010 warp+weft: from handloom to production, National Wool Museum; 2010 ‘Exposed: textiles in the open’, Fibre Art Wales at the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

Laura has exhibited widely nationally and internationally exhibitions have included: 2017 Grassi Messe, Leipzig, Germany; 2016 15th Tapestry Triennial, Lodz, Poland; 2012  Retro / Prospective, Brown Grotta Arts, USA; 2012-14 Beauty is the first test: Contemporary Craft & Mathematics, Pumphouse Gallery, London, then on tour to 7 further venues around the UK; 2010 – 2011  Inspired by Albers, Ruthin Craft Centre & Dovecot Studio Gallery; 2009 Sara Preisler Gallery, Custard Factory, Birmingham; 2009 ‘Better than Grey: a serious consideration of colour’ group show, Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery; 2009 ‘Fibre Voices’ Fibre Art Wales ten year anniversary touring group show, Llantarnam Grange, Cwmbran & The Ucheldre, Holyhead; 2006  ‘Penelope’s Thread’ Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London;  2006 ‘Inspired by Architecture’, group exhibition, Lesley Craze Gallery, London.

Laura is part of a forthcoming artist residency in India, leading to new exhibition work which will be shown in 2018 at Ruthin Craft Centre, National Wool Museum and in India.

 

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