Slow Lecture by Helen Carnac

The maker and curator Helen Carnac spoke at Chelsea last week as part of the Inside/Outside project. Helen's practice is - to quote from her website - ‘drawing, mark-making, the explicit connections between material, process and maker and an emphasis on deliberation and reflection are all central to her practice as a maker and thinker.’

Helen spoke of her ideas and concepts for making and craft processes, and how she triggers her thoughts and ideas for making. She sees end products more as resting points in processes (in making and thinking), which is something I found very interesting in terms of my own Slow theories., that I developed in the final year of my BA textile design course here at Chelsea last year.

I feel, as do many others, that rethinking one's work is a vital part of making, and contributes to working in a Slow manner by literally slowing you in your work, forcing you to stop and consider what changes (if any) you should make, and where you go next with your work.

Helen commented further on this by listing possible key words for Slow, in a possible sequence; reveal, reflect, engage, participate, evolve. For her Slow means looking at one, all or some of the following; quality, provenance, lasting value and valuing craft skills. She also used the word tempo, stressing this was another important word for makers and designers to consider.

All of these ideas contribute to the Inside / Outside project and resonate with Burberry’s ideals and Christopher Bailey’s presentation to the students last week. Bailey advised designer's to maintain their own strong personal vision in response to a brief, and Carnac furthers this idea by offering a possible framework for this exploration.

Regarding the Inside / Outside brief, she commented on the statement “We cannot afford cheap things” by saying ‘What is cheap? What if we cannot afford expensive things?’. Talking about the exploration of the history of Millbank she said ‘can we understand what it was to live in another time? How do we understand it today? Is it a false nostalgia?’

To listen to the talk, go here.

By Bridget Harvey

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