WHAT I DO/CV
Helen Carnac is a maker, curator and academic who lives and works in London. 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.
‘I run an environmentally grounded practice, developing projects using design methodologies that are rooted in an acute awareness of physical location, place and working practices. The populated environment is of key importance to me and through my practice and projects I aim to bring people together, creating social and creative engagement and collaboration in an open-ended design process.
My early education was in making, I developed a curiosity about how things are made and how making is a form of thinking. My ongoing concerns are process-based, which means that often, if there is an outcome, it is an event rather than a product, a resting point rather than an end point. My understanding of ‘stuff’ or ‘things’ is fundamental to how I work and see the world and in my view there is a clear differentiation between understanding things and objects, how they may act as metaphorical devices and the wanton proliferation of products.
I often work in interdisciplinary environments and am currently working with various designers and artists on projects, including a DJ, textile artists, scientists, fine artists, choreographers, a performance artist, furniture designer and silversmith.
Since 2007 I have run the project ‘Making a Slow Revolution’ which aims to provide a forum for open discussion around the contribution of contemporary making and design to some of the philosophies presented within the Slow Movement. With particular development in thinking about place, provenance, co-design, relational methodologies, collaboration, gestational and layered time of processes, waste streams and walking, upcycling, mutability of life cycle and dialogue and conversation. I have travelled extensively to talk about the project and to contribute to developing thinking around it.
I have developed my own philosophies for thinking about these things through walking, talking and making by using an understanding/awareness of place through tracing the histories of making, industries past and present of a particular place and by collecting the detritus of place, something akin to an ethnographic study may be considered’
Research interests include
Process and ways of working; making and curating; drawing as an intellectual act, especially in relation to non-verbal discourse; exploration of industrial vitreous enamel and processes on steel plates and found objects; sustainability, ethics and values within design in the global context. Developing interdisciplinary networks between makers, academics, writers and curators. Using walking and collecting as a conceptual framework to understand place.
Redruth, Cornwall, UK
A sample of current and Recent Projects
The tool at Hand
Milwaukee Art Museum: Dec 2011 – April 2012 and touring
Slow Summit July 2011, London
Culmination of Slow Revolution project with outcome of published book, a collaboration with Rebecca Earley.
April – July 2011 Guest Professor Kunsthochschule Weissensee, Berlin
An exchange and collaboration between a shifting group of makers, designers, musicians and writers. The next project will take place at The Institute of Making, Kings College< London, Nov 2011.
A book of stories without objects with essays by Dr Linda Sandino and Intelligent Trouble. Publish date 2011
Seattle Metal Guilds.
2011 symposium in October.
Sint Lucas, Antwerp: ‘Marking Place’ Feb/March 2011
By using Antwerp as a point of reference and by mapping a particular journey, through writing, drawing, mark making, photography, collecting objects, charting local industries, the material of the place, its history and stories we will build a repository of making and thinking. These findings will be sifted, arranged and curated into a public presentation.
An Exchange with DJ and Curator David Littler
An ongoing collaboration with Russell Martin and Paul Harper
1994 – present Artist, curator, independent academic and writer: I work from my studio in South London making work and developing projects. My aim is to work independently but in collaboration with academics and artists from different fields.
2011 - Visiting Lecturer Middlesex University, London
April – July 2011 Guest Professor Kunsthochschule Weissensee, Berlin
Sept 2006 – 2009 London Metropolitan University. Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design Senior Lecturer, working at BA and MA level across Product Design and Applied Arts, Silversmithing and Jewellery.
Sept 2002- 2006 London Metropolitan University. Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design Research and Employability Manager and Animateur.
Jan 2001- July 2002 Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication Lead Tutor Foundation: 3D Design – Product, furniture, Jewellery, constructed textiles, interiors, set design, industrial design.
Sept 1999-2002 London Guildhall University. Visiting lecturer: BA Silversmithing, Jewellery and Allied Crafts
2011 Sint Lucas, Antwerp: ‘Marking Place: understanding environment through journeys and collecting’
California College of the Arts, San Francisco, USA
Camberwell College of Art and Design, London
2010 Pratt Fine Arts, Seattle, USA
Strelka Post Graduate School for Architecture and Design, Moscow
QUICK and SLOW: Time is in your hands
Penland School of Arts, North Carolina, USA
2008 University of East Carolina, North Carolina, USA
2007 Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA
University of East Carolina, North Carolina, USA
Millersville University, Pennsylvania, USA
2003 – present Enamel Research Centre, University of West of England, Bristol
2010 Accredited professional coach, CLP and Relational Dynamics
1994 BA (Hons) Silversmithing, Jewellery and Allied Craft, London Guildhall University
1993 Fachhochschule fur Gestaltung, Schwabisch Gmund, Germany
1990 B.T.E.C HND Design Crafts, Plymouth College of Art & Design.
1988 Art Foundation, Newport College of Art and Design
2010 Curator Under the Counter: Jewellery in Conversation. Smiths Row Gallery
2010 Curator online exhibition for Alias: Making, unmaking, repair and repetition
2010 Curator for inaugural Craft Rally, London commissioned by Artquest and Crafts Council
2007 – 2012 Curator of National touring exhibition ‘Taking Time: Craft and the Slow Revolution’ www.makingaslowrevolution.wordpress.com
2005 – 2007 Curator: Process Works exhibition, beginning at University of Hertfordshire.
Feb 2000- present Dialogue – Co-Instigator, curator and participant in Dialogue: a series of projects, exchange of ideas and exhibitions
Selected writing and Consultancy
2012 A shared View: Stitching together ideas in time: a project in Berlin
2011 ‘Collaboration through Craft’ To be published on Berg 2013
2010 ‘Into the Unknown’
A reflection on fellowship in Cultural Leadership in the Arts
(To be published by CLP 2011)
2010 ‘Making Time’
‘Studio; Craft and Design in Canada’, Fall/Winter 2010, pp38-42
2010 ‘House of Words’
Journal of Modern Craft: Exhibition Review Volume 3, Number 2, July 2010 , pp. 253-256(4)
2010 ‘Stitching it together in time’
Essay Contribution to Upcycling Textiles: Adding Value through Design
2009 ‘Handmade is favourite’
Paratus Communication: Consultancy and written report on Handmade to support International press campaign
Seminar, Conference and Academic Development
2010: Craft Rally, London and Sheffield for Artquest, Commissioned by UK Crafts Council
2009: Slow panel discussion, Southbank Centre debate as part of curatorial development of Taking Time; Craft and the Slow Revolution, Royal Festival Hall, London for Slow Down London
2007: Carry the Can seminar, The Women’s Library, London
Process Works Seminar, The Language of Making, The Women’s Library, London
Dialogue, A walk and talk about collections. Starting point Collect at the V&A, London
2006: Association for Contemporary Jewellery Conference, Director and Co-chair of steering committee
Victoria and Albert Museum: Seminar to introduce ‘Carry the Can’
2005 Chair: Jerwood Debates, London Metropolitan University, A series of debates focussing on the future of metal in association to Jerwood Prize for Metal
2003 ‘Creating a Happy Living’, Professional development seminars for students
HEIM (Honour, Ethics, Integrity and Morality), London, Forum fur Schmuck exhibition, Bei
2009 Rotasa Foundation, California, USA
2005 Racine Art Museum, Wisconsin, USA
2011 – Fellow Royal Society of the Arts
2011 - Board Member, Artquest, University of the Arts, London
2011 – Membership Committee, Art Jewelry Forum, USA
2010 Invited participant: ACC USA Why Craft Now?
2009 Haystack Mountain School, Maine, USA, invited participant O Brave New World: Looking at Time, Making, and Creativity
2009 Contributed to SLOWLAB development, London, ICA
2008/9 Peer reviewer for ‘Constructing the Applied Arts: Past Visions – Future Possibilities’ Plymouth College of Art and Design
2002 Director of the ‘Carry the Can’ project, an ongoing project that provides a forum for the discussion of ethical issues that concern contemporary making and material practices in the UK and internationally. www.carrythecan.org
2010 Chair: Crafts Council Craft Rally, Millennium Gallery, Sheffield UK
Co-Chair: Craft Rally, Chelsea College of Art
Chair: Stroud Textile Festival Conference on Slow Textiles
2009 Chair for strand ‘Making Futures’ conference on Sustainability, PCAD UK
2006 Chair: Carry the Can, The Brewery, London www.carrythecan.org
Mentoring and External Examining
2008/9 Mentor for Contemporary Fellowship Scheme
2010 – 2013 External Examiner: University of Brighton
2007 – 2010 External Examiner, Contemporary Crafts, University College Falmouth
2005 – 2010 External Examiner, BA Crafts, Staffordshire University, Dept of Art, Media & Design
Selected Artist Talks
2011 Jerwood Foundation in Conversation with Choreographer Siobhan Davies
Cubitt Arts with Tim Ingold
Museum of Science and Technology, Seattle, USA
Haus der Kulteren der Welt, Berlin
St Lucas, Antwerp Marking Place: collecting, curating, sifting ideas.
California College of the Arts, San Francisco
2010 Chelsea College of Art: Slow Design, The Burberry project
Strelka, Moscow: The Diversity of One Design Practice
Stroud International Textiles
Saatchi Gallery London
Metropolitan Works, London
2009 Central St Martins/Camberwell College HYP 3 Research Group, London
Royal Festival Hall, Southbank, Slow Revolution
2008 ALIAS, Devon, UK
Velvet da Vinci, USA
2007 Staffordshire University, Guest Critic
The Women’s Library, London and University of Herts: Process Works
2006 The Brewery, London, Carry the Can
South West Arts, ALIAS, ‘The Poetics of Making’
2005 Dartington Hall, ‘Talking about Talking’ Commissioned by ALIAS.
Whitechapel Art Gallery ‘Navigating the London Art Scene’
2005 Collaborative commission with David Gates: Permanent installation of Furniture with enamel for Bilston Craft Gallery: Wolverhampton City Art Galleries
Lead Artist, Artquest, London: Forum project: lead debate
2009/10 Cultural Leadership Partners: Artist Leadership Development Fellowship
2008 Innovation in enamelling, UK
Third prize Juried exhibition, Metal Inclinations, USA
1996 Winner Carroll Foundation Award
Selected Index, Crafts Council
Membership, Contemporary Applied Arts
1995 Runner-up Carroll Foundation Award
Setting Up Grant, Crafts Council
Recent peer review and critical writing
ArtPulse Fall 2010 USA
‘The Journal of Modern Craft’, vol3 no.3 Nov. 2010 pp373-5. Exhibition review, Taking Time; Craft and the Slow Revolution.
‘Perspectives’, Sept. 2010, pp60-62 ‘Playing With Time’
Crafts Magazine 2010
FibreArts Sept/Oct 2010 Volume 37 No 2 Review Taking Time by Jessica Hemmings
Works Published In
Taking Time: Craft and the Slow Revolution ISBN-10: 0952683296
ISBN-13: 978-0952683292, ‘The Compendium Finale of Contemporary Jewellers’, LIM, A. Darling Publications, Germany ISBN: 978-3-939130-95-6, 500 Enameled Objects, Lark Books, 2009, Enamel Experience’ UWE, 2007, ISBN 978-1-906501-00-6, Process Works 5 Jewellers, Jan 2007, Site Projects, ISBN 13 978—0-9554379-1-5, Diaspora Cymreig, Makers of welsh origin working outside of Wales: 2002 ISBN-10: 1900941503, ISBN-13: 978-1900941501, Form: Wales Art International by Ceri Jones (Editor)ISBN-10: 0954513029 ISBN-13: 978-0954513023 2003
2012 Drawing, Permanence and Place, Kulturhaus Kroenbacken, Erfurt, Germany
2011 Drawing, Permanence, Place, Kunstverein, Coburg. Catalogued and touringThe tool at Hand, Milwaukee Art Museum and Touring
Installation 91ft 5” Institute of Making, Kings College, London
Drawing, Permanence, Place, Kunstverein, Coburg. Catalogued and touring
SOFA New York
Collect, Saatchi Gallery, London
Host, Velvet da Vinci, CA, USA
2010 Under The Counter, Smiths Row Gallery
SOFA, New York, represented by CAA
Collect, Saatchi Gallery, London
Intelligent Trouble, CAA, London
2009 In Transit…84GHz, Munich
Collect, Saatchi Gallery, London
Inner Voice: Curated by Dorothy Hogg, CAA, London
Cluster, Installation at Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco
Metal Exhibition, Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh
2008 In response to…84GHz, Munich
Elizabeth Turrell and Helen Carnac, University of East Carolina
Playing With Fire, Juried Exhibition, Devon Guild of Craftsmen Catalogued and touring
Collect at the V&A, London, represented by Contemporary Applied Arts
2007 Process Works, 5 Jewellers: University of Hertfordshire Galleries Catalogued and touring
Badges, Museum der Arbeit, Hamburg Catalogued and touring USA
Anti War Medals, Gallery I/O, Thomas Mann, New Orleans.
Collect at the V&A
2006 Collect at the V&A
2004 Anti War Medals exhibition, Curated by Velvet Da Vinci, Touring: Electrum, London Norway and USA
Solo: Open Eye, Edinburgh
2003 Celebrating Education, Contemporary Applied Arts, London
David Gates and Helen Carnac, Flow, London
2002 Diaspora Cymreig, Ruthin Gallery: touring and catalogue
2001/2002 Home Sweet Home, group show, curated by Lesley Jackson for the British Council catalogued and touring
2000 Contemporary British Silver: A Crafts Council Touring Exhibition catalogued
Contemporary British Silver: Gallery Marzee, Netherlands
1999 Heim und Handwerk, Munich
1996 Living at Belsay: Belsay Hall