Cultex designers visit Thomas Parker House

University of Lincoln’s School of Art and Design, based at Thomas Parker House, played host to a flying visit by three international designers this week.

Yuka Kawai from Tokyo, Gabrielle Goransson and Eva Schjolberg from Norway currently have their collaborative exhibit on at the Hub Gallery in Sleaford, running until the 18th April.

The exhibit is called “Cultex: Textile as a Cross Cultural Language”, where the three fibre designers have been working closely with Professor Leslie Millar from the University of Creative Arts.


From left to right: Gabriella Goransson, Yuka Kawai & Eva Schjolberg. The Cultex designers take a tour of University of Lincoln's School of Art and Design.

The exhibition was first opened on 4th April 2009 by Japan’s Ambassador to Norway, H.E Hisao Yamaguchi at Gallery F15, Jeløya. During this matinee exhibition in Norway, it attracted over 5,000 visitors. The exhibit has since come to the UK and will go on to tour Japan in the latter half of 2010 and through into 2011.

Jane Linsmore, the Learning Officer at the Hub has been thrilled by responses to the trio’s visit: “On the private viewing night alone we had some fantastic feedback from members of the public and students. They actually said that this was one of the best exhibitions that we’ve had so far. This is really promising because we’ve held some real corkers in the past, but this one has been hot on feedback.

“We see that our link that we are forging with the university is really starting to help this department, and also the learning department. We aim to support all the schools, colleges and universities in our area. We hope that this will be the start of a really good partnership for us to share our understanding and knowledge,” she said.


A collaborative piece from Norwegians Eva Schjolberg and Gabriella Goransson.

We caught up with the three designers when they visited the third-year Art and Design students at Thomas Parker House:

1. Why this medium? Do you think that it communicates more effectively to a wider range of audience, than say another type of art-form?

Yuka: “Maybe the answer is that you can feel and experience. Seeing is no longer the most dominant factor. We hope that when you go, you can just experience it. You can even walk inside the installations.”

2. How important is it, to you all, that the material that you source for your exhibitions, are eco-friendly?

Yuka: “Very important, actually. We have a project, like this, that we’re working on – a collaborative effort from not only myself but also my department at the Tama Art University where I teach, in Tokyo.

“After the harvest of bananas, usually the stem is abandoned but that is all we are using in the project. We use the extracting fibre, from the West Indies where they come from and make a beautiful yarn, in a wool fabric.

“People in South America too, where a lot of the material comes from, are in poverty. So it’s just the garbage that we used and no other material. We actually got in contact with a few plantations and are looking at a way to teach this technique to the people.

“The uses and functions of the final product are very diverse. It can be used as furnishings and clothing too.”

3. How long does it take to make the pieces that you three are exhibiting at the Hub?

Gabrielle: “We started our collaboration in 2008 but it would be perhaps a year since things have taken off. The technical part and thinking behind this takes the most time. The overall process takes a long time. We had to make everything by hand with no machines.”

4. Why should people come to see your exhibitions at the Hub?

Gabrielle: “Because it is fantastic!”

Senior lecturer at the Lincoln School of Art and Design, Maria Manning added:

“And it is inspiring from the students’ perspectives as well. They are all creative individuals and they can learn a lot from it. There are colours, techniques and all kinds of information that they can learn from.

“It’s not frequent enough that we have an opportunity like this. We are very lucky and pleased that we not only have an internationally acclaimed artist visiting us, but three. We feel very lucky indeed.”


Gabriella Goransson's installation, 'Out of Darkness'.

Eva: “Every exhibition that artists make is a kind of offer. It is an opportunity for other people to experience something. You have to ask yourself after, whether it was worth it and whether or not you can take something away from it.

“It is like something I saw the other day on British TV. It was a Spanish opera singer saying that the emotion that one gets from witnessing an art form, is a lot like that of a snow-globe. Everyday life is represented by the a still globe – the snow, sitting at the bottom and doing nothing. But when you see art, everything gets shaken up! You must go and see for yourself.”

If you want to find out more about the artists, read their project journals or anything about the Cultex: Textile as a Cross Cultural Language exhibition, visit the dedicated website.

One Response to Cultex designers visit Thomas Parker House

  1. The Hub would like to thank the university, staff and students for such a wonderful day! Our hosts were very kind and the artists especially enjoyed the opportunity to meet and view the students work.

    Yuka and Eva commented afterward that meeting students is an aspect of their work they take very seriously as both are highly committed to lifelong learning and knowledge sharing. I hope that this is just the start of many visits and lectures we can arrange for the university.

    Janie Lismore
    Head of Learning
    Hub, National Centre for Craft and Design