Meet Lloyd Harwood, painter, manager of Arts Council Nelson, and mentor extraordinaire; he paused especially for this blog.
Although he thought I had about the average number of people come and look at the Exhibit(ion), we both experienced the strange phenomenon of repeatedly being asked where the Exhibit(ion) is. Lloyd thought this was due to the perception that handwoven shawls are not something shown in an art gallery; in addition, I thought the small number of shawls lead people to think there was a bigger gallery "room" elsewhere.
We agreed this perception was the big stumbling block, (see also the February 12 post), in generating more interests or sale; whereas jewelry and pottery/ceramics have successfully made the transition into what he calls "studio" work, handweaving is still stuck in grandmother's spare room; handwoven cloth is not something one goes to see in an art gallery, but in a souvenir/craft shop. And the cloth themselves are not delicate textiles that can be worn and collected, but functional garments to be worn for a while and then be recycled as a dog blanket.
One of the suggestions he had, if I were to have another Exhibit(ion), was to generate a public discussion (possibly in the arts pages of the newspaper) as to how the art of handweaving in evolving, and following it up with an Exhibit(ion) so as to show what we have claimed. And to give credence to the discussion, he thought I could apply for funding to invite weavers successfully working with new/advanced techniques, and ask them to give floor talks or slide presentation, as well as have their work in the Exhibit(ion).
Brilliant! I don't know the practical steps I need to talk to realize this, but it sounds so exciting I'm seriously thinking about another Exhibit(ion)... in a couple of years.
Post Script: I chose to use the word "shawl", because, to me, it sounds elegant, fine and dressed-up. I was talking to Sue, and she thought the word sounds grandmotherly. What I weave is usually called "wraps" in New Zealand, a word which, to me, sounds more casual and the cloth coarser. I've heard "stole" as well, but to me, this is very grandmotherly, knitted or crocheted. What would you call the large-ish rectangular piece of cloth you could wear in the cold or in the evenings, but is rather fine and you might want to have them in a few different colors?