Sculpture, 'The Ashes Vessel', cotton / polyester / resin, designed and made by Laura Thomas, Cardiff, Wales, 2009
This work was designed and made by Laura Thomas, one of Wales' most innovative textile artists, who won the Arts Council of Wales' commission for a work to celebrate the first Ashes Test held in Wales. Taking place in Cardiff, the Welsh capital, between 8 and 12 July 2009, it was the first time that the famous test match between England and Australia (inaugurated in 1882) was played anywhere other than those two countries.
Thomas' studio is based in Cardiff and she made the prototype for 'The Ashes Vessel' at the time of the test match. It is part of her distinctive 'Resonate' collection in which the artist encapsulates coloured cotton, silk and lurex (golden) threads, or narrow textile lengths woven from them, in acrylic resin to create free-standing sculptural objects and wall panels. This work was made using textile lengths woven on a 24-shaft computer-driven AVL loom.
'The Ashes Vessel' marked a significant development in Thomas' 'Resonate' body of work. Until this piece, all the sculptures and wall-based works made using the encapsulation process had been flat panels and 'blocks'. Inspired by the spin of the bowled cricket ball, this commission gave the artist the opportunity to push the potential of the technique further to create a curved shape. Thomas says: 'There is an obvious analogy between a skilled weaver and spinner and the ability of a highly skilled bowler to perfect and control the amount of spin on the bowled ball. Both also highlight the skill of the hand in tandem with the brain. This led my design ideas to exploring the idea of spins and twists'. (Laura Thomas, Comisiwn Llestr y Lludw, The Ashes Vessel Commission brochure, 2010).
Eva Czernis-Ryl, 2011
This work was was designed and made by Laura Thomas in Cardiff, Wales in 2009.
The twisted woven ribbons were cast in acrylic resin to create a flat panel. The panel was then reheated and formed into the twisted form. Thomas weaves her textiles on her 24 shaft computer-drived AVL loom, which has a maximum weaving width of one metre.
The curve of the panel, created by lifting two corners of the rectangle along the diagonal axis and in tandem with the twisted ribbons, is designed to echo the spin of the bowled cricket ball.