I first became aware of Michael Brennand-Wood‘s work first hand at ‘Lost in Lace’ earlier this year. I have since seen many examples of his pieces in textbooks from our reading list. I have also seen his collaborative work with weaver Philip Sanderson (Creative Director at West Dean Tapestry Studio) at COLLECT 2012 and have been lucky enough to speak directly with both Brennand-Wood and Sanderson about the work.
Brennand-Wood is an artist concerned and interested in wood and textiles, and the interplay between two and three dimensions which he explores in his works. He has a strong belief that good textile art comes from a deep understanding of technique and textile history. He has mainly produced pieces that I would describe as three dimensional collages using small machine embroidered samples on straight pins with a wood base. He has looked at floral forms as well as lace, and more recently has produced larger scale collages and tapestries relating to war and conflict. He has also done a number of large scale commissioned installations for various organisations, including Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital in Scotland.
In an interview earlier last year with Diana Woolf, Brennand-Wood talked about the origins of his career as well as his feelings about his art. He describes the rhythms throughout each piece created by use of strong contrasting colours, patterns and an illusion of space. His work can be read on many levels, and he does use the titles of his work to point people in the right direction. He references the history of textiles in all of his work, and has gone through periods focussing on embroidery techniques, pattern development, floral designs, and lace. Technique is hugely important to him, and he had a traditional approach to his work in that he produces all his own work, using computerised embroidery only some of the time. I read his recent pieces about war as being quite anti-war and had a strong emotional response to them. He plays down the anti-war theme, but instead focusses on the euphemism around war and the sadness that comes out of conflict. He started by developing motifs into flags, but has recently moved on to make two medal shaped pieces, one of which is from toy soldiers, cut-outs of planes and woven strips.
I am now feeling rather fantastically lucky as my husband has just bought me this brooch on a display panel!!
Press Release April 2012 – West Dean Tapestry Studio Collaboration with Michael Brennand-Wood for Collect 2012
Cole, D. ‘Textiles Now’, 2008 Laurence King