‘Woven Narratives’ is a collaboration inspired by London Craft Week and created in partnership with Smythson.
Smythson is a British luxury leather goods and stationery brand, founded in 1887 and rooted in a rich heritage and enduring commitment to unrivalled craftsmanship in their products. Gill Wilson and Smythson share regard for the tradition of excellence in craftsmanship.
Gill Wilson has worked in paper since visiting Japan in the 1970s. Her exposure to traditional studios, and papermakers designated as National Treasures, have influenced the entire course of her work.
Gill exclusively uses plant fibre in her work, transforming natural straw into pulp, a versatile medium which can be drawn, poured or lifted onto screens before drying. The thin, dried layers can range from smooth to textured, depending on the required form. Gill uses the medium to create thin yet complex layers which become sculptural as they are built up. Every piece maintains a sense of purity and simplicity, reflecting the natural and sustainable origin of the material.
The exhibition features twelve designs in which Gill references and challenges the common perception of paper being of low value. She highlights paper as the vehicle upon which the riches of the written word, upon which artistic and historical traditions and unfolding narratives have been recorded.
The designs forming this collection are at once minimal in form yet complex in nature. On closer inspection they consist of subtly textured layers, each unique and symbolic of the way narratives, inner thoughts and ideas that layer and weave over time.
Gill Wilson reflects: “When working with Smythson and during the past year it seemed significant to reflect on the unusually quiet periods of time the lockdown afforded. My aim was to depict a group of quiet worlds, where the depths of the pieces are representative of how life can shift one way or another. Our thoughts, alter and nuance according to change or situation. Life is not one-dimensional: things are not simple or flat – they alter according to mood or situation…..”
Gold embellishments and the incorporation of Smythson’s signature Nile Blue paper revealed among the layers, inform these pieces and reference the fruit of woven narratives. We hope that these artworks enable you to pause and reflect on those moments and people in your life that inform and enrich yours.
Our thanks go to Smythson for recognising the potential of a collaboration with Gill as we celebrate the beauty of paper-making and art for London Craft Week.