Mary Crabb



As I take down my Christmas cards, I’m re-reading the messages inside. One is from a family friend, who has known me since I was a child. She has followed my progress, attended a workshop and recently my exhibition, Significant Figures: remembrance through making“Our visit to your Exhibition in Chichester was memorable Mary – thank you for sharing such a beautiful piece of your creative work, it was so personal and it was very moving for us too.” Sharing my work is a really important part of what I do. Whether that be through teaching or talking. Giving a talk to a group of people I haven’t met before can be both scary and liberating. I like to give a little of myself, tell some stories about my journey, pose questions about what and how I make. Above all I hope the listener takes something away. It might be that I’ve provided an interesting hour of entertainment, but I hope it’s more than that. I’d like to think that I’ve given ‘food for thought’, some nourishment for the creative brain. To begin with, Significant Figures was a personal project, researching my Grandmother’s boyfriend Cecil. During the course of making I began to make connections with other people making their own WW1 journeys, and it became an act of making and sharing. As part of the Basketry Then & Now project, and through social media, I began to share my work with a wider audience. Then as 2018 approached I realised that unless I exhibited the work, it would probably not get finished, I would not have shared it as a whole, and honoured those I wished to. I was eager that when exhibiting the work, I should explain who the people behind the stories were, why I had made the things I had, as well as how they came about. I have a background in primary teaching and museum education, so interpretation and learning are instinctively part of how I work and think. So, I made the decision to interpret the exhibition with a booklet and to be at the Gallery, in person, every day to meet visitors, talk and answer questions. So post-exhibition the sharing continues, in the form of an illustrated talk. I have been giving talks on My Journey into Basketry and Intertwined: Textile Basketry to interested parties; Guilds of the Weavers, Spinners & Dyers, Embroidery Guilds and independent groups. They are a great way of making my work accessible to those who may not be able to visit an exhibition or attend a workshop. Added to the list of talks is Significant Figures. I usually talk for about an hour, sometimes with a PowerPoint presentation of photographs, but always using objects from the things I bring, to illustrate what I want to say. Sometimes passing the object around the audience. I talk personally about my work, including the processes I’ve worked through to get to the completed object. Finishing with questions! If you’d like to know more about the talks I offer, please visit the Talks page of my website, or get in touch via the Contact page. MAC 01.2019