Le Voyage of Nantes - the secrets of cultural revitalisation

This month we at SCIN are really looking forward to attending the “Creative Jam in the City” event at the Biscuit Building on the 22nd October.

If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if a city were to be given over to artists and the impact that would have both economically and culturally, then this is most certainly the event for you.

Cultural arts instigator Jean Blaise will be show casing his approach to Le Voyage a Nantes - an arts project that has gradually transformed Nantes from declining port city to a national arts destination and beyond a true story of cultural renaissance.



Le Voyage a Nantes has created an arts trail round the city transforming public space, the city’s relationship with its river, and the way both are viewed, creating thought provoking experiences and installations; from semi submerged sea monsters rising from the river,  to amorphous shapeless cafes, giant tape measures to the planned launch of a river ferry designed by Thomas Heatherwick in 2017/ 2018.

Cultural impresario Jean Blaise will be introducing his approach, demonstrated with playful artworks, supported by artist Jean Jullien, and musicians Kokomo. And it could hardly be a French arts event without a glass of wine and a selection of wonderful wine and cheese from the Nantes region. So come visit, chat, learn, drink – vive l”arts!


http://en.nantes-tourisme.com/rsvp - to register

Wednesday 22nd October  6.15pm

Mother, Biscuit Building, 10 Redchurch Street, London, E2DD


Snake skin by Huang Yong Ping 75ft, exhibited in HAB Gallery Nantes  Huang Yong Ping also made the sea serpent for Estuaire on the beach at St Brévin

Snake skin by Huang Yong Ping 75ft, exhibited in HAB Gallery Nantes 

Huang Yong Ping also made the sea serpent for Estuaire on the beach at St Brévin

Human Play

The latest ground floor exhibition at SCIN Gallery. To find out more and for a quick introduction to what's on display, please watch the video below. 

The consensus amongst those that believe they are truly grown up is that they joy of play ends when we leave our childhood behind. Those that do get pleasure from engaging in anything playful are considered puerile, childish, immature or simply odd. 

But stimulation and engagement does us the world of good. We can forget stress, look at things anew, be creative, reconnect to simple pleasure. 

We at SCIN haven't forgotten how to play. It is our curiosity that helps us to seek out new materials and re-engage with old ones. So as a way of introducing you back to play. We invite you to step on materials, prod and poke them squirt and squeeze them and watch what happens as they change their shape colour and texture.


Terrible Textiles

Is it just me – but either sustainable materials becoming ever more grotesque or our boundaries are widening in search of new sources of sustainable innovation. From snail poo plastics to crab meet derivative fabrics – the world of innovation never sleeps and never seems to feel too queasy. So what’s new on the terrible textiles menu board? 


Crabyon – fabrics made from crabs.

Made of a blend of viscose and chitosan – a derivative of crab shells and by product of the shell food industry. After cellulose chitosan is also the second most naturally produced material. Being very similar to cellulose is the secret to its great potential – as it blends with both cotton and viscose easily. Added to which it takes colour dye well and has an antibacterial and antimicrobic qualities which means that not only does it repel bacteria it also doesn’t smell of crab, or contain any of its allergic properties – making it great for sustainable odour free clothing. 




Golden orb Spider silk

If spiders and webs give you the chills then perhaps this silk will make you think again about their ingenuity and wonder. Whilst using spider silk isn’t  a new invention – first used to weave clothes for Louis XVI in 1709. It has been revived to create this spectacular golden cape by designers Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley, plus a team of 80 specially trained spider handlers. Each morning the handlers would comb the wilds of Madagascar handling and extracting between 30 to 50 meters of silk thread from the Golden Orb Spiders before replacing them into their environments – much more considerate than the boiling of Mulberry moths for extraction conventional silk from their cocoons. The silk was then taken to local weaving houses which put the thread onto weaving cones used to create this appliqué embroidered cape. It is both magical and stunning in its story and aesthetic.



Snail poo flooring

As you do, Dutch designer Lieske Schreuder has been experimenting with snails -not simply racing or eating with them, but feeding them coloured papers. Her snail’s bodies process the coloured paper, but reject the pigments- so loading their feces with strands of colour. She then processes the collected strands of feces in a unique machine that she designed and built to grind, mix and press into tiles with a textured and “multi coloured” surface.


© Lieske Schreuder

All images courtesy of http://www.lieskeschreuder.nl/


Stinging nettle fabric

If you’ve been out in the country side this summer, you’ll agree that almost everyone hates having stinging nettles next to their skin, that is except for Dutch fashion house Brennels who for the last few years have been growing their own, nettles to produce fabrics. It’s actually been used prolifically over thousands of years but became redundant in the face of modern fabrics such as cotton in the 15th century. But as the tide has turned against chemical and water heavy crops such as cotton, so the interest in low maintenance crops has increased. As an alternative to traditional cottons, nettle fabric offers a number of benefits it can grow without insecticides and pesticides, has a hollow fibre which naturally insulates , has the ability to wick moisture away from the skin and is naturally anti-bacterial and mould resistant. Its uses range from fashion, to commercial fabrics for transport uses- and Camira fabrics have a range of fabrics for commercial upholstery use.

So think again before cursing a plant that’s stung you and open up to its wider more sustainable opportunities. 

Camira fabrics

Copyright Camira Fabrics 

Foldable Wallpaper from Tracey Tubb

If simple wallpaper isn’t to your taste, you should have a look at Tracey Tubb’s work.

A single material does not define her practice, however, paper seems to be her material of choice. Playing on the materials flexibility and versatility, Tracey uses pleating and origami folding techniques, as well as drawn lines and stitch to transform flat mundane surfaces into a visual feast of three dimensionality and texture.

Tracey Tubb designs and makes all of her folded wallpapers by hand with precise craftsmanship with meticulous attention to detail that borders on obsession.

Pop into SCIN to see Tracey’s work. She is currently featured in our Human Play Exhibition that ends at Christmas.