Film still from High-Rise by Michelle Shields, for 60|40 Starting Point Series 2011

Visual Art Exhibition

60|40 Starting Point Series 2011

1 July – 28 August 2011

This summer 60|40 presented the third exhibition in its Starting point series. Phoebe Cummings (ceramic artist), Julie Cook (textile artist), and Michelle Shields (applied artist) created new work that explored the relationship between Siobhan Davies Studios’ activities and their own practices.

60|40 is a crafts collective which encourages new thinking in the applied arts and expands the environment for experimental applied arts. 60|40 Starting point series presents work made by artists in response to Siobhan Davies Studios.

Ceramic artist Phoebe Cummings brought clay into the building, constructing and hoisting an intricate line of raw material from a pulley. The task was suspended within the architectural interior, where Cummings responded to the rhythm of activities both inside and beyond the studios, and considered choreography in relation to industrial production. Informed by her experience working within the vast Kohler Co. factory in Wisconsin, she explored the rules, timing, motion and outcomes of a set task, where gravity, balance and collapse must all be negotiated.

Textile artist Julie Cook presented a series of interventions to comfort and protect the body. She combined found materials such as duvets, blankets, and pillowcases with stitch and tapes to create wearable panaceas for the human condition. Historically the Studios lay in the shadows of the notorious Bethlem Hospital, a place of suffering and pain. Cook explored the need for release through embodiment and movement.

The process of making lies at the core of applied artist Michelle Shields’ practice. By adopting methods, techniques and materials traditionally used to create jewellery, she built up repetitions which physically documented movement and time. Shields presented three works using using the material iron, held in place with silver. By recording the construction of an object, the work is poised between making and unmaking.

60|40 Information Sheet 2011

Film - Artists in Conversation

Film - Making Process


Phoebe Cummings studied three-dimensional crafts at the University of Brighton before completing an MA in ceramics and glass at the Royal College of Art in 2005. She has undertaken a number of artist residencies in the UK, USA and Greenland, including a six month residency at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2010.

Julie Cook studied Jewellery at Middlesex University. She is a winner of Jerwood Contemporary Makers 2010, The Arts Foundation Award for Textile Art 2010, and Crafts Council Development Award 2005. Her work is held in the Crafts Council Collection.

Michelle Shields was born in Salford, Lancashire. She attended the Royal College of Art, London. She has exhibited internationally including in Florence, Italy and Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Shields’ work is also held in public and private collections. She lives and works in Salford.

(Biographies correct at time of exhibition, July 2011)