Monthly Archives: August 2009

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Small Renaissance

Earlier this month I was interviewed about World Beach by journalist Florence Waters resulting in a fine spread in the Telegraph Review. Unfortunately the critical point of working with ONLY STONES was slightly lost in translation, so if anyone got the wrong end of the stick (or seaweed), that’s a shame. The

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Ooh, Shiny

One of the fascinating things about design drawings, at least to me, is that you often can’t tell whether they are for presentation, for working out a design concept, or just recording an object once it’s finished. Sometimes, perhaps, there is a bit of all three going on. The confusion really sets in when you see aesthetic touches on what you would otherwise expect to be a ‘working sketch.’ For whose benefit has the drawing been prettied up? Maybe the draftsman was taking pride in the work. Maybe there was an internal politics in play, where the designer wants the …

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The Great Bed Controversy!

I'm probably going to get my wrist slapped for this – we were going to keep this under wraps until the Press Launch next week but given the rumours circulatingregarding our plans for the display of bed covers and quilts I thought I would share this with you. Actually attendees at the Gala Dinner at the Festival of Quilts last week were the first to hear our plans and see some of the amazing objects from the collection which will be showcased for the first time in 2010. You can just make out an image of one of the curtains …

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Ceramica

My residency in the new ceramic galleries at the V&A begins with preparations for ‘Ceramica’, a three-day extravaganza of ceramic events to celebrate the opening of the splendid new ceramic galleries. To this end I have started work on ‘We are not Amused’, a larger than life-size bust of Queen Victoria (in her most familiar elderly and rather dour manifestation) in plaster and scrim, to be completed in ceramic mosaic by visitors to the studio.

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A Replica Tunic from Egypt: Part 4

By Stuart Frost When I last wrote about this Egyptian tunic in June of this year I promised readers that I’d provide an update. The conservation work on this rare survival is now complete and the garment is ready for installation into Gallery 8: Faiths and Empires 300-1250, one of ten Medieval & Renaissance Galleries […]

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Space – The Final Frontier…

The contractors are just about to move into the V&A's exhibition halls to install our next major exhibition Maharaja: The Splendour of India's Royal Courts. We decided to go down and walk through the empty space which will be transformed next March for Quilts 1700-2010 ….. This is the North Court, one of the two halls we have allocated for the exhibition. What you can see is perhaps one third of its actual size. Our design team is busy discussing trunking, power points, how to disguise the air conditioning vents. We had already looked at wall colours (much more exciting) …

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Basketry begins

It is already hard now to recall those first feelings in the Studio. My workshop at home sounds a more artisanal thing than artist’s space although I no longer make functional items regularly. Here was a mix of amazement, anticipation, questioning, wariness, delight. What did I have here? Little, it seemed, apart from remnants of the previous occupant, a Product Designer, who left long red strings from the lighting gantries, a few origami light shades for mini bulbs and a useful workbench. The strings, now carefully kept for an odd continuity, needed an ultra tall ladder for removal, and all …

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The Sad Lament of the Quilt Widower…

All is not well in the Prichard house. It started off innocently enough: Husband 'So what are we doing for our wedding anniversary?'. Me 'I don't know about you but I'm giving the After Dinner Speech at the Festival of Quilts'. OK, I probably could have phrased that differently but I was tired/hungry/stressed (probably all three). Husband 'You're always tired/hungry/stressed…….'. There is a line at the end of every acknowledgements page in exhibition publications which state 'And finally I'd like to thank my family etc etc.' But what does that really mean? In effect an apology for all thebroken promises: …

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Welcome to my Blog

I knew time would pass quickly during my six months here as an Artist in Residence, but I wasn't quite prepared for just how quickly! Like previous ResidentsI have been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff here in the V&A, running about looking at the galleries, finding my way up into the 'Specials' in the National Art Library and discovering new sections, corridors and hidden staircases in the building itself. Then there is the studio itself. So far, all my drawing has been done at home, and there is nothing like being at home for distracting myself. I'm a …

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Quilts from the Heartland of Wales

When I was first asked to present a proposal for a quilt exhibition, I was adamant that the V&A should seize the opportunity to showcase its collection. Textiles are, by their very nature, fragile objects which are susceptible to damage, particularly from excessive exposure to light and pests. For this reason, access to textile collections generally is limited and the problematic issues of how to display historicobjects a very real impediment to mounting major displays and exhibitions. The V&A is often criticised as being elitist or only concerned with 'posh' things however every museum has a collecting policy which dictates …

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