Monthly Archives: December 2009

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Fold Along Dotted Line

Since beginning this blog early in 2009, Ihave been trying to come up with examples in which preparatory sketches have a direct impact on a finished design. But only now, as 2010 is upon us, has it finally occurred to me to write about the activity in which this happens most directly of all:folding. With no tools at all, you can take a piece of paper, marked in all the right places, and turn it into a sculpture. The most sophisticated type of folding there is, of course, is the East Asian craft of origami. Normally the papers used are …

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Goodbye, Studio

Today is my last day as a resident at the V&A. Everything is packed into boxes, ready for me to take home, the walls have now returned to their plain white after having been filled with works in progress and collected postcards. Six months sounds like a long time, but sitting here at the end of it, I can hardly believe the residency is over. To say I didn't want to leave would be an understatement. I've met countless people in Open Studio sessions, run workshops, trawled the NAL's comics collections, co-curated a display, worked with many different individuals and …

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The Playing Cards Project

This is more of a series of blog entries in one, since it is talking about the whole process of this project from beginning to end. Why not write the entries as the thing progresses? Well, one gets caught up in actually doing the thing! The idea came about while I was in the Prints and Drawings Study Room, researching depictions of magic for a story I was writing. I had been told that there was a large collection of playing cards and tarot cards in the Prints collections, along with various other material I might find useful, so I …

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License to Drill

This post has been contributed by Polly Hunter, a second-year MAstudent on the V&A/RCACourse in the History of Design. In it she discusses two extraordinary promotional images that she discovered in the course of her research, which focuses on design in extreme environments, such as oil drilling platforms. (Images courtesy of British Petroleum Plc.) Recently, in the BP (British Petroleum) archive at the University of Warwick, I ran across this unusual watercolour: Little information was attached to it, but I could determine that it was an artist's impression of a drilling and production platform, originally designed for use in 1970s …

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Christmas is coming…

Christmas is looming, the weather is rather grim, and the museum is unusually very quiet. I spend the week making a clay model and casting the plaster mould for a small ‘generic’ head. Pressings from this mould will form the common ‘core’ for a series of six modelled heads, based on the same six multi-cultural heads I’ve used in the identikit drawings.

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‘Tis the season…

to count our blessings. Before I sign off for the Christmas holidays I would like to share with you some very poignant and extraordinary stories. The first revolves around a young girl of 15, exiled from her family for stealing a length of printed cotton and sentenced to seven years' transportation.Grace Stevens set sail forVan Dieman's land on board HMS Rajah in 1841. In contemporary accounts Grace was described as a housemaid, or nurse girl; a red head with florid complextion and light blue eyes. She had a scar on the thumb of her left hand. The nineteenth century prison …

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A Labour of Love

By Stuart Frost There is an extensive and varied programme of events to support the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries. Activities, talks, special projects and lectures will take place throughout 2010. A fascinating demonstration took place on Saturday 5th December, the first weekend the galleries were open to the public, and it focused on a unique object that […]

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The White Stuff

The first thing I did on discovering Google Earth (a few years ago) was to steer to the snaking, ridged vast expanses of a big hot arid desert ‐ probably it was the Sahara. The second thing I did was to soar over Antarctica. Wild.. remote.. harsh.. spare.. fascinating.. enthralling.. thrilling… ? It was disappointing.

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Stories for Humans 3 – The End

Thanks to everyone who added work to the giant comic in the Stories for Humans display. I am hoping to get a digital version on the web, so that it will be possible to read the whole thing. Apologies to those I had to weed out! Non-sequiturs, rude pictures, and "I woz 'ere"s were summarily removed. This is the wall in its final state. It was sad to see the display taken down at the end of November. I have fond memories of walking past and watching students drawing from the comic pages on display, accosting them and asking what …

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Second visit to Blythe House

In my second visit to Blythe House I trawl the Asian showcases for skeuomorphic vessels, and turn up dozens of examples; mostly forms emulating Chinese ceremonial bronze vessels, but also pieces which copy rhinoceros horn, and a Japanese wall vessel which takes the form (and even the wood-grain texture) of a carved wooden Noh mask. Returning to the ceramic studio I begin to explore this idea, selecting a Byzantine bronze vessel to ‘copy’ in porcelain paperclay. This is something of a digression from the heads project, and I’m not sure where it will lead, but I’m happy to have a …

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