I must admit to not making much progress recently. Sometimes, when the stimulus is so great, so extensive, it can engender a kind of temporary creative paralysis. Intense study of the V&A’s textile collection has had that effect. Almost every piece uncovered set fingers tingling and my mind racing wildly – full on creative wealth! Bizarrely, I got to the point of actively hoping not to find the contents of a drawer quite as riveting ‐ so that I could be released to move on to the next one … and the next. Senses, at once saturated, yet burningly inquisitive and wanting more ‐ perhaps the next cupboard would reveal even greater magic … Naively, I had rather imagined ‘finishing’ the research before embracing the next stage (even though I have enough experience to know that can never be the case). But, there does come a point where you have to just stop – take stock – take time ‐ and make some decisions. A vast landscape of ideas ‐ a junction of many tracks – which to follow? ‐ and in which direction? Surprisingly, I have found myself repeatedly being drawn back to one of the first things I discovered. It’s a book of simple cut squares of Egyptian weaving ‐ mostly tabby and described in the thumbnail images below. Inspired by the simple format of this book and, as a way of regaining some forward movement, I am doing what I did many years ago. When finding myself made creatively mute by the deeply rich experience of a year travelling in Australia I went back to basics. I began by weaving the simplest of samples ‐ seeking to explore one element at a time ‐ paring away excess ‐ trying to see clearly. That time proved to be a seminal point in the development of my work. I wonder if experiences at the V&A will have the same impact.
Artists in Residence at the V&A
With an exciting and ever-changing programme of artists and designers, there’s never a dull moment in our residency studios. We will give you an exclusive look into what it’s like to be in residence at the world’s greatest museum of art and design.
We have a thriving and exciting programme of artists in residence here at the Museum, with at least two practitioners inhabiting our studios at any given time.
Here we show the process of being an artist or designer in residence here at the V&A, with behind-the-scenes insights and stories from Residency Co-ordinator, Laura Southall, and the artists themselves.