The end of September saw us bid farewell to our two artists in residence, designer Julia Lohmann and ceramicist Keiko Masumoto, and after six months in the Museum, they certainly went out with a bang. Both artists took part in some extremely successful open studios as part of London Design Festival – Julia welcomed over 400 visitors to her studio in just one afternoon!
Julia Lohmann, “Oki Naganode”, 2013 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
In addition to her studio, the Department of Seaweed, Julia created this striking installation that took pride of place at the end of the Leighton Corridor for the duration of the festival. The piece, called Oki Naganode, was made of seaweed, rattan and steel circles, all designed in response to the natural curvature of the seaweed pieces. The effect of the sunlight through the seaweed was beautiful and it was a sad to take it down at the end of the ten days.
Keiko Masumoto, 2013 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Keiko’s last few weeks were taken up by making this incredible teapot, which as well as being in the shape of an octopus, features the traditional octopus pattern painted onto it.
Her snake pot, which she made earlier in her residency and was a huge hit during Open Studios, has been purchased by the Museum as part of our Ceramics collection. It will be on display in the Ceramics gallery and will be a lovely memento of Keiko’s time here.
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
We had farewell teas for both Julia and Keiko in their last weeks, and Keiko treated us to a traditional Japanese green tea ceremony with bowls that she had made during her time here which was very special.
Both made some touching speeches about their time here and something that stuck in my mind was how Julia described her residency studio as a rock pool; a safe ‘testing ground’ space that was still connected to, and can be influenced by, the ocean (the outside world) and the shore (the Museum).