After eight months, five workshops, over 100 participants, mountains of materials and a limitless source of enthusiasm, we have finished our Design the World project. The world is a big place and with a collection as big as the V&A’s, it was a challenge to select only five areas to focus on. In the end, we chose to make workshops on photography, ceramics, found objects, paper-cutting and digital patterns. We ran the sessions on Sunday afternoons in partnership with the Virtual Schools teams from the local triborough area. I blogged about the first two sessions here. We’ve been pretty busy since then…
In November, artist Jasleen Kaur led a practical workshop inspired by the Silver Galleries. In her own practice, Jasleen draws on the everyday to inspire her making, resulting in fantastic and surprising inventions such as oil drum pouffés and carpet seat covers. Taking Victorian crumb-scrapers and fish-knifes in the V&A’s collection as the starting point, the group invented machines for serving tea and toast, making breakfast, and slicing cake.
Downloadable print version of Session 3: Found Objects.
In January, we threw all caution and risk assessments to the wind with a paper cutting workshop (no fingers were hurt in the making of this session). Artist Sarah Bridgland showed us the beautiful tiled picnic scene, dating from 17th century Iran and now on display in the Islamic Middle East Gallery, to whet our appetite. The group sketched an assortment of bowls, plates and cups from the gallery, then made individual, tasty, pop-up paper picnics back in the Art Studio.
Downloadable print version of Session 4: Paper Cutting.
In March, we wrapped up the project with textile designer Emma Neuberg’s workshop on digital patterns. Emma is the Director of Slow Textiles, a group that combines the ancient craft of textiles with cutting edge digital technologies, and all with an eye to sustainability and ethical trade. Drawing on her experience, the group responded to the Glass Galleries using ‘Autodesk Sketchbook’ to sketch light bending, reflecting and refracting through the thousands of glass objects on display. These designs were printed onto fabric and added to a tote bag, which was embellished further.
Downloadable print version of Session 5: Digital Patterns.
It has been a real pleasure to meet the wonderful families that took part in the project and see the same faces returning again and again. Their enthusiasm and interest is contagious and seeing the collections through their eyes always gave me a fresh way of seeing the objects. And now that we’ve finished Designing the World, I’m looking forward to dreaming up the next project with the Virtual Schools team.