The Inspired by… annual exhibition which showcases work by adult learners has announced the winners for 2014 and is now displaying their work at a show at Morley College, London. This year there were 441 entries from across the UK which were inspired by the V&A’s collections, covering a huge range of materials, processes, styles and techniques. The exhibition, which opened on 20th May, celebrates the exceptional talents and achievements of the exhibitors, and was one of the first major events of the new national Festival of Learning, which runs throughout May and June and culminates in Adult Learners’ Week from 14 – 20 June.
The winning entries were announced by Matthew Hancock, Minister for Skills and Enterprise, and David Hughes, Chief Executive of the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) in an event at the college with over 250 guests in attendance. Adult learners use the collections in unexpected ways to create new pieces, taking inspiration from materials and styles to further their own practice reflect on the work of other designers and artists.
Ella Fearon-Low, winner of the special prize in the jewellery category, took inspiration from one of the iconic pieces in the museum’s Twentieth Century collection.
Ella explains her process from gallery to her final piece:
“This chest of drawers leapt out when I visited the 20th Century galleries of the V&A. I loved its visual strength – its large scale; its chaotic but pleasing form; the way its elements are strapped together; its contingent and precious materials. I was inspired by the way in which it played with values. I wanted to retain the essence of these aspects within my pendant. I also loved the challenge in the title – ‘You Cant Lay Down Your Memories’. In my interpretation I have attempted to lay down my memories and capture the essence of my children and their lives.
Matthew Hancock MP said: “There is more to life than money and there is more to life than training for the purposes of work. Education is a good in itself and it is right that we celebrate that. [It ensures] that all people get the opportunity to make the most of their innate potential and that all people get the opportunity to progress. Thank you to everybody who makes that possible, and thank you to the winners who clearly have had the inspiration in their hearts unlocked, not least thanks to the work of Morley College.”
David Hughes added: “Achievement in learning is really important. We should applaud that, and applaud the effort and the creativity that people put into it. What I think tonight shows, and it sings out loud, is that the one thing learning does for all of us is that it gives us the confidence to have some self-expression. It gives us the confidence to say ‘I have some talent, I have some ability, I have something to offer back to the world’.”
An exhibition at Morley College showcases 113 of the entries to the competition and is open until 19th June 2014. The exhibition takes place at Morley Gallery, Morley College’s public exhibition space, located at 61 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7HT. Opening times vary. Entry is free.
You can see previous year’s entries and winners here.