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 leading 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 Carderera, and the artists themselves.

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Guest Post by Lynne Curran

From time to time I intend to invite a fellow artist to write a guest post.
I am very pleased to welcome Lynne Curran as the first in this series.

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Sackler Centre Jewels

This first collection of jewellery I decided to call ‘The Sackler Centre Jewels’ I found the recycled packaging very responsive to manipulation.

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A Day at the Bench

I spent a most pleasant sunny day at the bench in the studio making jewellery from the rescued material. The studio is a lovely space and it has resonance, an echo due to the height of the ceiling and the concrete floor.

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V&A Contemporary Tapestry Collection and Lynne Curran

I am in the middle of weaving my tapestry for the V&A’s Collection. It’s taking a long time! The piece will be around five feet in height. Frustratingly, there’s been very little that is easily photographable as it’s very pale and quite minimal – the first half, particularly so. I will publish images of the progressing subtleties in future posts. A few weeks ago I was in the textile galleries with V&A photographer Peter Kelleher.

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Opening & Recycling

The Image and Identity exhibition that was mounted in the Sackler Centre outside the two residency studios was opened on Friday 18th July by Margaret Hodge the Minister for Culture and Sport, she also took time to visit the residency studios.As equipment arrived I had the problem of assembling the various parts with limited tools and I struggled, but managed to lift an extremely heavy set of rolling mills.

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Moving In

Over the last 22 years I have crammed the making of my own work into weekends and evenings as my job as Head of the Jewellery and Silversmithing Department at Edinburgh College of Art took up a huge amount of time.When I did get access to the lovely room that is my studio I very rapidly had to earmark tables, chairs, showcases, put some things on the wall and order equipment and materials for the classes.

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The hand at the edge of the world

Since I have been at the V&A I have been following a kind of trail. I have always been drawn to the curious or odd aspects to inanimate objects and their stories. The prospect of finding starting points for film-making was daunting, there are 4.5 million objects in the museum and I could make a film about anything. A random walk through the galleries became potentially hazardous, often resulting in yet another object apparently clamouring for attention from it’s display case.

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Scale & Symbolism

The highlight of my six weeks was the time I spent with the jewellery curators looking at and handling pieces of jewellery in the collection.

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Finding my Space

The residency began on the 2nd of June and the new education centre was still under construction when I arrived so, for the first 6 weeks, I did not have a studio. All my tools, catalogues, reference information and materials were locked in the ancient trunk I sent down and it was kept safely in the post room so I was unable to access all my carefully prepared material.I used the six weeks without a studio to wander through the eight miles of galleries in the V&A with camera and sketchbook.

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The Artist Jeweller Residency I applied for over a year ago is based in a studio in the new Sackler Education Centre within the V&A.The Residency is the joint initiative of the Crafts Council and the V&A and I will be based in the V&A for 3 days a week for 6 months. I am expected to think up ideas for and be involved with various teaching projects, to hold open studios for the public while also contributing to the Maker Development Programme for the Crafts Council.I have been living in Edinburgh since the early 1970s and my life and …

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