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.

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The Claude Glass / Polarities of dark and light

‘Polarities of dark and light. Eye of the ocean, the light we see….’ – These words were written to introduce a series of my works shown at Inverleith House, Edinburgh in 1995 – works that explored the ethereal qualities of salt and clear water pools lying along the Coromandel Coast of Southern India.Over ten years later I find myself looking again and again into another kind of pool – not the white encrusted surface of an indentation in the sands, but rather the handheld pool of a black concave mirror.

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Dark and Light

On each visit to the V&A, I find myself growing ever fonder of the new garden space. It was being transformed back in 2005, around the time I was sorting all the tiny stones for the ‘Order’ installation. As a continuous line of builders carried individual lumps of rock past my window, I wondered how it could ever be finished. But only weeks later, basking in the warmth of a summer evening breeze, we enjoyed the gentle splash of fountains and soft light highlighting each arched alcove of the museum’s architecture. Beautiful. Dark autumn/winter days are a different matter.

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No Guru, No Method, No Teacher

We could think it is the institutions that shape us: the particular school, art college, museum or gallery collaboration. But if I look back, it is specific individuals within those institutions who are the crux of the experience. Whom we meet (and whom we don’t meet) can turn out to have a profound impact on the course of our life. I have spoken of Unn Sonju many times, but not here. Time to redress this omission. At art school in Leeds in the mid 70’s, I followed a degree in Furniture Design. Unn was then a part-time tutor on the …

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Thinking of Harry Parkes

Boarding a train bound for Shiroko, I was thinking about Harry Parkes. It was late April and this was one of several journeys that I made to different parts of rural Japan earlier this year in order to see some extraordinary processes connected with handmade paper – processes which radically change the physicality of paper, some which render it waterproof, others which leave it soft and malleable like cloth.

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6 Days to Go

…. and counting. I can almost physically feel the inner core of my being shrinking in tandem with the diminishing daylight as the shortest day approaches.

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Slipping in Before Time

When I wrote that I began this weblog halfway through my residency, this was officially true. However, during the six months that I waited for the formal approval and funding confirmation, I had already started to make regular visits to the Paper Conservation Studio.

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Text:ure of History

To my child mind, the Second World War was very definitely ‘in the olden days’ – the past – gone – history. It was unequivocally and quite physically, behind me… by a long way. I was not connected to it. In fact, it ended only nine years before I was born. As an adult, the passing of nine years goes by in a flash and I consider the last decade to be ‘current’.

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Sahara… Cloth of Gold

“Here there isn’t a single trace of man’s presence… The wind shapes the landscape as it likes. It is an unchanging landscape which is constantly changing.”
Gerard Lanux Wind on desert sand; water on coastal sand… the rhythmic passing of time.
I am guessing that every single one of the resulting undulating patterns is different. Like every grain of sand, every star, every pass of weft over warp, every found stone on a beach… all the same, all different.

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A Journey Within A Journey

If you were on a journey and asked to describe it, where might you begin? Maybe by stating your destination or would it be your point of departure? On the other hand would you simply want to look around and describe the view at that particular moment?

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