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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Weave and Web

Artists: Many of us – most of the time ‐ work alone. We follow our own self-directed paths and, trying not to get stuck in the inevitable ruts, pursue an isolated single-minded vision. More often than not the picture is fuzzy … sometimes it’s clear.

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More Tapestry

At some point in the late 70’s, I found in a second hand bookshop, a treasure:
“Tapisseries de la Jeune Egypte”.
Page after page of rich, vibrant, energetic, expressive textiles, which helped inspire in me a deep passion for tapestry weaving. A stunning exhibition at The Barbican in 1985 enabled us to savour these works first hand. And now Barbara Heller has done it again. ‘Egyptian landscapes’ at The Brunei Gallery, London WC1.

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Meanwhile back in the Studio…

The shelf crash (Dec 31st) offered up the perfect opportunity for a bit of a clear out. I had forgotten how good that can feel. So: determined not to let this motivation drown under the nuclear reactor of the ‘To Do’ list – and coupled with the need for a clean sheet and mind before embarking on a period of intense thinking – I feel full of resolve. Many of us feel compelled to do this. I think it is an essential requirement for focus ‐ a kind of ‘revving up’ to the main event.

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Forthcoming Attractions

Lots being planned at the V&A for Tapestry in first half of 2006
I’m going to try to keep this to the point! Display in Room 101 – ‘Concealed Discovered Revealed’
Has been extended for another month until Sunday 5 Feb including ‘No Mans Land’ (detail, below left).

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Quick Time and New Years’ Resolutions

I know I can’t be alone in the feeling that as each year passes, time definitely goes faster… First thought on waking this morning was ‘No! not the last day of 2005 ‐ I’m not ready!’
In truth, my head is probably still hovering somewhere around early May. When you’re six, the summers drift on lazily forever. Now, some months seem to end before they even start. A theory: When you’re six ‐ a year is a sixth of your life; when you’re sixty ‐ it’s a sixtieth.

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A Question of Glue

Quite a number of people – off and online – have been posing the ‘which glue’ question. I am absolutely not an expert, so in no way should this be taken as the definitive solution. The glue I use is PVA, widely available from art / stationary shops. Before I embarked on such a major body of work, I ran a number of trials using this and other adhesives. I also contacted a number of professionals for advice ‐ including the Head of Sculpture Conservation at Liverpool Museums. PVA was generally considered to be a good choice.

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Conservation Conversation

I had not appreciated, until I was invited to visit the Textile Conservation Section last week, just how much shared ground there would be. Susana’s and my paths had crossed some months earlier during one of my first research sessions in the textile store. I remember beautiful, highly intricate, Greek embroideries were being selected from the archives for future exhibitions. Many times I’d looked fleetingly through the tall windows into the conservation studio whilst passing along the corridor. Large, light space, quietly industrious – it looked fascinating.

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Guest Posting

Sue Lawty’s work has an immediate appeal to me as a textile conservator and a student of textiles.
There is an absolute beauty and serenity in the order created by Sue’s careful sorting and understanding of the elements chosen by her, be it textile fibres or found objects, uniting them and transforming them into her own original creations.
Warp and weft relationship, interlocking, slits, tension, damaged areas, and the many more features which can be found in a textile are identified by Sue and extracted to create a new and original piece.

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Why is it so good?

Running this morning in the pouring rain and mud led me to contemplating…
just WHY is it so good? I think it’s to do with total engagement: The primal, fundamental contact with air, wind, rain, mist, sun, warm, cold…
The unrelenting and direct contact with the ground – treading every inch of the route – hard, uneven gritstone; squidgey moorland mud; forgiving feel of forest floor…
And the strong sense of being there ‐ IN it (as opposed to looking at it).

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