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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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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Introduction

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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Okoshi-ezu

I first heard about “okoshi-ezu” when I visited an elderly book-seller close to the Heian Shrine in Kyoto. That was over three years ago now when I was making a large-scale installation, “Shift”, based on an 18th century folding paper teahouse. The book-seller told me that once he had seen a series of volumes which contained folding models of teahouses – something between origami and popup models and difficult to find. Dating from the Edo Period, they were used as architectural designs.

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Canberra: Tapestry 2008

My sojourn in Australia was the result of two invitations to take up Visiting Fellowships in Canberra and Melbourne. In April and May The Australian National University in Canberra hosted major International Exhibitions and Symposium: Tapestry 2008. Canberra School of Art building. This event “brought together practitioners, educators, students, collectors, critics, theorists and historians from around the world for exchange of ideas, interaction, practical l

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Back in Japan again… In Praise of Shadows?

Back in Japan again… I stepped into the workshop of one of the country’s most respected lacquer artists, National Living Treasure, Shosai Kitamura. The walls were lined with shelves on which were placed examples of his workmanship. Draped across the length of one wall was a knotted straw garland sent by Ise Shrine – to bless the artist’s current inlaid mother-of-pearl lacquer work. He opened drawers slowly to reveal cut shells.

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Richard Kidd

Towards the beginning of this web-log I wrote about close friend, Richard Kidd. I touched upon his drive in creating a fabulous studio near Newcastle, his dynamic paintings and the great night to celebrate them.

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Notes on Urushi/ Japanese Lacquer

A translucent material – but innumerable layers create a surface of seemingly impenetrable darkness.The tiniest speck on the skin capable of causing violent physical reactions – yet of extreme beauty.Images are ‘trapped” between layers – like forms in amber, prints in ice.Used to illuminate dark spaces – damaged by the brightness of natural light.

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