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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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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Sign Post to a New Space

Very good two day symposium in Harrogate last Thursday and Friday. I so nearly didn’t book ‐ juggling and justifying the expense to the last minute…but being there served to affirm the fundamental value and importance of such events in a creative life.
The focus: “ 16 leading international practitioners, curators and historians discuss the possibilities for creative expression arising from the interplay between collections ‐ collecting ‐ collective memory ‐ collective constructions.”
!! Excellent presentations from Japan, Australia, Europe, U.S.

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Just back from my first run for over 18 months!
Tired muscles but the clearest of clear days at this time of year are a gift. High on the moors with running partner Eileen who has never given up on me.
Treading ancient tracks – stones worn by thousands of passages of human feet. Frozen ground, long glistening combs of hoar frost coating the tussocky grass. Warm sun.
Wild, empty, open – freedom.

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Physics or Philosophy

Since writing the previous blog entry – ‘Making Order’ – a friend has directed me to the opening stanza of William Blake’s poem ‘Auguries of Innocence” which to my shame I didn’t know. To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour. In searching for the exact quote on the web I was lead down surprising avenues of fractal geometry, the cosmos and the space between 0 and 1.
Fascinating stuff – which my brain is struggling to cope with – and which I …

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Making Order

I have made two installation pieces in gallery101….‘Hieroglyph’ and ‘Order’
I want to talk about the second one first. Order Around the time I was invited to display my work at the V&A, I had been tussling with the notion of making a really large stone drawing ‐ something beyond my own expectations – something that would fill your field of vision ‐ to be visually ‘inside’.
But the logistics of making such a

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Demonstration Week-end

Two very interesting days in gallery 101.
Two tables of sketchbooks, samples and work in progress.
Many visitors, sometimes 2 -3 deep at the table, sometimes a lone soul.
Always good to meet people and had many fascinating conversations.
Some stayed for the whole 3 hours – some for 5 minutes. One of the nicest moments of the two days was when I was given a spontaneous (and tight!) farewell hug from a little girl who had spent the most of the afternoon with us, talking, playi

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Long Thin Stone

I was recently given a stone of the most extraordinary proportions. It is 14 times as long as it is wide. It is 13.6 x 0.9cm It is beautiful, fine, smooth and slender with a quality of weight and shape that is suggestive of an ancient tool with which to write or for modelling clay. And yet it is perfectly natural ‐ just as the sea chucked it onto the shore. The beach it is from is a stone beach.

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