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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COLOUR, drawing using natural stone marks, 1m x 1m. Into February, into better light levels and this stonework (Dec 15) is now complete and about to go off to the framer. COLOUR will hang with two other metre square stone drawings in the new Haymarket Hotel.

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Piercing the Surface

Cut, incise, prick, singe, burn – I have been revisiting ways in which the surface of a sheet of paper can be pierced and how this itself can be integral to the drawing process. Piercing allows light to pass through from one side of a drawing to the other. It can both interrupt and disturb its surface.  It hovers somewhere between creativity and damage. A form of scarification. Repetitious piercing can unify the plane.

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World Beach

Over the last few weeks we have begun to chisel away at plans for World Beach ‐ The Stone Drawing Project open to anyone, anywhere on this planet. You will be invited to make a stone drawing on a beach, photograph it (before the tide washes it away) and contribute the designs to a virtual world gallery held here on the V&A’s website. It is scheduled to be up and running sometime in the spring. Looking back through this blog, I realise it was May 2006 when I first threw open the idea.

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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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