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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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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Friday Night and Saturday Morning

In the big sky landscape of Northumberland 14 miles due west of Newcastle, Friday night saw the studio opening of good friend, Richard Kidd. Richard paints landscapes. Large, gestural, freely abstract canvases full of energy and movement evoking the wild rugged land of Scotland.

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This week I have spent three very full days within the V&A museum.
I have been looking, drawing, writing, researching, photographing (photographed), giving a talk in the gallery and extending my extremely limited I.T / technical skills a little further. I have also been closeted for very many hours with the most stunning textiles
which lie concealed, in row upon row of drawers in the museum’s textile store. A major part of the residency is to: “create a new work in direct response to the diverse and comprehensive textile collection at the V&A.

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As Easy as Riding a Bike

1969: Shirebrook Comprehensive School ‘Careers Convention’
and I ask the then Head of Chesterfield College of Art “I’m not great at it but I think I want to do art. How do I know if it’s the right choice?”
His answer:
“The only advice I can give is that you have to want to do it. REALLY want to do it. Want to do it more than anything else”
Well to my bolshy pre16 way of thinking that didn’t help at all.

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