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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No. 100

‘Oakura’ Jerry Morris, 2008 World Beach reaches the landmark point of one hundred published entries. And in what style! Jerry Morris on North Island, NZ hits the spot with this beautifully crafted work. The attention to detail in this piece is stunning.

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Layers of Lacquer and of Ice

The stacks of Renaissance prints that were held in the Arctic ice for three hundred years (see previous posting), led me to think about the possibility of using of Japanese lacquer (urushi) as a medium for new drawings. This was for a number of reasons -At about the time that the attempt was being made to carry the prints to the Far East, cultural artefacts in the form of export lacquer were being brought from Japan to Europe.

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Metal and Mica

One of the greatest pluses of a project such as Cloth & Culture Now is getting to meet the artists. From Finland, Japan, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia,UK; 31 of the total of 35 of us made it to the opening weekend. From formal lectures to conversations over the cornflakes, we learnt of each other’s cultures and practice. The creative connections that might join us around the globe felt a little more tangible.

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Diary

I have never been good at keeping a diary.
The thick ‐ lockable – keep all your secrets safe ‐ pour your heart out tomes of pre-pubescence, never made it past the first few days. Even now at the beginning of a potentially good trip away, the well intentioned – document everything excitement attached to favourite pen and a new, velvety Moleskine soon deteriorates into incoherent scribbled notes and snatched drawings. So the whole concept of blogging and me is flawed from the start. In addition, it must be said, never have I been much good at writing about the doing …

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The Temporary Refuge – Again

Amongst the thousands of books and albums held by the V&A, I have discovered that there is one in particular that I have been searching for. “The True and Perfect Description of Three Voyages, so Strange and Wonderful That the Like Hath Never Been Heard of Before,” was written at the end of the 16th century and relates three attempts by Dutch explorers to reach China via the North East Passage.

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Why Stones

The idea for the World Beach Project arrived in my head fully formed and in an instant. It popped up by way of responding to the response to my work using small stones, which in its turn, is a response to the land ‐ specifically, rock. Whether a line of quartz splitting a rock face or a huge folded mountain range, the structure of rock talks of the structure of our planet.

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The Temporary Refuge

The temporary refuge as a metaphor for the fragility of the human condition. I seem to keep returning to this idea in my work – during the 1990s I explored cocoon and hive forms and, more recently, the 18th century Japanese paper folding teahouses that I have mentioned in previous entries. So an appropriate starting point for the second phase of my residency period seems to be Herbert George Ponting’s photograph “Cavern in an Iceberg” (Museum no. E.1320-2000).

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New Works into the Collection

Another outcome of the residency so far is that three works from my installation in Gallery 102 earlier this year are now held by the Word and Image Department.

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Pausing for Thought – and the Residency Extended until December, 2008

A pause, not a full stop – the residency period was due to end after my last posting. However following a number of discussions and meetings, I received an invitation from the Word and Image Department and the Paper Conservation Studio to continue working on the residency until the end of 2008.A wonderful opportunity and second phase of the journey! There are certain ideas that I now want to focus on – and the last few weeks have been spent trying to “unravel” some of these.

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Spook

Sometimes the creativity is in the discovery, the isolating. Tiny rocky cove. Clamber or swim to. Bit secret.
Hours, days months before… who knows… the head had been found.
Most likely lying at a strange angle amongst the jumble of boulders.
Carefully placed to catch the light.
Perched, watching. Waiting to be noticed by another.
In a different time frame. Stumbling upon it, unsuspecting.
United by the experience – but to whom?
I take no credit. www. vam.ac.uk/worldbeach. Do it.

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