108 applicants from diverse backgrounds and from 37 colleges and institutions nationally entered the 2011 competition. Encouraged by over 90 tutors in art, crafts and design, some of them had never been to the Museum before but visited with their art group especially for the Inspired by… competition. A significant number of entrants had access requirements.
The entries were assessed by a total of 16 curators, programme managers, designers and prize donors. 35 artworks in different media made by students were selected to go on display at the V&A from 4 June – 3 July 2011.
'Chinese Zip Vase'
Made by Daphne Golding during her Pottery and Sculpture class at City College Peterborough
‘A book collection of clothes and website inspired me to make this vase.’
‘I love the way that Daphne Golding has been inspired by the Chinese jacket to make such an original object in a completely different medium. The shape of the Chinese collar has inspired the lip of the vase and the opening to the jacket has inspired the shape of the zip which has a charming little dragon as its fastening. Daphne clearly has gained great confidence from attending adult education classes and overcome many difficulties to achieve this very intriguing and innovative work of art.‘
Benefit of learning prize
(Awarded by National Institute for Adult and Continuing Education)
Made by Roz Evans Flagg during her Sculpture 2 class at City Lit
‘On entering the “Italy” room, I was struck by the apparent patience of the statues awaiting renovation or relocation. The empty display cases had a sense of anticipation, almost willing the onlooker to imagine which piece they will proudly support, allowing themselves to retreat into insignificance.
... I passed by the Rodin hand – it clutched at me as I stepped past, reaching out in desperation.’
‘It is wonderful to see that the courses Roz has attended at The City Lit have made such an impact on her confidence, helping her to believe in her artistic abilities, improve her skills and develop her passion for art. It is also really encouraging to see the effect that visiting the museum has had on Roz, finding inspiration from several pieces to create her sculpture, and showing the valuable impact that museums and galleries have as engaging locations to inspire learning.’
The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) offered £100 in vouchers towards the Benefit of Learning winner.
Made by Ara Moradian during his Exploring Sculpture class at Morley College
‘Walking around the V&A I was intrigued to notice how often innocence and frailty in various collections were depicted using a veil or a hood. I wanted to experiment with these assumptions and create a sculpture that explored the use of fabric in conveying certain mood and feeling.’
‘Mr Moradian’s skill as a modeller has produced a strong and striking portrait that also gives an innate sense of the plasticity and workability of clay.
He has coupled together images of the headdress worn by the Virgin Mary and the idea of the devotional theme of her Assumption with those of a hooded person, capturing a modern view of such a headdress being ‘assumed’ to be worn by an undesirable person.
His work is clever and expertly constructed.’
Made by Malvinka Bitelli during her BTEC Art & Design class Kensington and Chelsea College
‘I was inspired by El Lissitzky’s book for a child. The six
illustrations, which seem so simple, are so well considered. The use of colour, shape, size, typography are political and social statements.’
‘Inspired by the instructional paper works of El Lissitzky, Mrs Bitelli has created glass versions of folded paper and encased these in a series of glass blocks, positioned like a set of children’s alphabet letter blocks.
Each block is made up of squares of factory-produced sheet glass bonded together with UV glue. The squares have been decorated by sand-blasting and with fused ‘frit’, to build up a three dimensional picture which seems to float in space.’
Metalwork and jewellery prize
'Nature in a Frame'
Made by Doina Manuela Neagu during her during her Jewellery BTEC L2 Diploma class at Richmond Adult Community College
‘For my inspiration, I chose a process. I tried to give a feeling of nature that is put in a frame, or how the wild and organic shapes of nature are tamed in a perfect square, a man-made shape.’
‘We chose Doina Maneula Neague because she stood out by choosing not an object but a process. We liked the way she had looked at what remains of the material after the art has been ‘taken’ from it and thus made the material the focus. We also felt that she had mirrored the process of relief by the acid etching of her brooch.’
‘Being Mother – It’s no Picnic’
Made by Diana Brothers during her Working with Glass class at Creative Glass Guild
‘When I saw the chest of drawers I began to think three dimensionally. The two chairs triggered me into thinking about ‘being sat on’ as part of the reasoning underpinning my work.’
‘Being Mother - It's No Picnic’ encompasses a melange of both materials and techniques- a testament to the artist’s ability to coalesce aspects of the two chairs and chest of drawers, as well as Dame Edna’s Breakfast Dress, from which she took inspiration. The title reflects the difficulty of juggling motherhood, career and artistic production, conveyed with a capriciousness and humour that is evident in the work itself.’
Fashion and textiles prize
Made by Eleanor Vallerini during her during her BTEC Millinery Level 2 class at Kensington and Chelsea College
‘I was sketching from the Ballets Russes exhibition and already had hats in mind. When I saw this picture, the orange pattern jumped at me and I thought then that it would make a great hat or headpiece.’
‘I thought the pieces submitted to Inspired By… were all interesting and creative and showed a great range of skills and talents. The winning piece, hat by Eleanor Vallerini really stood out because while it directly draws inspiration from a Natalya Gontcharova backdrop for Diaghilev's Ballet Russes, it also works on its own as a great piece of design.
The process of taking a 2-D image and working it into a 3-D object appears to have been seamlessly achieved.
The hat is stylish and witty and certainly an object that makes you want to look and look again to figure out how it is made. The style evokes fashionable hats of the 1930s but is brought up to date by being positioned on a headband, making it easy to wear.’
Theatre and performance prize
Made by Rosh Keegan during her Ceramics Freeform and Colour class at Working Men's College
‘I have only been sculpting in clay for a year and my pieces took balletic forms but with solid Picasso style bodies. Naturally the Diaghilev exhibition brought all this together. The Mandalay bird box reminds me of my childhood – granny had a silver peacock betel box - so it seemed only natural to give my firebird a bird’s head, with golden beak and chunky arms and legs.’
‘Rosh's works has a real sense of arrested movement to it which closely echoes its inspiration (Le Train Bleau) and succeeds in being original. The colours too owe something to the vibrant colours of the Diaghilev exhibition and it also has a great sense of playfulness and humour. One of Diaghilev's favourite sayings to his artists was: 'Astonish me!' and Rosh's piece is, therefore, very aptly titled.’
Museum of Childhood prize
Circle of Life
Made by Susan Early during her Creative Basketry VA 190 class at City Lit
‘I was inspired by the simplicity and comfortable, reassuring familiarity of the spinning top and gyrograph. One understands what you should do with it, how it works, what it is made of. But one is never quite sure where it will end.’
‘The shape and design of this entry was inspired by the movement of children's spinning tops. I found the inspiration for the artwork surprising and fresh. The artist's sketches captured the process of the design inspiration very clearly and made the connection between the object (tops) and the method (basketry/weaving) immediately apparent. The end product really captures the erratic, wobbly effect of the spinning top which makes the piece exciting to look at.'
Word and image prize
'Autoperipatetikos: The Automatic Walking One'
Made by Martha Orbach during her Foundation Studies in Art & Design at Camberwell College of Arts
‘Autoperipatetikos became the central character in my animation about a girl who has nightmares. I was drawing in the museum at quite an early stage of my project when I first saw her and knew instantly that she represented an important part of what I was trying to express.’
‘I have chosen Martha Orbach’s animation Autoperipatetikos: the automatic walking one as my winner because it embodies a brilliant imaginative leap from the inspirational object (a 19thcentury clockwork doll) into a haunting narrative in which the doll becomes a child. The deceptively child-like drawings are perfect for conveying a child’s-eye view of the world of the story, and the use of photographic negatives is a simple but powerfully effective means of conjuring a night-time nightmarish atmosphere. The piece is accomplished, original and beguiling.'
Most encouraging tutor prize
Eddie has an impressive record of encouraging students to enter this competition. Three of her students have been accepted into the display this year; including the winner of the access category.
(Daphne Golding, for her Chinese Zip Vase, based on a Chinese robe)
By encouraging participation in the arts, through a wide variety of design techniques, Eddie has helped her students to gain an understanding of how to engage with the museum artefacts in order to produce visually creative and exciting pieces of work; in doing so, she is also encouraging social inclusion and has helped people to develop confidence and self esteem.’