The Chain of Talent

The idea for the chain came out of a question I was asked at the interview for the residency, ‘What would you do with 4000 parents and children coming to the museum over a weekend?’ I responded with ‘Make a big chain and wrap it round the V&A’. This concept was put through the V&A education planning committees and developed into a very long charm bracelet to which visitors would make and attach a charm based on an object of their choice from the collection.

Victoria's lips and punch

Queen Victoria’s lips with the metal stamp and embossed disc. The marble bust of Victoria was by German sculptor Flatters in 1843.
In order to facilitate the use of metal in the project I made metal stamps of different images from the collection, for example Queen Victoria’s lips, and eyes from various sculptures. These stamps were then hammered into thin aluminium discs and the discs used to make charms. Twisting of coloured wires was also included so there was an element of learning new skills in the project. A number of parents became hooked on the metal techniques and made some great things, I spoke to a woman wearing a rather wonderful necklace of wire, she said her husband had spent hours making it in the art studio, so not only charms were made in the chain of talent experience. I made up boards of samples of ways of embossing and punching metal to show some of the things that could be done. I was able to have two of my wonderful graduates to help over the weekend, Natalie Ryde looked after the sheet metal section and Andrew Lamb was responsible for the wire section and he also made lovely examples of wire twisting to inspire the visitors.

Canova head

I made this charm for the chain of Talent based on a silhouette of Antonio Canova’s sculpture head of a dancer. I gave her metal embellishments with punched images to suggest what she might be thinking and a CD necklace. The image is taken looking through the charm to the window of the studio.

Credit crunch

For this charm, I used hands from V&A sculptures. I named it “The Credit Crunch”. When I made it, I had in mind the text carved over the door from the V&A garden to the Henry Cole Wing “ Better to get wisdom than gold”.

Natalie     Andrew


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