London Design Festival

The Sackler CentreThis, a couple of weeks ago, happened in the Sackler Centre of the V & A as well as all over London. What a happening! Outside the Studios was a constant crowd of exhibition watchers, those going to talks and seminars, having coffees and generally transforming the building with action in the classroom downstairs, the Digital Studio and outside our door. At one stage they thought to exclude us altogether with tables with white cloths and champagne flutes right across the doorway but we shifted these and mingled with all that was going on outside.

The Crafts Council put together an exhibition of works for the built environment, providing a CD and exhibits. Ptolemy Mann with her richly coloured textiles with some documentation of her major design schemes for built surface. Charlie Whinney had a small piece from the series he had in Harvey Nichols shop windows.

Harvey Nichols Window and paper tape

These swirls and curves of wide steamed wood are an interesting adjunct to the net inside my room and the heap of paper tape I snapped when I first had the Studio. Dramatic stuff, unfortunately sagging a bit with gravity, so it had to be ducked under but this providing a good close up of the texture and grain. Easily hauled up again luckily, but a side light on the rigours of hanging shows of 3D work.

Harvey NicholsThe Harvey Nichols (one of Knightsbridge very smart shops, near Harrods) windows were spectacular. I first saw them on a bus on an early morning ride and had to leap off to get a close look. Fifty metres or so of curve and drama, whole trunks incorporated, with decorative features, which I thought a bit fussy and unnecessary but others liked. The lines were enough for me.

Harvey Nichols bagHarvey Nicks has a history of paper carrier bags with basket printed on the side going back decades. I have an old one with willow weaving print and a second, more recent, with split wood basket. It is interesting and odd this nostalgia for woven things on non woven materials.

My local university had doughnuts delivered in shallow cardboard boxes with basket pattern round the side for many years. Why do we need that? Is it a reminder of things past? Is it a touch of rurality brought back to our lives? When did we start needing that? I have an early plastic basket (1940’s?) with weaving molded into it, and today at ‘Origin’, the Crafts Council’s showcase for the crafts and LOVELY to visit, has a basketry interactive installation with bought baskets some of which are woven plastic thread. Why bother to weave?

Harvey Nichols display

More of Origin in the next posting but do go. Basketry is high priority this year.