Jo Lawrence: Animator in Residence (2008)

Jo Lawrence, a new media artist and animation director was Animator in Residence at the V&A in summer 2008. Originally interested in line-drawn illustration, her work developed to encompass collage, puppets and stop-frame animation.

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New Glover

My intention before I leave the studio in two weeks is to make various props for the film, including one giant glove 4 metres high, resolveGlover’s mask, make a few reptilian gloves and a world map which shows the edge of the world. This is for the scene where Glover falls asleep (in storyboard below). For the huge four metre high glove I needed a snakeskin or image at the highest resolution, it was more difficult to find than I imagined.

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Glove Museum

My visit to the Dents Factory and Museum in Warminster felt like a step back in time. John Cundick (Quality controller at Dents) showed me the glove collection, and presented me with lots of extraordinary curiosities, much of it stored in dark plans chests, and every glove had a story attached.

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Finding Glover

Gloves from the V&A collection I made an appointment to view the glove collection held by the V&A. The curator Louisa Collins unwrapped glove after glove from its protective tissue from inside dark oak drawers.

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Glover’s world

I decided that to make a complete film was ultimately a more rewarding use of my time at the V&A. I canâ??t seem to help my enthusiasm for working with narrative. Storytelling is something I find completely absorbing. The process of developing an idea into a film for me is very much like producing the ideal environment for a chemical reaction in a laboratory. The Ebstorf map, the gloves and the bestiary animals were my chemicals. I was mixing a serious theme with a lighthearted one. I hoped that a story would somehow coalesce from all these elements.

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The hand at the edge of the world

Since I have been at the V&A I have been following a kind of trail. I have always been drawn to the curious or odd aspects to inanimate objects and their stories. The prospect of finding starting points for film-making was daunting, there are 4.5 million objects in the museum and I could make a film about anything. A random walk through the galleries became potentially hazardous, often resulting in yet another object apparently clamouring for attention from it’s display case.

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