Power of Making, V&A exhibition

We spent the day at the V&A, predominantly to visit this exhibition sponsered by the crafts council. The uniting theme of  the exhibition was novel techniques and materials in manufacturing and craft. There was a lot that could be classed as textile work, and my favourite piece was a backlit patchwork made from 16mm film strips which had been bleached and dyed before being machine sewn together. The pallette was quite narrow rose pinks and leafy greens, and the images on the film created a pattern with the close repetition of images. Other noteable pieces were a coated steel wire fence strung in a lace pattern rather than straightforward squares (although this was frustratingly displayed behind other exhibits and difficult to fully appreciate), a machine embroidered medical graft used for reconstructing shoulder muscles, and sculptural knitting and crochet pieces. There was a dress woven from recycled audiotape that had been spun 50:50 with nylon. During performance pieces the dress is ‘played’ to create distorted sounds.

I  could see why some have found the exhibition to be rather random with seemingly unrelated objects displayed together, but I got lots of ideas for techniques and use of unusual materials.

I used the rest of the museum visit to practice sketching and collect some textures. I am very interested in ‘textural’ images created by light and the way it behaves through different shapes, and took lots of photos of the railings and stairs in the glass gallery. I was quite pleased with a sketch of a vase I chose because I wanted to try to portray contour and shape of the piece whilst trying to capture the marbled appearance of the inclusions within the glass. Throughout my weekend I have been a bit surprised by how difficult I find it to draw in monochrome and felt quite limited. I think I need a bigger pencil case! I also learnt than putty rubber is good as a drawing medium to lift out lines but not very useful as an eraser…

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