Thursday, 20 November 2014

Two Worlds – In the Footsteps of the Silver Studio

Jo Angell and Katie Horwich present the site specific installation “Two Worlds – In the Footsteps of the Silver Studio” at the Hasler Gallery in North Finchley, starting this Saturday, 22nd November.

Designer Jo Angell and artist Katie Horwich were two of the five practitioners who won the Hasler Gallery commission to develop new work inspired by the Silver Studio and Hasler collections housed at the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture (MoDA).  This is part of a collaborative project initiated by the North Finchley Town Team in a joint venture with MoDA, funded by the London Borough of Barnet and the Mayor’s Office Outer London Fund.

The work of Jo and Katie brings together imagery from the Silver Studio of the 1890s, with current imagery found within the streets of North Finchley, to create an enchanting new world which transforms the familiar, and highlights the exotic.

Come along and see the installation for yourself!

Where:    The Hasler Gallery, Grand Arcade, North Finchley, London N12 0EH
When:     22nd November – 31st December 2014

The Hasler Gallery is open Thursdays and Fridays 12-6pm and Saturdays 12-4pm

Or you can visit by appointment:

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

“The Re-Issue: A look at Yesterday’s Future” Artist’s Talk in North Finchley's Grand Arcade

This week sees the launch of an exciting exhibition in the Hasler Gallery, North Finchley.   

For two weeks only, from 18th October to 5th November, glassmaker Charlotte Smith, jewellery designer Loveness Li, fine artist Nusha Purdy, interior designer Lucy Manksi, glass artist Lyndsey Gates and illustrator Robbie Shepherd will be exhibiting their work at the HaslerGallery, an exciting new space in Barnet’s Grand Arcade.

The five exhibitors are recent graduates from the fields of Art & Design.  Their exhibition is part of an exciting collaborative project commissioned by the North Finchley Town Team in a joint venture with the Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (MoDA), Middlesex University.

These graduates, selected from an open call, have each been paired with a mid-career designer/maker, on a mentorship basis. Together they are currently working on a commissioned piece, which takes inspiration from the Silver Studio collection at MoDA (a rich historic archive which provides fantastic visual inspiration for today’s designer-makers.). These pieces will be on display later on in the calendar year.

Find out how they are getting on by coming along to the Artists' Talk, in the Haslery Gallery on Saturday 25th October from 6pm-9pm.

Gallery Opening times:
Thursday - Friday 12-6pm

Saturday 12-4pm

Or by appointment:

Address: The Hasler Gallery, Grand Arcade, North Finchley, N12 0EH

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Historic Magazines given new lease of life

MoDA’s Preventive Conservation Officer, Emma Shaw, explains how the magazine collection has become much more accessible to users.

The collections of the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture include some fantastic magazines dating from the early twentieth century.  They are frequently requested by students and researchers because they are interesting from a variety of angles, including both their content and their typography and design. 

However, until recently it was difficult to allow people handle many of these magazines because they were simply too fragile.  After all, they were printed cheaply on thin paper and never intended to be read nearly a hundred years later.  In many cases the paper was discoloured, many had small tears, and the covers were frequently torn, creased and dog-eared.  

Some of the staples holding the magazines together were severely rusted, broken, or missing. The rust had stained and corroded the paper, causing holes and increased brittleness at the centre folds. As a result many cover pages had detached.

MoDA's policy is to try to make all of the items in our collections available for use in our Study Room by students, researchers and members of the public who visit by appointment.  So we were keen to see what could be done to improve the condition of these magazines, and we made it a priority in the last academic year.  We’re delighted to report that twelve boxes containing over two hundred magazines were returned to MoDA this week after a labour-intensive program of conservation by expert paper conservator Sonja Schwoll and her team.

Sonia and her team used some innovative conservation techniques
which involved gelatin and Japanese paper to repair the damaged magazine covers

This work makes the magazine much more accessible to users both now and in the future.  They are all now robust enough to allow for handling in our Study Room according to our conservation guidelines, and available to students and researchers alike.   We're very pleased with the work Sonja has done and we'll be aiming to get another batch of magazines from MoDA's collections conserved in the coming year.  

And as it turned out, some of the magazines were immediately in demand the day after they returned from the conservator. Author Lynn Knight came to MoDA to carry out research for a forthcoming novel. Among the things she wanted to see were copies of Woman's Life and Housewife magazine from the 1920s and 1930s, two of the recently conserved titles. Thanks to the work undertaken, it was straightforward for Lynn to access this material, and she was thrilled to be the first MoDA researcher to benefit from the work undertaken.

If you are interested in the techniques of paper conservation and want to know more about how Sonja and her team transformed these magazines from their previous dog-eared state, you can read the full report here.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Job Vacancies at MoDA

We're delighted to be able to announce two vacancies at the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture.

We're looking for a Collections Manager to be responsible for supporting all of the museum’s activities through management of the collections database, Museum Index+.  MoDA’s collections are used extensively for teaching and research, exhibition and publication, online and via social media.  You will need to be enthusiastic about extending the highest professional standards of collections management to all of MoDA’s collections and associated information, in order to facilitate their access.  You will have a good general knowledge of MoDA’s collections and associated scholarship, and an enthusiasm for communicating this in order to support student learning and public access.

We also want to recruit a suitably qualified and experienced Curator to promote and facilitate access to MoDA’s collections for learning and research.  This post would suit you if you are enthusiastic about promoting MoDA’s collections within the University and the wider HE sector.  You will need a good general interest in the areas covered by MoDA’s collections, and a sound understanding of how to relate this to student learning needs.  You will need experience of designing and delivering high quality learning opportunities for students within a museum or HE context.  You will also be required to support students and researchers in the museum’s Study Room on an appointment basis. 
Job descriptions and application forms for both posts are available on the vacancy page of the Middlesex University website.

Closing date: 17 October 2014
Proposed interview date: 29 October 2014

We look forward to receiving some really good applications!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Middlesex graduate is part of Hasler Gallery project

Robbie Shepherd, one of the participants in the Hasler Gallery Project, tells us how he's doing so far.

"I have recently graduated from Middlesex University with a BA in Illustration.  I love drawing; for me its a form of expression and I find it therapeutic.  I like to draw without any set boundaries or plans and so my work tends to just come to mind as soon as I put pen to paper.  For me drawing provides a place where you can explore your own unconsciousness.

I came to the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture (MoDA) to look at some of the Silver Studio's Art Deco designs.  Some of the drawings seemed to relate to my current exploration of loose marks and patterns using pen or brush and abstract faces.  I wanted to explore a more abstract and care-free aspect of my drawing, 

pencil design for textile, 1930s, from the Silver Studio Collection,
Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture, Middlesex University
I found that quick or long strokes of a brush provided interesting marks and character. The other interest I have is texture which in the past I introduced digitally in some of my pieces.  I really liked the way some of the Silver Studio artists created texture through rough charcoal and brush strokes. 

If you’d like to look at some of my work, please look at my website"

It's great to see Robbie and the other participants in this project using MoDA's collections to develop new work.  Some of this work will start to go on show in the Hasler Gallery in North Finchley's Grand Arcade from November.  In addition, the graduate participants will be showing some of their own recent work from 11th October.  More details to follow soon.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Peggy Angus: Designer, Teacher, Painter

The exhibition about the artist and designer Peggy Angus at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne finishes  on the 21st September, but you can still catch it if you hurry.  It's worth a trip to the seaside to see it.

wallpaper designed by Peggy Angus, around 1965
Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture, BADDA4726

Despite being a contemporary of Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious, Peggy Angus was less well known as an artist and designer until a few years ago.  We held an exhibition of her work at the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture, back in 2003, focusing on the designs for tiles and wallpapers that she developed after the Second World War.  The current exhibition takes a look at these as well, but shows how they the were the logical extension of her ideas about art, and creativity, and their centrality to everyday life.

An excellent and well illustrated book to accompany the current exhibition is available now.
And we still have a few copies of the publication which accompanied our own exhibition, Patterns for Postwar Britain - the Tile Designs of Peggy Angus, by Katie Arber, which is referenced in the current book, and can be ordered from the Middlesex University online shop.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

"Inspiration Examined" at the Chelsea degree show

MoDA's Head of Collections, Zoe Hendon, finds out how MA Textile Design students from Chelsea School of Arts used inspiration from MoDA to inform their degree show work.

It's always a pleasure to see how creative people use the collections of the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture  (MoDA) for inspiration.   It's something we're really interested in, because it's clearly something we want to encourage to happen more.  I've recently been working with Linda Sandino from Chelsea School of Arts on a project funded by Share Academy in which we interviewed seven MA Textile Design students from Chelsea.  We videoed them talking about their approach to objects from MoDA's collections and the different ways in which they were able to use the objects they chose to inform the development of their creative practice.

We're still working on our findings, and we'll put some of the video clips up online soon.  But in the meantime, it was great to see some of those same students at their degree show last Friday night.

Alex Beattie

Alex Beattie was particularly inspired by some of MoDA's 1920s wallpapers.  His textile designs, featuring acid-bright colours and dream-like landscapes show a clear progression from some of the things he looked at when he visited.  But for Alex, his inspiration wasn't just in the emulation of motifs and colours - in his video interview he talked in a really interesting way about looking to MoDA's wallpapers to help him resolve technical issues to do with the creation of the illusion of depth and perspective in his designs.

Linda Sandino (left) and Darshini Sundar 

Darshini Sundar came to MoDA in search of block printed textiles and geometric motifs; her work involves developing traditional block printing techniques with workers in the south of India.  I was really impressed by the way her textile designs used natural dyes and simple shapes to create deceptively complex patterns. 

textiles designed by Darshini Sundar 

For many studio-based students, the history behind the objects in museum collections are not their primary interest - they are often more concerned with techniques of making, with colour and with motif.  Jaswant Flora was unusual in that her interest was in the history of cotton as a commodity, and in the physicality of objects.  She was also interested in the idea that textiles can tell a story, and the idea of mark-making and narrative.  She commented in her interview: "...MoDA helped me a lot because it did make me understand how I could apply it [my textile design] into a narrative as well"

Jawant Flora

It was great to catch up with all of the students at the degree show, to see their final work and to hear a bit more about their visits to the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture influenced the development of their ideas.  We wish them all the best for their future careers, and hopefully we'll see them at MoDA sometime again.