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.

Monday, 1 September 2014

More "In Conversation" afternoons at MoDA

Over the past few months we've been running a new series of events at the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture (MoDA).  These are informal talks lasting about an hour and a half, which offer an opportunity to see a selection of objects from the museum's collections, and discuss them with a member of staff.  We're aiming to provide an overview of the collections and provide a bit of background to what the museum holds.

These events will be running about once a month, and we're now pleased to announce some more dates for the Autumn.  This time we've chosen a number of specific themes, so that each event will have a particular focus.  Places are free, but limited, so please sign up for the ones that interest you:

On September 24th the "In Conversation" afternoon will be a look at some of the wonderful examples of wallpapers from the museum's collections, with MoDA's Assistant Curator Maggie Wood.
Reserve your ticket now for the September date

'Sahara' wallpaper designed by Edward  Bawden, 1928,
Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture (SW 2236)

On October 30th Maggie will be turning her attention to the development of suburbia in the interwar period, with a look at some of the museum's estate agent brochures.
Reserve your ticket now for the October date

Image taken from a poster advertising Halifax Building Society, 1930s
Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture (BADDA4719)

On Friday 21st November, MoDA's Head of Collections, Zoe Hendon, will be looking at the way in which designers who worked for the Silver Studio were influenced by the art of Japan.
Reserve your ticket now for the November date

Japanese katagami stencil depicting chrysanthemums and bamboo stems,
Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture, K2.28

We hope these events will give a flavour of the wide variety of objects and themes we cover at the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture.  Places are limited, but don't worry if you can't make it this time - we'll be running similar events again in the future.

These events are aimed at people who have a general interest in MoDA's collections, but who don't have a specific research question in mind.  If you would like to see the collections for your own research or personal interest you are welcome to make an appointment.  You don't need to be formally associated with an educational institution, but you will need to give us an idea of what you want to see.  Please contact Maggie Wood to discuss your interests in the collection and to arrange a time to visit.