On the train journey down to London, I was reading the Metro (free paper) when I was reminded the Design Museum has a new exhibition. I tweeted the article as it looked interesting – and the Tweet had people asking me more about it. So I decided to head over to Design Museum to see the exhibition.
Unexpected Pleasurers: The Art and Design of Contemporary Jewellery – runs until 2 March
Have to be honest: I don’t really care about jewellery. Nor am I a fan of fashion (ahem). I’m not even a huge design fan (although Thomas Heatherwick has been changing my opinion).
You don’t have to be any of these things to appreciate the exhibition as it goes beyond the fashion item into the thought-process of the design and the value contemporary jewellery brings to our society.
And what a difference that makes.
I was intending on staying at the museum for an hour. I was there for over two and only left as had a train to catch.
The main important thing to remember with this collection – take from it what you want. While I was there, I witnessed designed students scribbling away detail notes, tourist walking and stopping only when something caught their eye and older visitors storytelling ‘Can you imagine if we tried to wear that?’ [Insert the ‘inside joke’ laughter that ladies do when they each know what the mean without speaking.] While there were no kids while I visited, I can see the potential for story-telling on pieces and having kids think outside the box on material and designs of jewellery. This exhibition is truly for everyone.
For me, I now have a deeper appreciation to jewellery being art.
Jewellery is traditionally an accessory, a layer that while nice, isn’t a necessity. With this exhibition, the process of creating contemporary art to reflect modern day social issues becomes the focus. It’s about using materials in a different way – turning things on its head making it look different but also making us THINK different.
One of the pieces that made an impact for me was a calendar in the Worn Photography section. The calendar shows people with their piece of jewellery and the story that explains why the piece is special to them.
On the left, two young people. The young lady describes a ring’s providence: her father made it for her mother while they were courting. The parents are still together and she values their relationship as she is now in a relationship. She now wears the ring on her wedding finger (as does her boyfriend) to symbolise their solid relationship and (for me) recognizing they are too young for marriage.
On the right, an older lady explains the silver bracelet she is wearing. Every year, she had to buy her own Christmas present to ensure her husband got her what she wanted (not a bad idea really…). The bracelet was a piece her husband bought her on his own almost 50 years ago.
Digital Crystal: Swarovksi at the Design Museum- runs until 13th Jan
Art meets technology meets design meets glitter meets creativity. I’m not sure how else to describe this exhibition. The concept is for contemporary designers to use crystal to explore the ‘future of memory in the fast developing digital age.’ Swarovksi share selected archival pieces.
Like most contemporary exhibition, you are not going to like or ‘get’ all pieces, and that is OK! I was drawn to the:
Fredrikson Stallard, Pandora. Using almost 200 Swarovski crystals move in different directions ‘reflective and refractive qualities are brought to life.’
Paul Cocksedge, Crystalize. 2mm-wide laser beams bounce off a series of perfectly-aligned mirrors. I spent the most time here, almost memorized.
2012 Designers in Residence – runs until 27 Jan
The last exhibition was to see the amazing work being created by new and emerging design talents.
Yuri Suzuki: explores the realms of sound, design and electronics. Yuri shows the concept of how things work. The way I saw it was he is takes an design, pulls it apart, puts it back a different way which allows outward thinking.
Freyja Swell: investigate the potential of wool fibres produced as a by-produce at British carpet industry. Freyja takes wool as a material and transforms the material using heat from a toasty machine, water, etc into the by-product.
Lawrence Lek: sculptor, investigating the processes of natural growth and industrial fabrication through modular sculptural objects and environments.
Oscar Medley-Whitfield and Harry Trimble’s, using unused resource of Thames river clay to create a range of products that revive the history of ceramics in the area surround Design Museum.