Thursday 24 April 2008

Carole Waller exhibition at the Craft Study Gallery

I have liked Carole Waller’s silk paintings for some time. The way she embeds them in glass so they can be used outside is also very clever. I have made many silk paper hangings in the past and it is always difficult to show them; her solution is brilliant. The paintings benefit by being seen in a good light with the light filtering through them and it also increases the market for them because they can be used in the open air and are more robust. Her work is similar to my own in many ways and seeing the different ways she displays work was very interesting. She uses Muji see-through frames with the lugs to hold them at a angle, solid acrylic frames made up of two pieces that stand alone and for the larger pieces has solid floor holders.

I enjoyed the installation at the Craft Study Centre but felt it was slightly contrived and the paintings had not been designed as a group, although I enjoyed them regardless. I thought projecting images on to the work was successful and is something I might consider in my own practice. I felt the background noise of the railway station was intrusive though. To me the paintings exude tranquillity and I would have preferred to enjoy them without the sounds of a busy railway station in the background – perhaps country sounds would have been more in keeping.

MA show at Farnham

I put my piece ‘Veiled threats’ into the show and it was displayed in a cabinet in the Foyer. This turned out to be a good place for it because it provided another layer of veiling. I was pleased with the piece because it rounded off my exploratory project well and depicted the feelings I have had that views on veiling blind people to the views of others. The show went well and there were many visitors. Putting up the show, invigilating and attending the private view were all part of the experience and made us bond better as an MA group. It was very interesting seeing everyone else’s work and reading their synopses.


I visited Dubai just before Easter to see my brother. I have been there many times before and used to live there so am familiar with the country. I was hoping to collect more information for my veiling research and managed to glean quite a lot. It was impossible to take photographs of people in the street but several women doing crafts let me take their photos and I photographed lots of shops selling veils. I also managed to collect several postcards and images of veiled women. Also by reading the local newspaper I found more images and read the views of some of the local people. We also visited Al Ain museum, in a more remote part of the country, from where I collected more useful photographs.

First Emperor exhibition at the British Museum

It was very difficult to get tickets for this exhibition not only was it over subscribed but the system for purchasing tickets was not easy or user friendly. Having given up hope of seeing it some weeks previously we were amazed by chance to find tickets for sale at a convenient date and time. Entrance to the exhibition was on a timed ticket. It felt very crowded and people kept standing to listen to the headphone information rather than looking at the exhibits. It was therefore very difficult to see some of the exhibits.

However, the terracotta warriors were impressive. They were made in a batch system so the experts made the heads and other craftsmen made the limbs and bodies. Those who made the legs also made the drainage systems and their provenance was obvious. The size of the warriors was impressive and the difference in their expressions was fascinating.

The first emperor must have been an amazing person. He came to the throne as a young teenager and decided to conquer the surrounding lands so all his reign was taken up with war. He died in his forties so began the project for his tomb quite early in his reign. The whole enterprise seemed quite overwhelming and it would have been a nightmare to live under him as he was a despot and the country was continually at war. However he could not have achieved all he did if he had been a different person.

Chinese gallery at the British Museum

The thing that interested me most in the Chinese gallery was the jewellery. I liked the golden hair ornaments of flowers that were so fine they would have trembled as the wearer moved. I also liked the fingernail protector shown in the photo. It was a status symbol to grow the fingernail of your little finger and these filigree protectors were placed over the nail to stop it breaking. I liked its lace-like quality and its bizarre function.