An exhibition at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum rediscovers the importance of craft in modern life…
Text by Anna Battista
We live in a society based on producing and consuming and we rarely bother about using our skills to mend or repair things that break down, from electric appliances to small objects or even garments. Yet, in the last few years, we have seen a sort of backlash, with more and more people interested in rediscovering manuality, quality, pieces that last beyond mere trends and genuine craft.
In fashion we have seen a few houses and brands successfully relaunching themselves by emphasising the importance of the high quality handmade pieces in their collections, but we have also seen a reborn fascination with handmade things in other fields and industries.
“Power of Making”, an exhibition currently on at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, aims at discovering the skills and thrills of making.
Curated by Daniel Charny the exhibition looks at a wide selection of objects, techniques and materials proving that, while in some cases a beautiful handmade design like a Barnsby saddle shows the age-old skills of an artisan, other objects such as artificial eyes or technologically advanced prostheses, are perfect examples of how contemporary design can be employed to create innovative inventions to improve our lives.
The exhibition opens right on the door, with David Mach’s Silver Gorilla, a gorilla sculpture made from wire coat-hangers, greeting the visitors and continues with a selection of different objects including bespoke accessories such as Sarah Jane Williams’ surreal L-shaped suitcase, Marloes ten Bhömer’s techno couture shoes made employing rotational moulding and rapid prototying techniques, Kevin Cyr’s realistic die cast miniature van and Dalton Ghetti’s tiny alphabet carved in the graphite of pencil tips.
Fashion design is represented by a variety of objects, including a needlepoint kit by Fendi to personalise the iconic “Baguette” bag, Alexander McQueen’s S/S 2010 “Armadillo” shoes, the “Widow” dress – a piece covered in 100,000 silver pins that tackles issues of identity and vulnerability – created by Susie MacMurray, an orchestral musician turned artist, and Shauna Richardson”s life sized “crochetdermy” bear, an innocuous form of taxidermy carried out by crocheting.
There are also examples of new inventions that may lead to further experimental materials in fashion design, like Heleen Klopper’s nbso online casino reviews wool filler, ideal for mending holes in textiles, the “spray on” dress developed by Manel Torres and Elisa Strozyk’s wooden textiles.
One of the most interesting parts of the exhibition is the one dedicated to 3D printers, products that will revolutionise a lot of things in the near future, thanks to their ability to “print” not a text on paper, but a 3D object in space. The exhibition includes the “Thing-O-Matic” by Bre Pettis, Adam Mayer and Zach Hoeken Smith’ MakerBot Industries, a compact and affordable 3D printer that mainly employs ABS plastic to “print” objects.
All the products showcased in the exhibition are made by adding, subtracting or transforming hard, soft or fragile and ephemeral materials.