Power of Making at the V&A

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Dezeen_Power of Making1

London Design Festival 2011: cakes decorated like creepily realistic babies and pencils with the alphabet painstakingly carved into their tips are among the exhibits at power of Making, which opened at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London yesterday. 

Power of Making at the V&A

Top: Alphabet by Dalton Ghetti, 1990-2005 © Sloan T. Howard Photography
Above: Sculpted baby cake by Michelle Wibowo, 2006, © Michelle Sugar Art

Organised in collaboration with the Crafts Council and curated by Daniel Charny, the show also includes work by Thomas Heatherwick and shoe designer Marloes ten Bhömer.

Power of Making at the V&A

Above: Crochetdermy Bear by Shauna Richardson, 2007, © Shauna Richardson

Over 100 hand-made curiosities on show range from surgical equipment to musical instruments to art objects.

Power of Making at the V&A

Above: Rotationalmouldedshoe by Marloes ten Bhömer, 2009, © Marloes ten Bhömer

Read Alastair Sooke's review of the exhibition in our Dezeen Wire story.

Power of Making at the V&A

Above: Blonde Lips headpiece by Charlie Le Mindu, 2009, © Manu Valcarce

The exhibition runs until 2 January 2012.

Power of Making at the V&A

Above: Anemone trilby hat by Sylvia Fletcher, James Lock & Co. Ltd, 2010-11, © James Lock & Co. Ltd

Here are some more details from the V&A:


Power of Making
A V&A and Crafts Council exhibition
6 September 2011 - 2 January 2012

This autumn, the V&A and Crafts Council will celebrate the role of making in our lives by presenting an eclectic selection of over 100 exquisitely crafted objects, ranging from a life-size crochet bear to a ceramic eye patch, a fine metal flute to dry stone walling. Power of Making will be a cabinet of curiosities showing works by both amateurs and leading makers from around the world to present a snapshot of making in our time.

Power of Making at the V&A

Above: King Silver’ gorilla sculpture by David Mach RA, 2011, ©Private Collection, photographer Richard Riddick

The exhibition will showcase works made using a diverse range of skills and explore how materials can be used in imaginative and spectacular ways, whether for medical innovation, entertainment, social networking or artistic endeavour. Works on display will include moulded shoes by Marloes ten Bhömer, new Saville Row tailoring by Social Suicide, furniture such as a spun metal rotating chair by Thomas Heatherwick to individual handcrafted puppets from the 2009 film Fantastic Mr Fox, a six-necked guitar, bio-implant embroidering to aid surgical implants, a lion-shaped Ghanaian coffin, extreme cake decorations and new technologies such as 3D printing.

Power of Making at the V&A

Above: Urban picnic table by Gareth Neal, 2010, © Gareth Neal Ltd

Daniel Charny, who is curating the exhibition, said: “This exhibition will celebrate the importance of traditional and time-honoured ways of making but also highlight the extraordinary innovation taking place around the world. We aim to show how the act of making in its various forms, from human expression to practical problem solving, unites us globally. We hope the exhibition will inspire people and cause them to more thoughtfully consider the role of making in their lives, in their society, in commerce and in education.”

Power of Making at the V&A

Above: Widow dressmaker pin dress by Susie MacMurray, 2009, Loaned by Manchester Art Galleries, © Ben Blackall 2011

Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director, Crafts Council said: “The Crafts Council and V&A partnership is a very fruitful one, enabling the development of ambitious contemporary craft exhibitions that are seen by very significant audiences. Power of Making is our second partnership exhibition and will focus on the universality of making. Over 100 hand-made objects from around the world will reveal the ingenuity of makers and highlight the influence of craft skills in a multitude of settings and across many industries.”

Power of Making at the V&A

Above: Picking Daisies glass hand grenade by Layne Rowe, 2011, © Layne Rowe

There will be a recently completed work by David Mach, a giant gorilla created of metal coat hangers, which will stand in the V&A’s Grand Entrance, outside the Porter Gallery.

Power of Making at the V&A

Above: God Save the King, F*** Hitler by Major A. T. Casdagli RAOC, 1941, © Captain A. T. Casdagli

The exhibition will encourage visitors to consider the process of making, not just the results. There will be commissioned documentary footage filmed at individual maker’s studios and factories, to provide an insight into how the knowledge of making is preserved. These will include Watson Bros. Gunmakers, CPP car makers in Coventry, John Lobb shoemakers and Moorfield Hospital’s prosthetic eye maker. There will also be a dedicated ‘Tinker Space’ for demonstrations and a wide programme of activities for visitors.

Power of Making at the V&A

Above: a Prosthetic Suit for Stephen Hawking with Japanese Steel by Michael Rea, 2007, © Contemporary Art Museum Virginia Beach

People from around the world will be invited to upload short films about making to a dedicated open submission website and a selection of the best entries will be continually screened in the exhibitions making area.

Power of Making at the V&A

Above: Miniature die cast ‘Chevy Van’ by Kevin Cyr, 2010, ©Kevin Cyr

Power of Making comes at a time when the loss of skill is threatening cultural practice and impacting on commercial industries. However, there is also a resurgence of making currently taking place as a means of self expression, social participation and cultural definition. The exhibition will examine and celebrate the expertise, knowledge and innovation demonstrated in objects, supporting the importance of traditional making skills and the drive towards new ways of working.

Power of Making is the second exhibition in the V&A/Crafts Council partnership.

6 September 2011 – 2 January 2012 in the Porter Gallery
Open daily 10.00 – 17.45 and until 22.00 every Friday

  • xtiaan

    whilst the net cant compensate for seeing actual physical objects in "real life", I do think curators (and print media) need to take into account the fact that by the time they have organised their exhibition (or printed their mag) popular content has been blogged a million times.
    The only thing i havent seen before from the above is the embroidery, and thats only because nazi cross stich isnt my cup of tea, but kudos to them for finding and presenting it.

    • http://www.starcruzer.com Mr J

      Screen images only go so far, and it's reality that's the thing, particularly with items that are more than 2D imagery.

      For 3D work like this, the chance to go visit a curated physicality is hugely beneficial. Even if you feel you have seen them before, you really haven't until you've gone up close with all your senses operating – though if the 'don't touch' rule applies, so that's one sense down!

    • felix

      how could they account for this really?

    • Thor

      It is the context of the whole exhibition that makes it very interesting (as with most curated exhibitions and books), it is not claiming to be unveiling hidden gems. If you would go to the exhibition you would also find very interesting videos, workshops, tutorials and talks.
      The object you call "nazi cross stitch" is in fact "anti-nazi cross stitch" and is quite remarkable, made by a prisoner. (more about it here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/sep/0

  • http://Www.jrharris.co.uk Joe

    The needle work you are referring to includes a subversive message in morse code and is very defiantly not Nazi – hence the title.

  • David

    Actually I had seen most of it too, but it's still a very interesting show. Are you suggesting galleries and museums are becoming superfluous? The fact that you've dismissed the embroidery without understanding it actually says a lot about how much you take in from images compared to the real thing.