I just had the best time making my own film in iMovie! At the V&A we’re doing a b-movie weekend and having people come in, shoot some film in the galleries, and then edit their clips in iMovie (see the results at http://www.youtube.com/vandabmovieweekend).
I shot some film myself last night on my own camera and used a lull in today’s activities to make my own movie: Nightmare Mouse! You can see it on my YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/crazyfilmproductions
The blue stuffed toy starring as the evil nightmare mouse was sewn by me a few months ago, as one of the first things I made on the sewing machine my sister gave us for our wedding present. The hedgehog puppet belongs to my husband!
Lion Rampant tile
A few days ago we bought a very small pumpkin and I spent a couple of hours carving it. I don’t usually like to do faces, so I tried to find a good design that was visually pleasing and semi-Halloween-like, but not using the usual scary face or ghost or haunted house theme. Last year I picked a stylized design of a wheat sheaf and really loved the result, so this year I wanted to do something similarly stylized. I chose a gothic revival image of a lion rampant, from a ceramic tile at the V&A. It’s got a face that’s sort of demon-like, so the Halloween theme is still there, and the claws look pretty fiery and scary. It was a great design to choose because it only had about 7 different areas to cut out but they all had some visual intricacies so I could really test my skill with the knife.
Inked lion rampant on pumpkin
After inking the picture onto the pumpkin (I did it freehand with just a regular ballpoint pen), I got an X-Acto knife (evidently it’s called a Stanley knife here in the UK) and used only the very tip of the blade, scoring cross-hatches in all the areas I wanted to remove. Then I used one of my jewellery files (I probably shouldn’t ever use it for jewellery again!) to gouge out the sections I’d scored. I could have used a vegetable peeler tip, I guess. The little pieces came out pretty easily and I didn’t gouge too deep – about half a centimetre. After I finished the carving, I cut off the top of the pumpkin and scraped out the seeds. Light didn’t show through the design well enough, so I thinned out the wall of the pumpkin from inside with a spoon – much easier than digging deeper into the design.
I did it a few days ago so now it’s starting to wizen a little, but it should still be fine for tomorrow night!
The finished pumpkin - in the daytime
Yesterday I posted about the Flickr Design Challenge at Designerama!, which is happening this weekend at the V&A. Alongside that activity, the digital team is also putting on an SMS wall projection with the help of multi-disciplinary artists Troika.
For the SMS projection, we’ll be asking participants to text a response from their mobile phone to finish the following sentence: ‘If I were a designer, I would design…’ Their responses will be projected onto a wall in the Sackler Centre in an ever-changing formation.
For me there are so many answers I could probably fill up the whole wall:
- an eco-house in the middle of nowhere
- a library with built-in bookshelves to hold all our books
- letterpress greeting cards
- pretty tablecloths and napkins
- a transport system that doesn’t break down
- woodblock prints inspired by Japanese design
- a handbag with the perfect number of pockets
- a drop-dead gorgeous evening dress
- a bed that’s truly comfortable
- a sustainable and organic garden
- a cookbook with delicious recipes and photos to salivate over
- delicate ceramic bowls and cups
- patterns for fabrics
- book covers for children’s books
There are so many things I could add to this list! I’m really looking forward to seeing how visitors respond to this question. I also hope that they realize that when they text their answer, they do understand that being a designer isn’t a totally unattainable thing. They’re already designing many parts of their own lives, sometimes without even realizing it. To imply that they’d have to be a Designer with a capital D in order to create useful and beautiful things will be counter to the whole spirit of the activity. The outcome we hope for is that texting an answer will inspire someone to actually start to create the thing that they say they would design.
Japanese hair comb, 19th century
This weekend, the V&A is hosting Designerama!, an event to celebrate the opening of the new Sackler Centre for arts education. The digital team (that’s me and two colleagues) are hosting the V&A Flickr Design Challenge. We’ll be lending digital cameras to museum visitors and asking them to take pictures of their favourite objects that embody good design, then upload them to the Flickr group we’ve created.
I went around the museum today taking pictures of my favourites to upload ahead of time – like this Japanese silk kimono fabric and this short, squat silver teapot by Christopher Dresser. We’re looking forward to finding out what other people consider the objects that represent good design. I’m sure there will be countless definitions of what people actually consider good design. How do you define good design?