Saturday, 25 June 2011

A trip to the Royal College of Art Final Degree Show

At Herts, there are only two part-timers in my year on the Contemporary Applied Art course.  Debbie is a jeweller and I am a textile artist.  We decided to have a trip out before I left and met up in Kensington to go to the RCA final degree show.

This was a very worthwhile trip.  There was a lot of fantastic designed work to see, but the 4 that stick in my mind were knitted evening dresses, print on neoprene, moving wire "jewels", and objects made from reconstituted orange peel.  Obviously you can't take photos at a final degree show, so I'll just have to describe them - and I omitted to note the students names!  Debbie was very interested in the way that the objects had been staged - lots of them were able to be viewed from all sides which is important for garments.  I can see Debbie going into curating exhibitions after her degree. When the maker was with their work, quite a few would pick up the work and allow you to handle it, which surprised me. 

The knitted evening dresses had fine chain knitted into them and were quite stretchy. One had cascades of fine chain coming from the shoulders, another had the chain forming the skirt from thigh level.  They were quite heavy, beautiful and the feel was surprisingly tactile and delightful.  The print on neoprene (wetsuit fabric) could start a whole new trend in sportswear if the designer can resolve the attribute that the print is not yet waterproof.  She has the design and ideas for other applications, but in my opinion, if she can resolve waterproofing, there is money to be made in watersport applications. 

I thought the moving jewels were "best in show".  Fine wire had been used to form 3D diamonds which had been linked together in a line to make a necklace of about 30 jewels.  This was mounted on a mechanical rotator, hidden in a wall-mounted box.  There was a tray of soapy water beneath, through which the bottom of the necklace was dipped.  It was top lit by a tiny spotlight, and as the necklace rotated, the soapy water caught the light.  Absolutely brilliant.

The recycled orange peel was being formed into 3D objects.  Apparently spent orange peel is a major environmental problem by-product, from the juice industry.  So this artist had experiemented with drying and grinding it, forming it into a malleable substance with the addition of some other product (not sure what) and forming new objects.  The demonstration objects were various juicers.  Very imaginative.

A lovely day out.

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