It is not often that an opportunity arises that is so incredible and exciting that you can’t believe your luck - but being a member of CreateVoice certainly goes some way to improving your chances of such opportunities. I September, the V&A's youth board and Museum Director Martin Roth were invited to visit the studios of the inspirational British sculptor Antony Gormley.
From an early age I have always been inspired by the unrelenting, dynamic and beautiful sculptural work of Gormley. The sculptor is arguably most recognised for his work; ‘Angel of the North’ – erected in 1998. What struck me immediately when entering the gates of Gormley’s studio, was the impenetrable grandeur and finesse of the building. This converted warehouse designed by architect David Chipperfield, was vast both in its external presence on this unassuming quiet backstreet, as well as inside. The cavernous, hangar-like space inside, was meticulously designed to provide the artist and his team of assistants with the most amount of natural light possible.
They say that you should “never meet your heroes”. This phrase is often used as a gentle warning, discouraging enthusiastic youths from meeting their idols, in fear of being let down. Luckily for CreateVoice, meeting Antony Gormley himself only served to further expose him as the engaging, accommodating and passionate artist we have always admired. Gormley and his assistant generously took us on a tour around his studios - from the vast exploratory studio spaces, to rooms filled with previous experimental works as well as to his intimate office space which was crammed with natural forms, sculpture maquettes and artists books.
Gormley took the time to explain the processes behind his sculptural pieces both past and present and both in logistical terms as well as the thought processes behind the concept. His practice has always manifested itself around the human form. As Gormley discussed the concepts, his articulation and understanding of the human form (from its physiological associations to the biological and psychological renderings of it) was mind blowing. His passion and commitment to his practice was overwhelming and yet he took the time after the tour to engage with the members of CreateVoice individually. For me, meeting Antony Gormley was one of the most incredible experiences I have had with CreateVoice to date. For me, Gormley cemented his position as a committed, groundbreaking and inspirational artist whose dedication and commitment to people is as strong as his practice.
For the last few years at the Victoria & Albert Museum the Fashion Festival for young people has become a strong favourite with young visitors. The time of the year has rolled round again, and CreateVoice (alongside the Learning team) have put together a fantastic programme for young people interested in the fashion industry and the careers within it. This year’s event is set to be really interesting, with plenty of creative opportunities as well as industry advice.
The day includes: insights from ASOS; Henry Holland in conversation; demonstrations from MAC; Hollywood and LFW favourite Maria Grachvogel; the V&A's Fashion curator Oriole Cullen; trend predicting with Pentland Brands; fashion photography with Anomalous Visuals; fashion legend Julianna Sissons; tutors from London College of Fashion; the British Fashion Council and NEWGEN, and many more…
Come down to the V&A this Saturday, 19th October from 11am-5pm to get involved inthe amazing array of events!
Follow the FashionFest blog here, and get involved on Twitter using the #fashionfest13 hashtag - if you can't be there on the day, this is a great way to keep up to date with what's going on!
CreateVoice members have been lucky enough to meet some of the world's top designers and artists thanks to the special visits and bespoke workshops that are organised just for us. Back in June we were all invited for a chat and a presentation by the Toshiba Japanese Ceramics artist in residence at the V&A, Keiko Masumoto.After graduating from the BA and MA Ceramics programmes at Kyoto City University of Art, Keiko has visited various organisations to
showcase her work as a lecturer, artist in residence and exhibitor.
presentation she narrated how she went on to develop her style - characteristically producing beautiful ceramic artworks moving between the boundaries of two and three dimensions, each one playing with the viewer’s
perception and twisting their imagination. What was
strikingly charming about her pieces was the seamless and flawless final look
of the finished product that gave each object a surreal feel, making you ask: 'how did she do that?'
kind enough to answer lots of questions at the end of the session and gave us
some valuable insight into the challenges she faces with some larger pieces of
ceramic work and how she goes on to conquer them. Most of her
designs are inspired by nature and try to mix the inanimate with the animate. Personally, I was left with a sense of awe
and surprise each time I saw a new piece from her portfolio that she presented
to us. My favourite was a piece which comprised of a flock of birds flying in the sky; some were painted onto ceramic plates whilst others were three dimensional pieces of ceramic themselves, flying alongside each other.
Keiko will be based at the V&A’s Ceramics Studio
at the V&A until the end of September 2013.
You can find the dates of open studios, and more information about the residency programme here
Keiko also has a website and a blog. The video below is also a great insight into some of her works.
On Friday 19th
July I had the day of any fashionista’s dreams. I was given the opportunity to
volunteer for ‘Fashion in Motion’; a series of live catwalk events that take
place within the beautiful backdrop of the V&A itself. Previous designers
featured at the event include Alexander McQueen, KENZO and Stephen Jones. I was
incredibly excited by the prospect of volunteering for this summer’s featured
live series of catwalks from the brilliant designer Jenny Packham. I had heard
of Jenny Packham before the day of the event, from snippets in fashion
magazines on high society figures such as the Duchess of Cambridge, and
celebrities like Taylor Swift. Nevertheless, I had never in a million years
dreamed that I would be able to have a first hand experience of Jenny Packham’s
collection on a catwalk, therefore I was both thrilled and a little nervous by
the prospect of taking part on the day.
I was scheduled to help on three catwalk
shows, at one o’clock, three o’clock and five o’clock; however I arrived at the
V&A early in the morning to be instructed on my the schedule of the day.
All the volunteers were instructed to dress in black (I opted for a classic
little black dress), and on our arrival we were each given amazing vibrant
orange fascinators to perch on top of our heads. These proved very popular with
the museum visitors, who requested not only to take pictures, but also try on
the little hats! After being told our duties of the day, to guide visitors to
their seats, and provide any audience assistance throughout the fashion show;
we took a seat on the front row to watch the run through of the show.
When I say that the dresses were stunning,
I mean that they were some of the single most beautiful garments I have ever
seen, and taking them down the catwalk in the V&A’s gorgeous Raphael
gallery brought the dresses to life. All the volunteers were in complete awe as
the models sauntered down the catwalk, every dress in the collection another
stunning highlight of Jenny Packham’s collections from 1988 to today. It was
After the run through, it was time to assist
with the real thing. Visitors from all walks of life arrived; be it friends of Jenny
Packham herself, to the general public, who would not normally be able to gain
access to such a glamorous retrospective catwalk if it was not for this
brilliant free event. As the fashionable audience took their rows, guided by
myself and the other volunteers; the lights went down, the music came on, and
the catwalk began. The show went like a dream, the entire audience was
captivated, with sighs of ‘ooh’, and ‘ahh’, as each glittering, floaty and
perfectly crafted number was paraded down the catwalk. Everyone had their favourite piece, but mine was the duck egg chiffon opening gown,
complete with its sparkling neckline and sharply nipped in waist (above left).
The shows flew by, every one paying
rightful homage to Jenny Packham’s incredible collection, and running smoothly
(aside from one little trip over by a model!). Before I knew it I had helped
with the three shows, and it was the end of my day.
I will never forget my day
volunteering for Fashion in Motion. If I don’t have the same opportunity to
help next year, I will certainly visit the event itself; it is so
fantastic for the general public to be allowed entry to the so often elite
world of high fashion. Set in the simply stunning backdrop of the Raphael
gallery, I cannot imagine a more beautiful place and manner to display such
For more information on Fashion in Motion, click here.
CreateVoice also recommends the short film about the event, available to watch on the V&A Channel here.
CreateVoice member Nicola Bligh gives an insight into the temporary exhibition running in the sometimes-missed Theatre and Performance galleries on the third level of the museum.
I cannot recommend enough the fantastic
temporary exhibition in Room 104 of the V&A.
Entitled ‘Music Hall: Walter Sickert and the Three Graces’, it has opened my
eyes to the mesmerizing world of the Music Hall; a cultural pinnacle of times
gone by that unfortunately no longer features in contemporary society.
I am personally fascinated by all aspects
of Theatre and Performance, a passion that I have embraced during my recent
Create Tour training in The V&A’s amazing galleries. This exhibition allows
me to gain insight into the fascinating, and somewhat hidden, history of a side
to Theatre that I had previously been unaware. The enchanting world of the
Music Hall was a staple in bygone eras, in a time when there was no social
media websites such as Twitter to allow the public to provide a critique of
society. The venue of the 19th Century Music Hall allowed both the
performers and the public to take tongue in cheek look at the world; the
subjects of performances could be cheeky, crude or downright rude! Performances
could be based on rather silly ideas, such as ‘The Simple Pimple’ song made
famous by George Robey, about a girl with a recognizable pimple on her nose.
Such lighthearted entertainment was not to be found in the theatre of the day,
where the Lord Chamberlain censored and approved every play. The Music Hall
became an outlet for uncensored performances that would not be allowed in the
As Music Halls were
not necessarily deemed respectable, this was mirrored in the audience attracted
to the venues. The middle classes, with their sensibilities, did not enter the
perceivably vulgar establishments. Instead, the crowd was predominantly the
working class with increasing amounts of expendable income. This provides an
insight into the changing industrialized society, allowing not only for a more
affluent working class; but the Music Hall demonstrated the emancipation of
women. Women were not just the subject of performances, but also performers
themselves; and often became huge stars. Marie Lloyd (below) drew in big crowds
due to her expanding fame, becoming a celebrity from both her performance and
her strike action for increased performers wages, in 1907.
This glittering world of the Music Hall
reached in peak in the 20th Century, where vast audiences were drawn
to the 500 Music Halls around the country to sing along and enjoy the infamous
tunes. The fabulous world of the Music Hall drew in a young Walter Sickert,
whose stunning depictions of Bedford Music Hall can be viewed in the
Exhibition. Sickert saw the Music Hall as a never-ending source of artistic
inspiration, not only capturing the performance, but the audience,
architecture, and female stars. These fabulous pieces depict the culture of the
Music Halls, as they grew and expanded to attract greater audiences around the
However, if like me you have never had the
opportunity to experience the Music Hall, it is because sadly they have
diminished. The unique experience of the Music Hall has been lost, with its
crude humour, excitable crowds, alongside engaging songs and dances. But all is
not lost, due to the removal of the need for the Lord Chamberlains censorship
in 1968 there is more opportunity to feature a vast variety of performance on
the stage, so less of a desire for the outlet of the Music Hall. Nevertheless,
a trip back in time to experience the heyday of the fantastic highs of the
Music Hall is a must. Thus through immersing yourself in this brilliant
exhibition at The V&A, you can convince yourself that you really have
stepped back in time to relive the glory days of the Music Hall.
‘Music Hall: Sickert and the Three Graces’
Exhibition displayed until 5th January 2014, Room 104
More information about the Music Hall culture here and here
Words: Nicola Bligh
Image one: W. R. Sickert, The New Bedford, 1915/6, The Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate Borough Council
Image two: Marie Lloyd, image courtesy Victoria & Albert Museum
Now that most of CreateVoice have finished exams and university for the summer, things are about to get pretty busy for the team! We're in planning for some really exciting events, so watch this space! In the blog's little break for exams, we hit a milestone - the blog is one year old! First up is Rupinder Garcha, who attended the press view of the Club to Catwalk exhibition on behalf of CreateVoice.
I was lucky enough to attend the press preview for the Club
to Catwalk exhibition, now running until February 2014. The press preview, held
just three weeks after the initial installation of the exhibition, offered a
great opportunity to hear first-hand about the exhibition from lead curator, Claire Wilcox.
Club to Catwalk is the V&A’s first exhibition and major
exploration into 1980s fashion and design. The exhibition successfully communicates
the decade as being a time when the fashion industry in London really
flourished; 1984 saw the first ever London Fashion Week and two years later we
had the first Clothes Show Live. During the 1980s, London became a city world
renowned as a place where the fashion scene was rapidly ahead of its time. The
exhibition focuses on the relationship between club and catwalk style, and successfully
pays homage to both well-known designers of the era such as Vivienne Westwood,
and also those who were less well known.
A thematic exhibition, Club to Catwalk covers two floors and is
located in the centre of the fashion gallery (Room 40). The top floor is
arranged by sub-sects of fashion groups such as Goths, Ravers and Glam-Fetish. This grouping allows for a
good understanding of how the eclectic fashion which could be found at emerging
club nights at venues such as Camden Palace, became a source of inspiration for
fashion students of the leading art colleges who mostly populated these nights,
as well as feeding into the creative output of the already established design
houses in London at the time. The top floor also has a small walk through, where
two walls are decked with a number of screens showing a loop of visuals from
some of 80s London’s most renowned clubs. This was accompanied by a soundtrack,
all created by DJ, producer and visual artist Jeffrey
Downstairs, the exhibition is split into showcases designated
to either a specific designer or important clothing advances, such as Katherine
Hamnett’s crumpled cotton t-shirts, which acted as a platform for anti-war and
green political ideas. There is also some less obvious photography on one of
the walls and a second video on loop. Again, the symbiotic relationship between
music and fashion which was so important during the 1980s is effectively
Exhibition highlights would include Zandra Rhodes’ Jacket (copy of original), 1986, t-shirts
by Katherine Hamnett and the whole BodyMap
section! The exhibition is a testament to 1980s fashion being more
than just shoulder pads - a definite must see.
Club to Catwalk runs until 16th February 2014
Image 1:detail of Yasmin, Derek Ridgers, circa 1984
Image 2:Wool suit, Fallen Angel S/S 1986, John Galliano, given by Bouke de Vries, museum number T.223&A-1989 (click for details) (image courtesy of Victoria & Albert Museum)
Image 3:Denim jacket, Levi Strauss & Co, customised by Leigh Bowery for Blitz Magazine, museum number T.525-1997 (click for details) (image courtesy of Victoria & Albert Museum)
Image 4: 'Peacock eye' dress, Modern Classics (Willy Brown), museum number T.19-2012 (click for details) (image courtesy of Victoria & Albert Museum)