Sending postcards to museums

Friday, August 20, 2010

Last year, when I went to Norwich, I bought some snapshot sets at a second-hand market. I had never seen such things before: little envelopes in which were several snapshot photocards. "How novel," thought I, "I'll buy them!"

I bought sets with pictures of: Shetland, Amsterdam, Niagara Falls, San Remo, Norway and Vienna.

A year later, I have looked at and admired these sets quite enough - but what to do with them? I don't want to just throw them away (that would never do), and charity shops don't seem worthy enough - so I hit on the idea of sending them to relevant museums.

This is a bit foolhardy: museums generally have lots of things in their collections, more than enough, and possibly don't need items they have not solicited. On the other hand, I'm intrigued to see which museums might like the sets. And, so...

I'm sending the Shetland set to the Shetland Museum.

The Amsterdam set go to the Amsterdam Historical Museum.

The Norwegian Maritime Museum receive the 19 images of Norway's coast.

20 photographs of San Remo go to San Remo's Museo Civico

Beautiful photographs of Vienna go to the Wien Museum

And finally, the twelve photographs of Niagara Falls go to the Niagara Historical Museum

I'll let you know what happens.

The French Vogue for bumbags

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How I love the French fashion for wearing bum bags! They're a very useful accessory, of course, and spare the shoulders the ache of a rucksack. And, apparently, they're the height of fashion, with this full page spread I spied in French Elle. It's delightfully endearing that something that went out of fashion in the UK and Ireland remains so in France and other European countries.

And fact fans, in South Africa, the bum bag is called a moon bag. How interesting!

Small Spaces @ V&A Museum

Friday, August 06, 2010

I went to the V&A Museum last week to see Small Spaces, an exhibition of seven small structures built by architects in the V&A's galleries.

It was fascinating. I love small, cosy, cute spaces so the whole idea appealed to me.

The structure I had most wanted to see was a tea-house by Terunobu Fujimori. Raised up on four spindly, tree-branch like legs, you climb a little ladder to enter the teahouse. Inside, the ceiling is covered with tiny pieces of charred wood arranged in a parallel pattern with a simple tea-set. It was utterly charming.

Architects from Mumbai built a structure based on in-between spaces in Mumbai which become home to people in the city. They live in the cracks of the city, between, say, a warehouse and a factory, covering above with a the ceiling of sheet metal and making a home.

Norwegian architects built a four-storey walk-in bookcase, made of smooth Scandinavian wood with two in-built seats covered in animal furs. I wanted to stay there all day reading. Another staircase structure had lots of nooks hidden behind curtains. Climbing it was like my own mini-drama: what would be behind each drape?

In addition to the structures, models and drawings of structures that were not made were on display. I loved an Austrian architect's structure which would have had people walking on grains, with small pools of water around them and gently swaying stalks of wheat and barely suspended from the ceiling.

I also loved a structure in which you lie face down on the floor in a dug out groove, with a small screen under your eyes which shows someone else's viewpoint as they walk around the museum. It was a real shame this was not built, I really hope it will be.

The exhibition showed how architecture affects us all, making us smile, making us unhappy, and inspiring our curiosity.

Caroline Irby's A Child from Everywhere

Monday, August 02, 2010

I went last weekend to see Caroline Irby's A Child from Everywhere at the V&A Museum of Childhood.

Juan from Chile, by Caroline Irby

In her project, photographer Caroline Irby found children from 185 of the world's countries who are now living in the UK.

Nadine from Egypt, by Caroline Irby
I'm always a fan of 'someone from every country' style projects, so I admire Caroline Irby's spirit. The resulting photographs are wonderfully expressive, capturing some of the personality of each child and their fascinating life stories.

14 of these photographs are on display at the V&A until the end of August, accompanied with films and short interviews with some of the children.

Happily, the films, made for Channel 4 can be seen online here, and all the photographs, taken for The Guardian, can be seen here. Additionally, these articles on the project from The Times and Junior magazine make interesting reading.