22 June 2014

Mishap at the museum

At Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood - a cavernous place, and dimly lit. Full of interesting toys and objects (like this wave machine, which will turn its cogs on insertion of 20p into the slot) -
My mission was to take photos of "feet and floors" to try to figure out where the museum-maze project might go next. Also I was looking for ...something... to add to The Large Sketchbook.

The perspex cubes that are used as plinths in the display caught my eye - or rather, the way they cast light did, and the interaction of that light with the shadows -

and also the way they repeated and/or chopped up objects nearby, according to the viewing angle -

When it came to the feet-on-floors, I discovered how quickly children could move past the camera -
 and even adults could just about disappear in the low light -
The cafe was brighter, and just look at that psychedelic floor! -

The floor was made by women prisoners at Woking Gaol; the building was opened in 1872 (it was built as a museum for the new working class masses of the area - before the days of compulsory universal education, and after 1922 slowly became a Museum of Childhood through donations of collections of toys).
The floor consists of 6,000 square blocks of just two designs. On the outside of the building are 13 illustrative mosaic panels, carried out by students of the National Art Training School (now the Royal College of Art) and "female students of the South Kensington Museum Mosaic Class". In the 1870s mosaics were thought to be a suitable occupation for women.


Felicity said...

That place has a special place in my heart - the subject of my thesis lives in a box in one of the basement storage rooms!

great photos :)

Jane Housham said...

I think there's 'mileage' in both your way of seeing the plinths and also the vanishing feet. Lovely photos.