04 July 2017

Drawing Tuesday - V&A 20th century gallery

Sitting on a bench at the side of the room, in low lighting conditions, I spotted "interesting shapes" on a length of fabric in the vitrine - this is a closeup and doesn't show what I saw. I saw the black shapes, and the background - but not the grey, not even from close to!

Once I'd drawn the black shapes I traced a couple and transferred them to the next page, making a pattern repeat (seated on the comfortable bench). Then I went back to the source and re-examined the shapes, getting the proportions more exact ... and discovered the white patterning on the grey background.

The fabric is Trees by Eileen Hunter, 1933. The V&A has several fabrics by Eileen Hunter (some with images on the website). A self-taught textile designer, Eileen Hunter (b.1912) was an ardent campaigner against pale and dreary colours in the 1930s, when most textile designers and manufacturers avoided bright colours. From 1933 to 1939 she ran her own firm in London and marketed her own designs (with outlets in Paris, Amsterdam, New York, and Canada). The fabrics were block printed by Warner & Sons.
I didn't start over in an attempt to re-create the block for this fabric, and some of my shapes suffered from needing to fit onto the page, but enjoyed trying to get the spirit of the piece.
 At home I added "a grey layer", experimenting with various intensities of soluble graphite. (The horse is from a plate designed by John Armstrong, part of Clarice Cliff Bizarre Pottery, similar to this one. I'm distressed to discover how many items on display in the museum don't have illustrations in the online catalogue.)
Further development included taking out the lines around the white shapes as much as possible, using an eraser liberally in the areas meant to be white (they got amazingly grey from inadvertent rubbing off from the 7B pencil) and adding black to some of the floating shapes -


Michelle stopped on the way to the gallery to draw this Asian sculpture ... something about the expression caught her eye -
 Joyce found a stack of curvaceous drawers -
 Judith took the pattern from a Russian plate -
 Sue lamented that chairs have a way of not quite fitting conveniently onto the page -
 something that Mags found too -
 whereas Carol's chairs were more well-behaved -

Extracurricular activities

Following on from her drawing of the staircase at the Wellcome, Judith used paper shapes and soluble crayons to reinterpret the form -
Mags had been to a weekend workshop that involved binding together various single-sheet folded books with "invisible piano hinges" -

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