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Power of Making - exhibit at the V&A

power of making exhibit at the v&a
power of making exhibit at the v&a
The Victoria & Albert Museum is one of my favourite spots in all of London, so I have to admit I was a little giddy when they invited me to take a sneak peek at their newest exhibition: Power of Making. It has just opened to the public and it’s free to view, so you can stop by to see this curated collection in celebration of all kinds of making. When I say ‘all kinds’ of making, I do mean a wide variety. Like…

baby cake sculpture
…a lifelike baby sculpted from cake and marzipan. Truly. Michelle Wibowo’s work is certainly a whole other level to making a dozen cupcakes.

But there was one item on the list that made all the difference to me. One of the smallest items in the entire exhibition, just nondescript in a little glass case. Teeny-tiny in real life…
pencil sculpture pencil sculpture
This is ‘Alphabet’ by Dalton Ghetti. Tiny and perfectly formed letters carved from the graphite of well-worn pencils. This is every bit as amazing in real life as I had hoped. I have so much respect for both the idea and the skill in crafting this collection. It took nearly three years to complete – such patience and focus.

film quilt
From a distance, this piece looks like a brightly-coloured quilt, but up close you can see the twist in Sabrina Gschwandtner’s work. The quilt is made from film footage from early feminist documentaries and stitched into traditional quilt block patterns, illuminated by a light-box.

paper sculpture
This one is under so many layers of glass that it looks far more lovely in real life than on a photography, but I assume if you read my blog you have at least some sort of appreciate of things made from paper. So how about such a detailed sculpture entirely made from paper? It’s so delicate! See more of Alan and Patty Eckman’s paper work here.

sparkly bicycle
There are many bicycles in the collection – wooden, handcarved, nylon, pedal bikes and superduper motorcycles. But this one! It’s entirely sparkly!

I suppose that doesn’t sound like appropriate commentary like an actual art critic but come on: SPARKLY BICYCLE! What’s not to love?

pow needlework
This piece has such a fab story, stitched by Major A. T. Casdagli while being held as a prisoner of war by the Nazis. He sat and stitched for weeks while in captivity, including various emblems that would then lead his captors to display the completed sampler on the wall. Except they didn’t bother to read the morse code border in the frame, which spelled out a rather defiant message to Hitler himself. Rebel stitchery!

fantastic mr fox
Does this fellow look familiar? He’s one of the handmade puppets from Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox, created by Ian MacKinnon and Peter Saunders. He’s so lush in real life and really seems to have a personality. It’s almost difficult to realise he’s not going to move or say anything!

Power of Making is one of those exhibitions that is best appreciated if you read all the cards as you go through the room. There’s so much insight into not just how people make but also why they make things by hand and how they teach and share the love of making things by hand. There’s a mix of older making techniques like building stone walls to the most modern of making technology like iPad apps and 3D printers. Throughout the exhibit’s run, there are assorted events that bring things even more to life, from a handbag-making workshop to free demonstrations on Fridays and Saturdays. Ben Wilson who made the sparkly bicycle will teach young people how to bling up their own wheels; during half-term there’s a special showing of Fantastic Mr Fox. The overall programme has a great mix of events for kids, hobbyist adults and professional creatives. Power of Making is open at the V&A until the 2nd of January 2012.

And now, a giveaway! I have a bonus copy of the Power of Making book that accompanies the exhibit, filled with essays on different concepts of making and photos of works on this theme. To enter, just leave a comment on this post. If you’re a Twitter user, you can put your name in the hat another time by tweeting this: check out #powerofmaking – the new exhibit @V_and_A (and enter to win a copy of the powerofmaking book!) http://ow.ly/6pFLW

Entries close next Friday (16th September 2011) at midnight UK time.

Good luck!

09 September 2011



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88 Comments for Power of Making - exhibit at the V&A

  1. Judith Says:

    Awesome. I particularly love the pencil alphabet and who wouldn’t love a sparkly bicycle

  2. Mel Says:

    Wow! I need to get me to that exhibition :) I love those pencil sculptures so much – amazing!

  3. Gunvor Says:

    Fabulous! I wish I could take a trip to London and see this with my own eyes. I just loved the tiny alphabet, and the paper sculpture is awesome!

  4. Bernice Says:

    Looks like a great exhibition

  5. Nicola Says:

    Great exhibition, sounds really engaging and thought provoking! xx

  6. KateT Says:

    Love the awesome baby cake and the stitched sampler reminds me of the innovative ways they used to smuggle items into prisoners. All sounds like a very interesting exhibition.

    ** Kate **

  7. Lara Says:

    Wowees! Mr Fox! I so want to go, looks great. x

  8. Natalie Says:

    Oh wow, this sort of exhibit is right up my alley. I do wish that I could zip over to London and see it in person! Thank you for sharing about it here on your blog— such a tantalizing little taste!

    {thank you for the giveaway, too!! :)}

  9. Sarah Says:

    I’m lost for words, it looks like a fabulous exhibition. There are so many good pieces, so exhibitions are all about one or two items, but this looks like a good all rounder.

  10. wendy Says:

    ohhh I am so now trying to work out if I am heading to London any time before it closes! But if I can’t the book would make up for missing it. Thanks Shimelle

  11. Antonia Says:

    Wow! That exhibition looks amazing. Need to get to London for that one, I think. The book would be lovely. Thanks for the chance.

  12. tape Says:

    Love the pencils! And the rebel stitchery.

  13. Tracy W Says:

    Thanks for the heads up – looks like an excellent exhibition.

  14. Tassy Says:

    I have always wanted to go visit this museum, but always failed to do due to heavy time table. I am hoping to make it this time.Thanks for sharing these amazing work!
    Tassy

  15. Dawn Says:

    Fabulous, you’ve got me planning a trip to London now just to see this exhibition

  16. Maxine Says:

    Wow, what an eclectic collection. It’s on my list to see now. I love the sparkly bicycle. Think I need one of those :)

  17. Lisa Says:

    What a great exhibit! If only I were on the other side of the pond to see it. :o)

  18. abbey Says:

    That sounds like a fabulous exhibit and lot of inspiration!

  19. Megan Says:

    What a wonderfully inspirational post! I love seeing and admiring what other people make. Thank you for sharing!

  20. Judi Davis Says:

    Wow. That “pencil alphabet” is amazing. I’m really going to have to try to get down to see this exhibition. TFS. Jude.x

  21. Julia Says:

    Wow those pencils are amazing. So wish I could get down there to visit.

  22. Chris Dawson Says:

    Amazing, I would love such patience

  23. Kelly Says:

    Oh, Shimelle, if you are willing to post it to Canada, please, please pick me. I think I am going to need to stalk the discount airlines so I can find a way to get to that exhibit.

  24. Tagati Says:

    Wow, what a wonderful exhibit. Thank you so much for sharing. It’s truly amazing how creative people are with some very basic materials!

  25. Ruth Says:

    I’m going to hot foot it up to the V&A soon as ~ I love the pencils, but my fave is the embroidery ~ so very brave of Major Casdagli.

  26. Sandy G Says:

    I now have a burning desire to go to the V & A! That exhibition sounds just my cup of tea, will have to see if I can arrange a trip soon.

  27. Tamara Epps Says:

    Wow, that exhibit looks amazing and I’ll definitely be checking it out if I can. I love finding out about other people’s passions and why they do what they do.

  28. CoraLee Says:

    Love the pencil alphabet! Thanks for sharing! :)

  29. Louise Says:

    The V & A holds special memories for me. My nan used to work there so in my teens I used to jump on the tube with my sister and spend many a day wandering around …..It still is my favourite museum xx great post Shimelle xx

  30. Ann Says:

    Well I am sure adding the V&A to do list before this finishes, looks awesome!

  31. Debbie Says:

    Love the embroidery & the pencils, but not the baby cake-a bit creepy for me!

  32. LisaE Says:

    This look so wonderful. The V&A was closed the one free day I had in London years ago. I so hated missing it.

  33. sandie Says:

    What a lovely post – this exhibition looks amazing and well worth a visit.

  34. Tinkersdamn Says:

    Oh how cool! I’m heading up there in a couple of weeks. And yes- sparkly bicycle!!

  35. Rachel H Says:

    Really cool – I wish I could visit! I love the cake baby…amazing!
    Tweeted your link as well…

  36. Sinead Says:

    Oh my goodness…this looks SO cool! Would love to be in Londontown right now to see it:) But the book would be the next best thing! Thanks Shimelle xx

  37. helen Says:

    I so wish we lived nearer London! This looks so fab – thanks

  38. Peta Says:

    Oh, to be able to fly over to the UK to see the exhibit! I loved visiting the V&A when I was living in London.

  39. jimjams Says:

    It’s posts like these that make me wish I lived a whole lot closer to London!
    I’d heard about the subversive stitching on the radio and seen the pencils somewhere on the web – may have to organise a trip to the smoke before January!

  40. Michelle Clement Says:

    Whaaaat – such cool stuff!! I would have been jumping up and down at the Mr. Fox puppet! And I love the rebel stitchery, too. :)

  41. Burberry handbags wholesale Says:

    maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better

  42. Julie Jeavons Says:

    That exhibition will definitely be on my list of things to do if I get to London this year.

  43. Beverley Says:

    how i wsih i could get to LOndon to visit the exhibition, I will certainly include the V&A on my next trip to the UK whenever that might be, :).

  44. Amanda Says:

    Thanks for publicising this. I shall certainly go, maybe twice – once with the kids and once on my own. I can’t believe it’s free.

  45. Mary M. Says:

    Wow! This is so amazingly cool. I wish it would come to a museum closer to me though! Thanks for sharing your photographs!

  46. TiaraHelen Says:

    That’s on my todo list now, it looks great.

  47. Emy Says:

    Thanks for sharing these images with us. The pencil alphabet is amazing and the paper sculpture is so delicate.

  48. Margie S Says:

    I LOVE the V&A. I wish I lived closer. What a fascinating exhibit.

  49. Trudi Says:

    Thanks for bringing this exhibition to my attention. My workplace runs a coach trip to London every December and I think you’ve just solved my question – shall I go or not.
    The amount of work in the exhibits you’ve highlighted is just amazing.

  50. sheena Says:

    Sounds like an exhibition worth traveling to see x

  51. Margot/NZ Says:

    Thanks for sharing these photos of what looks to be an amazing exhibition. Too far to get to from NZ, so to win the book would be wonderful!

  52. Lucy Says:

    What a fantastic exhibit, I’ll have to make sure I see it! I love the V&A, and this exhibit looks amazing and inspiring, and being free makes it even better. Can’t wait to see these things in person!

  53. Barb Says:

    Thanks for sharing it looks impressive – its about time I visited London!

  54. Pat Says:

    Awesome! What a cool exhibit! Just wish I could get to London to see it!

  55. Jackie King Says:

    Thanks for showing this, I just love the V&A but don’t get up to town now. If only more London museums would tour to the provinces…

  56. Mary K. Parker Says:

    Thanks for sharing. I would love to see something like this but am too far away. It would be hard not to spend days at an exhibit of this nature!*

  57. sharon dryjanski Says:

    Thanks Shimelle, this is totally impressive and inspiring. I got view of London without leaving the USA although I must admit I would love to visit merry Ol’ England . I hope to win the book so I can stay creative and inspired.
    Sharon Dryjanski
    imabelieve@yahoo.com

  58. Harriet Hensley Says:

    What amazing and awesome exhibits of these so very talented people.

  59. MelissaTX Says:

    Oh, I would love to win your extra book about this exhibit! I wish we could make a trip to London this fall, but it’s just not in the cards this year, so I’m glad you shared about this exhibit here! :>)

  60. Kimberlee Says:

    I loved the V & A when I was able to visit. It is so fantastic that you got a sneak peek. Totally inspiring.

  61. Carrie K Says:

    what an utterly fascinating exhibit! Im so jealous you got to go in person!

  62. Elaine Says:

    Receiving the book would be next best to being there.

  63. Carly Says:

    The one time that I was in London, my girlfriends and I tried to go to the V&A and it was closed for a benefit. The paparazzi were even out front. I’m going to have to go the next time I’m there. I love The Fantastic Mr. Fox. So lovely.

  64. Daisy Niemeyer Says:

    I would love to live there to see the pencils. Magnificent! :0)

  65. Penny Says:

    Looks incredible may just have to arrange an educational visit for my son as he is just starting his GCSE art and is full off enthusiasm.

  66. Sarah Says:

    Awesome work, thanks for sharing. One day I will get there and have a look see. I have tweeted as well :)

  67. Leslie Says:

    This sounds fab, it would be great inspiration and perhaps would encourage my kids to find their creativity too!

  68. kate bucci Says:

    The V&A is one of my favourite places in London, and this exhibit looks amazing. Apart from Mr Fox, because I really don’t like foxes :)

  69. Karen Says:

    What a brilliant exhibition – just up my street! Thanks for sharing! Best wishes Karen x

  70. Anne Says:

    Looks like a fabulous exhibition – wish I could see it in real life. I particularly love the pencil alphabet and the handstitched sampler – what an amazing story!

  71. Chipper Says:

    Those pencils are wonderful. I wish I had such patience!!!

  72. Melissa Shea Says:

    Hello! Thanks for sharing that exhibit w us! I can hear your wonderful voice guiding us through!

  73. Sabine Says:

    Oh, that is just so perfect! I’m planning a short trip to London in December and I like the V&A-museum and the exhibition sounds very interesting, so I think I’m going to spend some time there! Thank you for the chance to win! :-))

  74. Julie Hearn Says:

    I adore exhibitions like this! If they ever send it to us Down Under I am so there!

  75. Katy Says:

    Thanks for telling us about this Shimelle, it sounds ace! Think I will be heading there for late night opening sometime soon. :)

  76. Heather Says:

    oh wish I could get to London to see this, looks very interesting! :) thanks for sharing

  77. Ani Says:

    Aaah, I want to see this. When does it finish? I have lots of friends going to Uni in London so think I will go up there for my birthday either late October or early November—would be great to catch up over coffee if you’re free at some point then. xxx

  78. Frauke Says:

    Wish I could visit the exhibition, but London is too far away. So I hope I’m gonna win.

  79. Sue Appleton Says:

    OMG that baby cake is just WOW …. love it, what a talent.

  80. lawyerlyn Says:

    this looks very interesting. thanks for the chance to win!

  81. So.Creative Says:

    Wow! Such exhibit are always interesting, I like discovering different arts and cultures from all over the world. (all the same, I must confess that this baby cake is scaring me!!! )

  82. Cheryl T. Says:

    I love the Victoria & Albert Museum. I’ve only been once but it’s so great. There are so many things to see. I love the pencils too. Thanks for the chance! I would LOVE the book.

  83. Suz Gray Says:

    What a fantastic quirky collection. I would love to have the book

  84. Teresa L. Says:

    Wow…would love to see the exhibit…a hooray for the power of making. Thanks for the chance.

  85. Susan Jephson-Jones Says:

    This exhibition looks utterly fascinating. I just wish I lived a few hundred miles closer and could go and see for myself!

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