Starting out by Jane Pugh

We are a newly formed artist group with a varied range of skills and practice. We all live locally. We are interested in working towards an exhibition that seeks to relate objects in the Bankfield collection to everyday objects owned by local people. We are seeking the ‘secret’ lives of everyday objects by asking questions around ownership, use, meaning and significance.

I would like to address these issues:

  • Ideas around objects
    • their histories and what they have meant to people’ their ‘emotional life’
    • consumerism and what gets thrown away
  • Possible areas of group interest:
    • domestic fabrics, toys (Karen)
    • dyes/dyeworks (Jean)
    • natural history collections (Edie)
  • Theoretical approaches
    • Challenging the idea of exchange for money
    • Investigating the life of objects, people’s interpretations, relationships with them
    • Reflecting on the ideas of objects as being both static/one-dimensional and only interpretable by a single person
    • Investigating the idea that objects have an existence in their own right, not contingent upon human perception ie object/object interaction as contrasted with human/object interaction

The Secret life of Objects

I am really looking forward to this journey to explore the secret life of objects from Bankfield Museum. My starting point is to look, photograph, sketch and make notes. I have already visited twice to look at items on view and so far I have found three treasures, but I am hoping that I may find others, as one is on loan from the National Embroiderers Guild Collection, and so not technically part of the Bankfield collection.

The first object I found in a glass case in a corner of the Temporary Exhibition Gallery. It was a tea cosy embroidered and beaded with designs of leaves, flowers, butterflies and fanciful shapes. I liked the boldness of the shapes, the brightness of the beads against the dark velvet, the liveliness of the design and the flamboyant naivety. This could be the one.

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My second visit was to the Exquisite Threads exhibition. I chose a pair of gloves as mentioned above, the first item ever catalogued in the National Embroiderers Guild Collection. I made notes and a drawing in my sketchbook.

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The third was a pair of pockets embroidered with tulips and, I think, roses; one with a two handled, checkerboard pot and the other with a heart. These also had a clue to the maker/owner as they have initials!

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I also photographed a few garments and I am particularly drawn to the long, embroidered waistcoat/sleeveless coat, which has great style.

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At this stage I feel further visits to the museum and further work in my sketchbook will be needed before I move on.

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