Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Wellcome Collection, Stained Glass, a Lego Tree and some Chocolate Coins

Between eating and drinking, there was a chance for some cultural activities during the festive period. A few days before Christmas, Mum and I went to London to see Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker at Sadler's Wells. Needless to say, it was phenomenal. On the way we went to the Wellcome Collection - it was our first visit, and somewhere we had both been wanting to go to. The exhibits were brilliant, which is why I have very few images to show. I loved the different display techniques used for each section. The Medicine Now section, which explores medicine since Henry Wellcome's death in 1936 to the present day, used white sterile looking units and bright lighting to display items in different ways, highlighting the nature of science and medicine today. The units had plenty of interactive elements, as well as interpretation which was in-depth and technical enough for visitors such as my Mum, a speech and language therapist.
Medicine Now
Walking into the Medicine Man display area was like stepping back in time, to the world of Henry Wellcome (1853-1936) himself. The room was clad in wood panelling and the lights were low.

Medicine Man
On entering the gallery, we were confronted with a vitrine-like wall, displaying the various glass vessels collected by Wellcome. This was the first of many displays to exhibit the connections between science and 'craft'. This was not an explicit message, but was something which I picked up as I made my way around the room. Without the skill of glass blowers and manufacturers, such unique objects would not have been available to medical men and women. Panels of glass were interrupted by drawers and doors, interactive elements which both entertained and provided protection to light-sensitive objects.

Medicine Man
 There were two other objects which for me showed the link between media we consider craft today, and medicine. First was the Infant Indentification Kit made in the USA c.1925. Today, hospitals use plastic bracelets or ankelets to identify mothers with their babies, but this kit was provided letters and numbers which maternity wards could string together to form identification 'jewellery'.

Infant Identity Kit
I love this Claxton Ear Cap shown below - though imagine there were hundreds of children with protruding ears who hated it! It illustrates the practical uses which textiles can be put to - it may be unsightly (and it's effectiveness questionable) but at least the soft nature of the ribbon would have allowed a degree of comfort.

Claxton Ear Cap, Made in England, 1925-1936
Though very different in purpose and structure, the ear cap reminded me of the Embroidered Surgical Implant I had seen in the Craft Council's exhibition 'The Power of Making' at the Victoria and Albert Museum in November 2011. The machine embroidery was designed by Peter Butcher and made using suture thread. Placed in a patient's shoulder just under the skin, part of which had been lost, it provided something for the surgeon to stitch the patient's tissue to whilst it healed. That something so beautiful yet simple can make such a difference to someone's life is pretty astounding.

Embroidered Surgical Implant, Peter Butcher for Ellis Development

Since studying Sax Shaw I have become a stained glass magpie, stopping to take snaps whenever I see any. This I came across on Maddox Street, between Oxford Street and New Bond Street:
Window, St George's Hanover Square
At the time we were walking by, the sun was going down and the lights inside the church allowed us to see the window in it's intended glory, albeit back to front! Whilst in Bath with my parents, I then came across this window at their favourite deli:

For a final picture, here's our Christmas table. Mum and I got arty with some chocolate coins:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...