Friday, 18 May 2012

A Woolly Jubilee

I spent some time in London last week for a V&A conference on British Design... more on that later. In the meantime, with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee looming, here is what I found at Reading Museum.

Beautiful original architecture of the Town Hall
A Wendy Ramshaw installation above the entrance foyer
A fantastic display of Jubilee memorabilia

I grew up near Reading and never knew it had a museum. I often find that local museums can be over-looked in favour of major national museums, especially when you live within easy access of a major city such as London. What the Reading Museum proved was that, if you take the time, you can find some real gems right on your doorstep. Whilst at the museum I heard a curator mention that they were applying for HLF funding to renovate the ground floor galleries - something which is really needed, though staff have made the best of what they have.

In an upstairs gallery was a revelation: a whole room devoted to the pots of Alan Caiger-Smith. Caiger-Smith set up a collaborative pottery at Aldermaston in 1955, which continued to operate until 2006. His own work makes beautiful use of lustre-ware. Not only were the potters' works outstanding, but it was a rare opportunity to experience a gallery entirely devoted to one artist/maker.

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