Derbys sites of interest and Collections
October 20, 2023

I was able to visit the Royal Crown Derby Museum where we were given the tour of the collection by the museums curator Elizabeth Woledge, thanks to fellow resident Hayley Blackwell who organised it. Stand out pieces for me were the eggshell cup and saucer – so delicate literally felt like holding an egg shell, with beautiful dot work and great colour combos – dusty pink and baby blues with gold. And the Dali plate – part of a dinner set he did the design for. Interesting to see surrealism popping up, a movement I am inspired by and like to incorporate aspects if into my making practice.




I popped to the National Stone Centre on route into Derby –  to have a look at the quarry and Geological history of the area – it was interesting seeing the ‘lead’ vein in the rocks, and being reminded of the geological significance of the area, mining and the minerals that we extract and that permeant out lives.




I also visited Derby Museum, which has an impressive collection of  interesting objects form around the world. I was drawn to the amazing wooden head pillows/stands/props as always (I have seen these previously in museum display and they fascinate me – both formally and practically). They are such strange uncomfortable looking objects, I believe designed to support the head when horizontal and when wearing heavy adornment, or an elaborate hairstyle; perhaps they were comfortable and good for posture and spinal alignment, I imagine the rigid position you would have to adopt in order to sleep, the limited movement and the lack of comfort. I love that they are body ‘supports’, they are assistive in their nature and this is something I am interested in more generally – they also hark to the surrealist crutches and supports of drippy fluid and melty subconscious images.

I am also always drawn to amorphous and organic seamless looking shapes and forms – including a beautiful Mate cup shaped from a gourd int he collection.




Surrealism again came up again in the form of local artist Marion Adams 1898-1995 who was a surrealist painter – ‘placing unrelated mysterious looking landscapes, where they took on new life and meaning’ – this very much resonates and it is in tune with my workings and image making – when thinking about performing to camera. Reminding me of the importance of the Surrealist ethos/influence when I am working and how much it permeates and ooozes into my subconscious workings.



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