Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Student Creative - Rebecca Smith

This year we have three Student Creatives working with MoDiP, we have asked them to introduce themselves. Our second student is Rebecca Smith:

I am currently in my second year studying Architecture at the Arts University Bournemouth and think this opportunity with MoDiP to be a student creative is a fantastic way to understand plastics further and to explore how they can be integrated into my work using the MoDiP collection as a resource.

Materials are a very influential and important part of my work, in particular their form and shape and how they dictate the evolution of a design. Using the MoDiP collection for inspiration, and in particular, some of the lighting items, I will be recreating pieces in more architectural materials, experimenting with detail and size.

 The chosen pieces are:

The next stage of this project will be to visit the collection to look at the pieces in more detail and try to determine how they were constructed and what methods were used to create the textures within the plastics.

Using this research, I will develop a series of lampshades taking the textures further, by integrating them with architectural and construction materials such as concrete, wood and copper. 

I feel this exploratory and hands on approach to recreating some of the pieces will not only test my current skills within making, but push my learning. I wish to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of what MODIP do, and to look into how plastics are used in design. By engaging with the collection from an architectural approach, I hope my work will help students to think more creatively about form, texture and shape, using design in plastics as a starting point, and allowing them to see how this can be taken into a myriad of other disciplines, including architecture and larger scale design projects.

Rebecca Smith
Student Creative

Monday, 16 January 2017

BXL photographic archive #0118

In 2010, MoDiP was donated a large archive of images relating to a single company. Bakelite Xylonite Ltd, also known as British Xylonite Ltd or BXL, was possibly one of the first British firms to successfully manufacture a plastics material in commercial quantities. The company was established in 1875 and after a long history went into liquidation in the late 2000s. The images we have in the collection are concentrated around the 1960s through to the 1980s and show us glimpses of the manufacturing process, products and the company’s employees during this time. We plan to share an image each week to give a flavour of the archive. If you want to see more you can view the whole collection on our website.

This week’s image shows the Darley Dale tool room in the 1920s.

To get a better view of the image and find out more have a look at it on our website

We are still working on the documentation of the archive, some of the images we know more about than others. It would be fantastic if we could fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge, if you know anything about the company or specific images it would be good to hear from you.
Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Friday, 13 January 2017

Did you know? #54

Did you know that all of our past exhibitions are available online?

Threads: plastics wearing well

The word threads has been a slang term for clothing since the 1920s. It also describes the extraordinary variety of textile fibres from which our clothing is made.

From the development of the earliest semi-synthetic fibres in the second half of the 19th century, manufacturers have continued to create and improve the threads from which garments are made. The ability of plastics based fibres to insulate, protect, shape, and enhance the human form is a significant characteristic of the many man-made textiles that exist today.

Innovations in materials in the mid-20th century, such as polyamide and polyester, saw the introduction of easy-care fabrics; those which dried quickly and needed little or no ironing, an attribute which in our busy lives today we still find desirable.

The in-built elasticity of new materials, and the changing image of the ideal body shape led to the creation of supportive, yet comfortable, undergarments. Cheap, readily available, synthetic fabrics meant that high street shoppers were able to emulate the trending silhouettes and styles at budget prices.

New manufacturing techniques and processes have lifted the lid off what is now possible in the clothing industry. Smart fabrics, which help to monitor or enhance the body’s performance, are now commonplace, particularly in the area of sportswear. Infusions of minerals and metals provide added protection in the most extremes of environment. Clothing not only offers the body protection from sports injuries and the elements, but also from work based accidents and incidents.

Plastics often have a bad environmental reputation; the textile industry is able to profit from waste by reprocessing discarded bottles into school uniforms and fleeces.

This exhibition looks at some of the uses of semi-synthetic and synthetic fibres over the last century in everyday and specialist clothing.

Louise Dennis, (Assiant Curator)

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Student Creative: Dorine Bessière

This year we have three Student Creatives working with MoDiP.  Over the next three weeks we will get them to introduce themsleves to you.  First Dorine Bessièr:

I am an MA Commercial Photography student specialising in still life. Having studied
photography, art and drawing for several years in Paris I wish to propose to the MoDiP
museum a project about photographic and illustrative still life composition and colour. I
intend to use plastic toys from the collection to inspire a series of illustrative pictures based
on the theme of The Game.

I plan to use one colourful and playful object per picture. I intend to start from a photograph
that I will then paint numerically on, using the Photoshop software. I also wish to reinterpret
a realistic image and high quality picture by simplifying the colour’s surface through a
numerical treatment. In this work I will challenge the visible. The objective is to simplify the
reading of the image removing details. Through these highly graphic and colourful images I
will highlight the significance of plastic as a material and in turn MoDiP’s collection.

Moreover, this body of work created especially for MoDiP would be closely
related with my ongoing projects and research made through my MA work at AUB. As childhood is a recurrent theme in my work, I will question the concept of the game but also how it is played. As photographing still life is for me a game, I am constructing and deconstructing my set and working on my own as a child discovering my environment.

Here is an example of the kind of work I may produce:  

Dorine Bessière. (2016).
 Oil and vinegar bottles.

Dorine Bessièr

Monday, 9 January 2017

A different view #47

There are many ways to look at the objects in the MoDiP collection.  With this series of posts I want to highlight the interesting views of objects that we may ordinarily miss.  These include the underside of an object, the surface pattern, or traces of manufacturing processes.

Title: Twist and turn activity house
Designer: Unknown
Manufacturer: Early Learning Centre

Object number: AIBDC : 0_6442

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Friday, 6 January 2017

Guess the object

MoDiP has the kind of collection that you may think you are very familiar with. We have objects which we all use every day, and some pieces which are more unusual.

By looking at this distorted image are you able to guess what the object is? What do you think it could be used for?

Post your answer in the comments below or to find the answer click here and you will be taken to the MoDiP catalogue.

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Friday, 23 December 2016

Christmas Closure

MoDiP will now be closed for the Christmas break and will open again 3rd January 2017.

We wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

AIBDC : 004453

The MoDiP team - Susan, Pam, Louise & Katherine