Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Student Creative: Judith Allen

We are now half way through the MoDiP creative bursary and it’s been incredibly exciting to see how my project has changed and grown. I applied to the bursary with the goal of wanting to use my practice as an illustrator to tell the stories behind the objects within the museum, drawing on my academic background as an anthropologist. 

Over Christmas I found the project quite challenging and I have to admit I was struggling to find a way to create imagery that told the stories behind the objects in a way that added to what MoDiP already had on offer. However after experimenting with different ideas, making initial sketches of the objects within the collection, and getting feedback from other people on the MA illustration course, I decided to go back to my roots and take a narrative driven approach. 

Initial sketches and ideas for illustrations based on the poems 

I started writing poetry for each decade from the 1920s to present day inspired by objects from those decades within the museum. I wrote my poetry from the perspectives of the people who may have used the objects, exploring what the objects meant to them and the symbolism the objects had in peoples lives. I’ve been particularly interested in exploring the  ideas of collection, kinship and memory, and how the objects we choose to collect and hold on to, may continue to connect us with significant moments in our lives. 

The poems I wrote have then inspired images that show the objects within the museum in use, rather than just being static still life studies – something I was previously doing and wanted to move away from. 

 A work in progress photo of a more developed illustration showing someone using a comb and mirror from the 1920s from the museum collections

I have also drawn on patterns and motifs found on the objects which I have incorporated throughout  my images. For example, for one of my illustrations of the poem, I have incorporated the Art Nouveau floral motif found on one of the hand held mirrors, and the Art Deco shape of several of the combs from the museum collections from the 1920s, throughout the image.
Two of the Art Deco combs from the 1920s from the collections at MoDiP that have inspired this piece
Art Nouveau hand held mirror from the 1920s - also an inspiration for this illustration 

Using this new approach, I am also exploring things I am learning on my masters, using this image as a chance to experiment with different media, collage and  mark-making. 

I’m excited to continue to take this project forward and see how it develops over the next two months!

Student Creative

Judith Allen - MA Illustration

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