Wednesday 25 May 2022

Final blog post from MoDiP’s Student Creative, Lisa Moro

Welcome to my final blog post where I am pleased to show my final outcome, ‘Hidden Workings’ for this project working with the MoDiP collection.

I wanted to continue my previous practice using augmented reality for the work and have focused on three items from the collection. I chose these on the basis of my ability to produce a 3D scan of the object and the potential for there to be a further story about their use.

The three objects I ultimately chose to work with are a sewing box, an iron, and a bento box.

I have an interest in domestic work and its status in society as women’s work, and I was interested in contrasting the value of the designed object with the work that the object is facilitating. 

For each object I have created a related scene which depicts the less recognised hidden work which is vital to the existence of that product.

Each of these scenes have been placed inside the relating product so the scene becomes it’s ‘inner working’. This provides an immediate novelty aspect to the work which I intend to make the work accessible but with deeper meaning.

See How They Work VR installation - Iron
Image credit: Lisa Moro

See How They Work VR installation - Bento box

Image credit: Lisa Moro

See How They Work VR installation - Sewing box

Image credit: Lisa Moro

My installation can be seen via an Apple device - an iphone or ipad, by scanning the QR code.

I have made a small version of this installation where the collection items are close to life size, this indoor version can be viewed on a table top.

See How They Work - indoor version

In addition I have made an outside version where the scenes are life-sized instead and the collection items are huge. 

See How They Work - outdoor version

See How They Work VR installation at St Clements Churchyard Boscombe

You can see the objects I used for this project on display in the cases outside the museum until 13th June 2022.

Lisa Moro
BA Fine Art

Wednesday 18 May 2022

BIC 4 colour pen, part 2

Following on from last week’s blog post about the BIC 4 colour pen, this week Tracey Pawley, from AUB Finance, has written about her recollections of this classic plastic design.


I owned my first BIC 4-colour pen in the mid-80s. My family moved house just before my ninth birthday and with that came a change in school. My previous school was very old-fashioned and once we had progressed from pencil to pen, all writing was done in a traditional font using a refillable fountain pen - often leaking ink all over our hands, desks and pink blotting paper. My new school felt so bright and modern in comparison, and I was to now use a biro in the classroom. I purposefully altered the way I wrote some letters to embrace the change. To go from one to four colours at a click felt somewhat exotic. Unlike the 10-colour pen, which I dabbled with at one point, the BIC 4-colour was a perfect size for my grip, and had the balance of offering multiple colours, but not too many.

Some of my BIC 4-colour pens.
Image credit: Neil Pawley

Both the feeling and sound of the click as you change colours are very reassuring and pleasing to me to this day. Basically, the 4-colour BIC was a precursor to both fidget toys and ASMR, all rolled into one handy, colourful package that you can write or draw with!

Although some of the designs BIC offers nowadays are stunning, the classic blue will always be my favourite. My husband Neil shares my love of nostalgia and included one in my Christmas stocking some years ago now – the first 4-colour pen I had owned in over 25 years. My collection expanded from one to seven in one fell swoop about three years ago. My work buddy Vicky had bought a 6-pen set in a holder shaped like one of the pens for her daughter and, on seeing my longing for one too, made a return trip to Asda to pick one up for me. Sadly, the holder (which had a unicorn on it) didn’t survive me dropping it, but I have an Instagram post for posterity. I bought myself an eighth pen, in bright yellow, just recently for no reason other than yellow things make me happy and it reminds me of a daisy.

Instagram photo of my unicorn holder, taken in the old finance office at AUB.
Image credit: Tracey Pawley

As well as the smaller blue pen I keep in my handbag, I have several 4-colour pens in the kitchen for jotting down shopping lists or updating our calendar, another two or three in the living room with various puzzle books, and - although AUB Finance is now paper-free - I always have the rest of my pens to hand on my desk for jotting down to-do lists or notes, or for multi-coloured doodling. They stand in a silicone cat pencil case, a gift from my work chum, Sally. It must be said I have terrible handwriting, but I don’t blame that on my choice of pen.

Tracey Pawley has worked in AUB Finance for 6 years and is one half of a performance and sound art duo called Language, Timothy!

Wednesday 11 May 2022

BIC 4 colour pen, part 1

I really enjoy using my BIC 4 colour pens.

My collection of BIC 4C pens.
Image credit: Katherine Pell  

They are incredibly useful when you need a quick change of ink colour, which I do often as I am forever writing colour-coded lists of jobs that need to be done in the museum. And I am not the only one around here who appreciates these iconic plastics pens. The lovely Tracey Pawley from AUB Finance is also a big fan and you can read all about her collection in next week’s blog. MoDiP also has several examples including my favourite, the original 4C.

BIC was established in 1944 by Marcel Bich and Édouard Buffard.
Image credit:

Originally invented in 1969, the BIC 4 colour pen was based on an idea by company founder Marcel Bich, although the name of the actual designer is unknown. It was first released in France in April 1970, advertised as '3 francs for four colours', writing in black, blue, red and green and available as a blue barrel/medium tip or an orange barrel/fine tip.

Launch advertisement in France, 1970.
Image credit:  

The ink colour is selected by depressing the correspondingly coloured plunger at the end of the pen. Small lugs on these trigger mechanisms serve to displace the current ink tube (which returns to resting position) whilst pushing down the new cartridge (via an internal spring) and locking it into place. Here’s one of mine that I broke earlier (not deliberately):

It got trodden on!
Image credit: Katherine Pell

The 4C had a unique solid ball moulded into the end of the polystyrene cap, representing the head of the BIC boy logo and, anecdotally, this was commonly used to turn rotary telephone dials. The ball is now pierced to allow a cord to be thread through, enabling the pen to be hung around the neck for easy access.

The BIC boy logo was created by Raymond Savignac in 1961.
Image credit:

The colour of the blue polypropylene plunger used to match the shade of the polystyrene barrel but in 1999 it was changed to navy to better represent the ink colour. Designed to write 8 kilometres, 2k per colour, the 4C celebrated its 50th birthday in 2020 with the release of a number of new designs. The range now includes almost thirty variations with 200,000 pens being produced every day, sold across 160 different countries.

Saâdane Afif’s pens for
Galeries Lafayette.
Image credit: Katherine Pell

In 2013, artist Saâdane Afif created his own version of the BIC 4 colour pen that he called ‘Noir c'est Noir’, writing in only one colour: black. Two years later he produced a second pen with a white barrel and plungers so that the user would not know which coloured ink they had selected until they wrote. This one he named ‘Au Hasard Balthazar’. Finally in 2016, a third pen was introduced, ‘Faux-semblant’, that had the appearance of the original 4C but with the colour cartridges mixed up so the plunger would not offer the expected ink. MoDiP has recently acquired all three and these, along with all of our other BIC pens, can all be viewed in the museum on request.

Katherine Pell
Collections Officer 

Wednesday 4 May 2022

Final blog post from MoDiP’s Student Creative, Jasmine Baker

Hello everyone!

Welcome to the third and final blog post and conclusion to my time with MoDiP as one of the ‘Student creatives’ for 2021-2022. In the last 21 weeks, I have had the chance to orchestrate my own project, one that reflects both my own practice as an illustrator as well as MoDiP’s expansive collection of objects.

I chose to create a wordless picture book, one that was based within the theme of ‘Children’s toys’, which led me down a pathway full of bright bold colours, nostalgia, and the concept of imagination. Children are some of the most naturally fluent daydreamers, and toys often act as a catalyst to spark their imagination, they can create stories, ideas, and whole worlds from a single object. This is what I decided I would represent within my picture book, the world of the daydreamer!

So, without further ado, here are a selection of pages from my finished project! You can see the whole book on display now, in the cases outside the museum, until 23rd May 2022.

I am so pleased to have had the chance to create this project. I was able to experiment with the physicality of the book itself by exploring how the page boarder could be used as an additional story-telling element. I kept the illustrations as close to the original sketches as possible to keep things feeling that little bit more alive and child-like, and I used the most vibrant of colours to create a distinction between the dream world and the real world. I am so happy with how it looks, and to finally hold the physical printed book feels surreal after months viewing it on the screen of my iPad.

This project also offered me the space to be able to create something that is outside of how I usually work, and because of that it has been invaluable in teaching me that it is okay to make something that is not perfectly refined, detailed, and conclusive. It was so much fun to have the time to play, explore, experiment, and simply enjoy the process!

To summarise, it has simply been a really wonderful experience.

Thank you so much to the amazing team at MoDiP who work tirelessly to collect, conserve and curate a myriad of so many compelling objects, and who believed in both me and my project enough to select me as one of the student creatives this year. I hope everyone else found following along with this project over the past few months as much fun as I had creating it!

Thank you for reading,

Farewell for now!