Studio 7: Reborn-Revisit
This studio enables designers and makers, conservator/restorers to maintain a strong sense of aesthetics and craft, in addition to their ethics and theoretical knowledge of materials and process. It aims to look at innovative and sustainable ways to carry out repairs, with a keen eye for historical context, different cultures and sensibilities. It will also explore how our past understanding of materials, forms and decoration can be a strong influence to creating a new visual vocabulary.
Primarily through engagement with practical projects, students will debate and execute design, restoration and repair techniques that follow both historic and modern sensibilities and material choices. We will develop and test, through innovative design and material choices, the extent to which a repair might be a statement in itself, something that seeks attention in its own right, or whether it should be understated, invisible even.
The prime vehicle for practical project work will be a live project in association with the Society for the Protection of Historic Buildings that has a noteworthy, eclectic and valuable furniture and decorative art collection. We will work as a team, both discussing and suggesting appropriate work, in addition to carrying it out, with a final exhibition of the work.
Associated and suitable practical projects will be worked on alongside this live project opportunity, to help explore and execute more innovative solutions to design and repair and to fill and refine any skills’ gaps. Given the location of the Society, within a mile of The Cass, there will be the added feature of working and engaging with the local community.
Another live project will be in association with Strawberry Hill House. We have been commissioned to make a replica bed and to execute a variety of woodcarvings following historical models, these again being a launch to developing and informing new skills in the design or restoration of your work. You can also propose speculative furniture outcomes in keeping with the location.
Through the processes of drawing, photography, documentation, discussion, debate and seminar, we will consider what is appropriate in the context of a collection as a whole, individual objects, and why. We will submit our proposals for consideration and approval. The projects will have the valuable side effect of working as a team, communicating with professionals and consideration of what is appropriate and feasible in the context of an entire collection. The whole experience will infuse the group with expertise and confidence and a sense of responsibility that will be invaluable upon graduation.
Dr John Cross, in addition to being a skilled craftsperson, has a sound knowledge of technique as well as an intimate knowledge of historic furniture and decorative art styles. He also has a specialist’s knowledge of the local area. The studio will begin with a walking tour of the area to focus on what is London’s historic centre for the furniture and allied trades.
Alex Schouvaloff specialises in appropriate decorative finishes and techniques with respect to decorative art objects and architectural interiors. He also has experience in prestigious live projects in his professional practice, recent commissions including work at Kenwood House and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.