Structures in Ceramic
From weaving to paper-making, mining to valve production, Blackburn with Darwen has always been a centre of industrial innovation and creativity. In this exhibition we celebrate the history and craft of architectural ceramic production in Darwen, and look at how the technology has been utilised by designers and artists today.
This exhibition showcases locally produced pieces from the mid 20th century to the present day, representing different aspects of the industry like heritage, production, art and design. From 1930s test pieces by Shaws of Darwen, to CNC-produced models made by Darwen Terracotta and Faience, we can see how historic processes have been combined with modern technology to give form to architectural artworks designed by artists such as Grayson Perry and James Bloomfield.
From September 2018, the V&A will work with regional partners to support the teaching of art, design and technology in secondary schools. Selected in consultation with the DesignLab Nation as part of its educational initiative, the loans will ensure all visitors to the partner museums have the chance to experience the V&A collections in the context of their regional histories. Highlights include a ceramic tile by the Turner prize-winning artist Grayson Perry to Blackburn Museum, designed in collaboration with FAT architecture for the exterior of A House for Essex. The house is dedicated to a fictional Essex everywoman Julie and tells her life story through decoration and integrated artworks. The tile depicts Julie standing nude in a Romanesque arch.
Grayson Perry, said: “A House for Essex was particularly special and personal project for me, so I’m delighted that a piece of it is travelling up to Blackburn to support the V&A’s DesignLab Nation. There is a very worrying decline in the take-up of creative subjects in state schools. If we care about social mobility, well-being and economic growth – and if we want our creative industries to continue to flourish – we urgently need to rebalance our education system so that the arts are valued just as much as other subjects.”