Annie Cattrell, Capacity, 2000, Lampworked Glass, ©Annie Cattrell, Photo Peter Cattrell, from Out of the Ordinary: Spectacular Craft.

Curatorial Collaboration Yields Spectacle of the Everyday

Anne Wilson, Topologies (detail), 2002-ongoing, Lace, thread, cloth, pins, painted wood, © Anne Wilson.

Naomi Filmer, Lenticular Series 1, 2006, Hand Manipulation animated integral image, produced by Create 3D and Bluloop, © Naomi Filmer.

Susan Collis, Waltzer Wooden broom, 2007, Opals, turquoise, garnets, seed pearls, mother of pearl, black diamonds, white diamonds, fresh water pearls, coral, black onyx, marcacite, Image courtesy of Seventeen, © Susan Collis.

Annie Cattrell, Conditions, 2006 subsurface etching in glass, © Annie Cattrell.


Victoria & Albert Museum
Cromwell Road
+44 (0)20 7942 2000
Exhibitions, Room 48
Out of the Ordinary: Spectacular Craft
November 13, 2007-
February 17, 2008

This winter a joint V&A and Crafts Council exhibition will feature eight artists who place meticulous craftsmanship at the heart of their work. On display will be unusual and beautifully crafted installations. The artists take inspiration from the everyday, transforming their subjects using traditional techniques in unexpected ways. Works include a scattering of life-like weeds and plants ‘growing’ around the gallery, all skillfully hand-carved from wood; an apparently paint-splattered table which has been inlaid with mother of pearl; a seven metre high crimson cascade made using traditional Chinese paper-cutting methods.

Out of the Ordinary brings together artists from the UK, America, Nigeria, China and Japan. It will feature new commissions by Olu Amoda, Catherine Bertola, Annie Cattrell, Susan Collis, Naomi Filmer, Lu Shengzhong, Yoshihiro Suda and Anne Wilson.

These artists use traditional craft skills, including embroidery, wood carving, lace-making and marquetry – playing with extremes of scale or re-working precious, ephemeral or everyday materials such as diamonds, dust and nails to create new and striking effects.

Laurie Britton Newell, V&A Curator of Contemporary Programmes and curator of the exhibition, said: “Out of the Ordinary explores the exceptional skill and meticulous making in the work of these artists. Craft is fundamental to many creative disciplines and this exhibition will show how extraordinary craft can be.”

Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director, Crafts Council said: “Out of the Ordinary is the first in a series of collaborative projects between the Crafts Council and the V&A. The artists included in the exhibition are pushing the boundaries and expectations of what craft is. Through this exhibition we hope to engage a younger generation in the debates surrounding craft today.”

Notes on Artists
Nigerian sculptor Olu Amoda works with scrap metal found on the streets of Lagos. He welds large security doors and window grills with a difference using materials such as nails and discarded machinery parts.

Catherine Bertola will display an installation outside the exhibition space. She will recreate an historic wallpaper pattern from the V&A’s collections using dust gathered round the museum.

Scottish artist Annie Cattrell’s work is about capturing the evasive. She creates laser etchings of clouds inside solid blocks of glass and uses traditional lamp-work techniques to create a fragile glass sculpture representing the breath trapped inside a human lung.

Susan Collis uses embroidery and inlay to produce trompe d’oeil effects. An apparently paint-splashed dust sheet or ladder are in fact intricately embroidered or inlaid with lavish materials such as diamonds, silk and mother of pearl.

Naomi Filmer will present holographic images and dramatic jewellery designed for the forgotten spaces of the body – behind the ear, back of the knee and between the toes.

Lu Shengzhong, the Professor of Folk Art at the Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, uses traditional paper-cutting techniques to create large scale installations of cascading red paper consisting of thousands of tiny hand-cut figures that evoke the imagery of traditional Chinese folk art.

Japanese artist Yoshihiro Suda makes precise carvings of life-like weeds and plants out of wood and installs them in unexpected places throughout the V&A, ‘growing’ from cracks in floors and on gallery walls. His work aims to reveal the beauty in simple, often overlooked things.

American artist Anne Wilson incorporates lace fragments and pins into large installations that resemble miniature landscapes. In other work, she applies traditional techniques such as crochet and lace-making to the medium of animation, bringing loose threads to life.

Anne Wilson, Topologies (detail), 2002-ongoing, Lace, thread, cloth, pins, painted wood, © Anne Wilson.

Olu Amoda, Queen of the Night, chicken wire mesh, nails, and scrap metal on board, Photo: Philip Sayer, 2003.

Anne Wilson, Topologies, 2002-ongoing, lace, thread, cloth, pins, painted wood support from Out of the Ordinary: Spectacular Craft.