Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Craft, shoes and architecture

click photo to enlarge
Britain's National Centre for Craft and Design, is located in a converted seed warehouse in Sleaford, Lincolnshire. It is called the hub ( all lowercase), a daft name and confusing because it is used by many other organisations. To avoid such typographical silliness, it will be henceforth called the Hub (capital "H") in this blog post. I've written about visiting this exhibition space/teaching location/shop/cafe before. It's something we do fairly regularly, and enjoy, despite the varying quality of what is on offer. Frequently we come away having been entertained, educated and impressed by the exhibitions. Where the subject has interest for me -  recent architecture/design and guitar making come to mind - I find it a very rewarding place. But I've also enjoyed subjects that I wouldn't have thought at all appealing, for example the history of women's underwear or rubber jewellery and drawings. However, on other occasions we depart exasperated by the vapidity of the objects on display and the pretentiousness of the accompanying panels written by the creators of the "pieces". Perhaps I shouldn't be so critical of these kinds of exhibits: after all many of the displays are not everyday objects so much as doodlings and musing on craft themes.

The other day when we visited the Hub the main gallery held an exhibition entitled A Personal Collection: Vivienne Westwood Shoes. Well, that was like a red rag to a bull for this visitor because I have strong views about the "look at this, ain't I awful" gimmickry of this designer's output, and a glance at the first case of footwear confirmed my feelings. So, while my wife went to look at the shoes, I went up to the next exhibition - The Hub presents...Contemporary Crafts Network. My usual routine when viewing an exhibition is to walk around it fairly quickly to take in the whole, get a flavour of what is on offer, and see if I can discern any overarching themes. Then I go round again slowly, giving each piece my consideration. That's what I intended to do this time except I departed after the quick tour because here again was work that didn't engage me at all. Which left me with some time on my hands while my wife did the tour and so I went outside and photographed the building.

I've taken a few shots here before, but this time I looked up for my inspiration and focused on the thrusting, interlocking shapes and shadows of the building against the blue of the sky. The image above has had the shadows "burned" in a little to give them greater emphasis.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 45mm
F No: 7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/250
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On