Hawthorne & Heaney Visits The V&A: Lockwood Kipling: Arts and Crafts in the Punjab and London

Just as you enter the V&A from the Grand Entrance on Cromwell Road, to your left you will come to this wonderful exhibit about the life of John Lockwood Kipling, Father of the famous poet, Rudyard Kipling. It’s not all that often that you get the opportunity to see this kind of Indian heritage, but on display at this exhibition, your senses are spoilt. Historical pictures of India through the Victorian ages, fused together with Lockwood Kipling’s own illustrations, structural designs and photography of his students in Mumbai.

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 Exhibition entrance, courtesy of V&A
 This exhibition is great for those with keen interests print, architectural design, upholstery, embroidery, textiles (etc) and are in need of inspiration from this rich culture and its prominent history, or those that just want to expand on their knowledge of art history. The exhibit is atmospheric and full of vibrant information, you can easily lose yourself in here for a few hours, it is a fascinating period of history.

Lockwood Kipling was always an active social campaigner for the preservation of Indian arts and crafts, he even brought much of that skill he learnt in India back to England where he worked as an architectural sculptor for the V&A. The terracotta panels created by Lockwood can still be seen on the exterior of the grand V&A building. The perfect place to hold an exhibition about his colourful life.

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Exhibition poster in the museum tunnel and exhibition leaflet from H&H visit to V&A

His passion for the preservation of Indian culture and skill is apparent throughout the entire exhibit, and it is wonderful to see techniques that have been used in traditional Indian culture for centuries. By including the work of his students at the Mayo College, Ajmer, the exhibit shows how his passion and knowledge has been transferred onto his students.

Kipling moved to India in 1865 when the country was under British rule, and at the time the economy was quite unstable. He recognised this uncertainty in his students and encouraged them to channel these feelings into their creativity.

In 1851 he trained as a designer and modeller, which gave him the knowledge which he took to India and applied this to the traditional crafts which he learnt and was able to design beautiful Mosques, some which still stand today. 

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Painting: Entrance to the Mosque of Wazir Khan, by Mohammed Din, 1880, by Mohammed Din. Displayed at the exhibition

The intricate detailing on the architectural work is magnificent to see and his illustration style is timeless! He has captured a moment via drawing as if it were a photograph. A series of images seen at the exhibition depicts local craftsmen doing their everyday using the said skills making creations which later on Lockwood would go on to do himself.

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Illustration: A wood carver from the North West Provinces of British India, by Lockwood Kipling, 1870.
Displayed as a series of natural drawings of craft workers.

If you are interested in how artistic crafts and merit is applied throughout different cultures, or just intrigued to see how ancient skills that are ingrained in the wonderful Indian culture have progressed and evolved over the past 200 years, then this exhibition is a must see.

By Amelia Beaumont-Dodd

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits Molly Goddard’s ‘What I Like’ Exhibition at the NOW Gallery

Central Saint Martins graduate and one of London’s newest emerging designers, Molly Goddard, is holding a new, interactive exhibition at Greenwich’s NOW Gallery where you are invited to sit and embroider one of her floor to ceiling tulle dresses for free. When an opportunity like this comes up we just had to go and check it out for ourselves!

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In one large, sunlit room, the six colourful oversized dresses hang from the ceiling on pulleys so that the whole length of the dress can eventually be covered. You are encouraged to sit on one of the chairs around the dresses and embroider absolutely anything you like on them.

For Molly, the exhibition is about people ‘enjoying doing something with their hands’ and she hopes that people from all walks of life will come and make their mark on one of her dresses.

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Around the room are simple and clear instructions for basic embroidery stitches, meaning anyone from an absolute beginner to an embroidery artist can come and express their creativity on the dresses. This is such a lovely way for everyone to experience embroidery and is a fun way to introduce people to the traditional craft. The whole exhibition is also very child friendly with blunt, plastic needles and scissors attached to a chain in the centre, making it an excellent activity for the whole family to take part in.

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Collecting a oversized needle and some thread from the central podium, I chose a blank space and began to stitch directly onto the tulle. The whole experience was very relaxing and there was no pressure on what you did with the thread so you could just experiment and let your imagination run wild!

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Each little stitch helps the dresses to grow and evolve and it was very exciting to be able to add my own personal mark amongst all the others in what feels like a huge community project.

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The exhibition only opened and already the bottom of the dresses are filling up with an array of interesting designs and colour from a variety of different people. I can’t wait to see what they will look in February when the exhibition closes and one of the dresses will be auctioned off for charity.

 

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Don’t miss out on your chance to be a part of this very unique interactive art installation!

The exhibition runs from 4 November 2016 to 19 February 2017

Monday to Friday 10am – 7pm

Saturday and Sunday 11am – 4pm

Closed for Christmas 24 December – 2nd January

 

NOW Gallery

The Gateway Pavilions

Peninsula Square

London

SE10 0SQ

By Jessica Eykel