Many people think that craft is a matter of executing a preconceived form or idea, something that already exists in the mind or on paper. Yet making is also an active way of thinking, something which can be carried out with no particular goal in mind. In fact, this is a situation where innovation is very likely to occur.
The Power of Making exhibition at the V &A Museum is a very inspiring way to spend a couple of hours.
Exhibits that piqued my interest included these:
The Ghanaian lion coffin: a product of the well-known Kane Kwei carpentry workshop in the country, these brightly painted objects reflect a person’s talents and aspirations. The lion coffin was obviously made for a hunter, but I took note of the description next to the piece: “as the workshop’s traditional imagery increasingly merges with pop culture, you can also be buried in a car, a cigar, a Coca-Cola bottle or an Air Jordan shoe”!!
Shokuhin sanpuru replica food: Recently during a visit to Pisa, Italy, I saw real food samples on a table outside a restaurant that at the time struck me as quite pointless because they certainly did not look appetizing at all. Shokuhin sanpuru is the Japanese answer to this problem: they are plastic food samples that achieve that ‘real’ look by mould-casting food, or, as the exhibit’s description said, for softer items, they use sculpted clay models.
Wedgwood coke bottles: Yes, that’s the premium ceramic Wedgwood brand (my mother still preserves her dinner set that she got 35 years ago) and the happiness-touting brand of the masses today, Coca-Cola. I just thought that juxtaposition was really striking. It made me wonder what would happen if a brand partnership like that actually existed. There are plenty of partnerships today, some of which are actually good, but a characteristic of the truly impactful ones is a shared set of values that resonate with an audience that have mutual interests somewhere.
Woolfiller: Simply because it is the solution to a problem that pretty much all of us has at some point or the other – a hole in your favourite sweater of jeans that you just can’t bring yourself to throw away. It also reminded me of Sugru, which was also an exhibit, both being illustrations of the ‘useful’ pillar from the ‘useful-educational-entertaining-connecting’ brand principles.
There was a very engaging 5-minute video playing as well, which you can see here (all the products in the video were part of the exhibition).
The Power of Making is on till 2nd January 2012.