Wolsey Art Gallery, Ipswich

Excerpt from text written to accompany the gallery pamphlet for Things, an exhibition for Wolsey Art Gallery, Ipswich.


Although I work primarily as a furniture designer, I am not so interested in furniture as the manipulation of material into objects. Consequently, when I was invited to select objects from an historic furniture collection, I didn't find it a particularly interesting proposition. On looking at the catalogue, amongst all the dark brown furniture was a very heavily carved and particularly ugly four poster bed. Sitting on the bed, however, was an object, which looked much more interesting. It turned out to be a seventeenth century bed-warmer. It looked like a strange toboggan with a small saucepan suspended within. At this point I became excited by the idea of what else might be scattered amongst all this old furniture. The twenty seven collected objects come not just from the furniture collection, but also the ethnographic collection, the local history collection, the store room and the workshop. Within the selection there are tools, utensils, furniture and things from a whole variety of times and cultures, but all are undecorated and utilitarian. It is probably this more humble, purely functional role that they were designed for which results in their possessing a purity of form that makes them so beautiful and forever valid.