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29 SEPTEMBER 2013

Handmade in Britain: The Story of Wallpaper

"In the second programme in the series, presenter Paul Martin reveals the secret history of wallpaper from the 17th century to the present day.

The film explores how wallpaper, seemingly so fragile and easy to replace, provides a vital index of changing tastes in the home. The programme shows how from its earliest days wallpaper imitated other, more costly wall coverings: from the 17th–century papers that were designed to look like embroidered textiles to 18th–century flocked wallpapers. The latter, intended as a cheaper substitute for costly damasks or velvets, became a triumph of British innovation, coming to grace the grandest of state apartments and country house interiors.

Focussing on how wallpaper was actually made, the programme goes onto explore how it became one of the battlefields in discussions about design in the 19th century. For, although technological innovations in machine printing had allowed manufacturers to print elaborate designs with complex colour–ways, some commentators were shocked by the poor aesthetic quality of British wallpapers. The programme looks at how designers and reformers attempted to take the situation in hand: from 'The False Principles of Design', an exhibition organised by Sir Henry Cole, the first Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, which sought to instruct the British public in good and bad design; to the pioneering work of Augustus Pugin and William Morris.

Finally, the film traces the fortunes of wallpaper in the 20th century. Patterned walls faced stiff competition from the purity of plain, painted or whitewashed walls, as advocated by modernists like Le Corbusier. However, new techniques, like screen–printing, allowed shorter runs of innovate wallpapers, which were aimed at architects and interior designers. And, as Paul Martin discovers, wallpaper is still flourishing at the beginning of the 21st century. A combination of digital printing, screen–printing and hand–printing allows companies, like Timorous Beasties, to produce exciting new designs.

Presented by Paul Martin, contributors include Christine Woods, Anthony Wells–Cole, Martha Armitage, Allyson McDermott and Paul Simmons (Timorous Beasties), as well as V&A experts."

First broadcast on 25 September 2013 on BBC Four as part of the Handmade in Britain series [http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03bm1rg].

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TAGS

16th century17th century18th century19th century20th century21st century • Allyson McDermott • Anthony Wells-Cole • antiqueart and craftsArts and Crafts Movement • Augustus Pugin • bad design • BBC Four • changing tastes • Christine Woods • colourways • damask • deluxe item • design craftdigital printingdomestic material object • elaborate designs • embroidered textiles • flock wallpaper • good design • hand-printing • Handmade in Britain (series) • Henry Cole • industrial grime • interior design • interior designer • interior stylingLe Corbusierluxury • machine printing • makersmanufacturing technology • Marthe Armitage • Palladio Wallpapers • pattern • Paul Martin • Paul Simmons • poisonprinting processscreenprinting • stately homes • technological innovation • The False Principles of Design • Timorous Beasties • two-up-two-down • velvetVictoria and Albert Museum • wall coverings • wallpaperwallpaper design • wallpapering • William Morris

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 JUNE 2013

1980s chiptune easter egg rediscovered in NZ washing machines

"Twenty years of patriotism on the part of Fisher & Paykel has been revealed thanks to a viral social media video that shows its washing machines can play the national anthem. A video posted on YouTube by a woman on Tuesday has received more than 165,000 hits. The woman explains how to make the washing machine play the New Zealand national anthem.

Fisher & Paykel marketing manager Sonya Aitken said the machines, which can also play the United States and Australian anthems, were programmed to play tunes by the company's engineers for demonstration purposes. ... While the singing machines were used to draw customers' attention in stores 20 years ago, it was no longer part of sales techniques, so the feature had essentially been forgotten and then rediscovered, she said."

(Laura Walters, 21/06/2013, Fairfax NZ News)

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TAGS

1980s8-bit • Advance Australia Fair • anthem • Aotearoa New ZealandAustralia • Beverly Hills Cop (1984) • chiptunecultural significance of objectsdigital archaeologydigital artefactsdomestic material objecteaster egg • Fisher and Paykel • God Defend New Zealand • hidden feature • Home of the Brave • how to do thingsmusic making technology • national anthem • obsolescenceordinary manufactured objectoutgrownpatriotism • power surge • rediscoveredremainderremains of the past • sales technique • social media • Sonya Aitken • tune • United Statesuseless machinesviral video • washing machine • what is left of the pastwhimsical interactions

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
17 DECEMBER 2012

Material Synthesis: Negotiating experience with digital media

"Given the accessibility of media devices available to us today and utilising van Leeuwen's concept of inscription and synthesis as a guide, this thesis explores the practice of re–presenting a domestic material object, the Croxley Recipe Book, into digital media. Driven by a creative practice research method, but also utilising materiality, digital storytelling practices and modality as important conceptual frames, this project was fundamentally experimental in nature. A materiality–framed content analysis, interpreted through cultural analysis, initially unraveled some of the cookbook's significance and contextualised it within a particular time of New Zealand's cultural history. Through the expressive and anecdotal practice of digital storytelling the cookbook's significance was further negotiated, especially as the material book was engaged with through the affective and experiential digital medium of moving–image. A total of six digital film works were created on an accompanying DVD, each of which represents some of the cookbook's significance but approached through different representational strategies. The Croxley Recipe Book Archive Film and Pav. Bakin' with Mark are archival documentaries, while Pav is more expressive and aligned with the digital storytelling form. Spinning Yarns and Tall Tales, a film essay, engages and reflects with the multiple processes and trajectories of the project, while Extras and The Creative Process Journal demonstrate the emergent nature of the research. The written thesis discusses the emergent nature of the research process and justifies the conceptual underpinning of the research."

(Sasha McLaren, 2008)

McLaren, Sasha (2008). "Material Synthesis: Negotiating experience with digital media", MA thesis, The University of Waikato, Aotearoa New Zealand.

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TAGS

2008 • affective digital medium • anecdotal practice • Aotearoa New Zealand • archival documentaries • conceptual frame • cookbook • creative practice research method • creative process journal • Croxley Recipe Book • Croxley Recipe Book Archive Film • cultural analysis • cultural historycultural significance of objects • digital film works • digital mediadigital mediumdigital storytelling • digital storytelling form • digital storytelling practices • domesticdomestic material objectDVD • emergent nature • emergent nature of the research • experience • experiential digital medium • expressive practice • film essay • inscription and synthesis • MA • material book • material synthesis • materiality • materiality-framed content analysis • media devicesmoving imageobject • Pav Bakin with Mark • reflective journalrepresentational strategiesresearchresearch processsocial construction of knowledge • spinning yarns • tall tales • Theo Van Leeuwen • thesis • University of Waikato • useful significanceWaikato • written thesis

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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