Edmund de Waal

Visit: http://edmunddewaal.com

Edmund de Waal created an installation, 'Very Moveable Things' for the Arts and Crafts furniture Gallery at Cheltenham Art Gallery. Commissioned as part of New Expressions 1 in 2008.

Helen Brown, Collections Officer, says:

'Sometimes when you're working with collections you can lose sight of their potential. A lesson of the New Expressions project for me has been about never underestimating the power of collections to attract a significant artist to work with them.

'Before the project, we perhaps wouldn’t have considered working in such a direct way – placing things on tables, for example – but the draw of the end result has meant a real push to resolve conservation and security issues that might arise. Our Education Officer has thought in a similar way for an Education project, in which pots made by a school will be placed on a 17th century table and an 18th century dresser, which we might not normally have considered.

'The project has also engaged us more in way we think about the museum context of the Arts & Crafts collection and the loss of meaning that can come from placing domestic objects in a museum context. Although from visitor research we knew our visitors brought their own meanings – often linked to the domestic context of similar pieces of furniture they had known – the addition of an artist’s interpretation has been an interesting way of adding to interpretation and context'.

For the artist, Helen says, the project has also prompted new discoveries: 'Allowing visitors to move pieces in a work has been a new departure, and (de Waal) hadn’t realised before how important sound was to the work – the sound of crockery being placed and moved'.

Edmund de Waal Profile Image

New Expressions 1 artist Edmund de Waal was apprenticed as a potter in Canterbury, studied in Japan and then read English at Cambridge. His porcelain is in thirty international collections: most recently he has created major installations for the V&A and Tate Britain.

He is working on exhibitions for museums in the UK and America and on commissions for private clients. Edmund has also written widely on art and ceramics. His new book, The Hare with Amber Eyes, won the Costa Award for Biography in 2010.