Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Made in England

The Made in England Project was conceived by the artist and mosaicist Emma Biggs. It is both a historical record and a demonstration of how signs and symbols influence our understanding of familiar objects and inform how we think today. Part of this project is a mosaic wall, to be installed in the entrance to the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent, made from backstamps donated by the public. They have created a great website (well, great to me!) that is an encyclopeaedic record of all the backstamps are donated to the artist, together with an illustrated narrative of the people involved and a story of the times in which the tableware was made.

From the website:
"Ceramic tableware, the cups, plates and saucers we use every day, is unusual in one respect -- each piece bears an identifying mark which tells a story. Although people may have noticed the marks on plates, they are not generally given a second thought, unless it relates to the rarity of the piece and its financial value. Marks are designed to be overlooked, they are on the bottom of plates because the important aspect is on the top -- the decoration – but there is a fascinating story to be told from looking at the overlooked, the things we simply take for granted. This project aims to do both aspects of what art should do – namely make us re-examine a familiar aspect of our lives and see it in a new way. It should also be visually compelling."
I think I need to revisit my brief stint with backstamps!

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