Visiting Maker Residencies

Artists Abigail Booth and Max Bainbridge working in the Pitt Rivers Museum

The VERVE Visiting Maker micro-residency programme is a short, annual collaboration with artists and makers. Residents are invited to respond to the collections and the project themes of materials, techniques, function and cultural diversity. The aim is to engage the public with the creative process, share skills and knowledge and in turn, enjoy access to collections and curators, create new work and develop professional practice.

Nathanial Mann (January – March 2014)

Composer Nathaniel Robin Mann (and one third of acclaimed nu-folk trio Dead Rat Orchestra) focused on the Museum’s collections of voice disguisers – instruments that modify the human voice using a membrane. Nathaniel’s creative sessions with the public and Dip HE Audio Engineering students from the Sound and Audio Engineering (SAE) Institute in Oxford, experimented with gourds, resonators, bottle tops distortion, sympathetic strings, and buzzing effects. His final performance was part of an After Hours event exploring sound and voice, which included demonstrations of 100-year-old wax-cylinder technologies and wind instruments on loan from Oxford’s Bate Collection of Musical Instruments.

Jaalen and Gwaai Edenshaw (September – October 2014)

Haida artists Gwaai and Jaalen Edenshaw came to Oxford from Canada to make an exact replica of the “Great Box,” a masterpiece of Haida art in the collections of the Pitt Rivers Museum. In making the replica, Jaalen and Gwaai were able to learn directly from their forbears who made the original cedar wood box, and spent long hours drawing, carving and painting the distinctive designs. They ran open studios, gave public talks and presentations, and exchanged knowledge with UK craftsmen and students. The new box was taken back to Haida Gwaii where it has been used to train artists and students, stimulate discussions about cultural heritage, and contribute to the strengthening of Haida culture and identity.

Katherine Pogson (July – September 2015)

Katherine Pogson is a London-based designer-maker and leatherworker. During her residency she examined leather vessels and gloves in the Museum’s collections from Sudan, India, China and Europe, studying their varied layers, joins, textures and general ‘peculiar construction’. Her public workshops were very popular, introducing participants to wet leather moulding, tooled surface design, and leather stitching. She also gave a weekend talk, ran demonstrations at our summer festival Pitt Fest, and curated a small display of her outcomes.

Muneaki Shimode and Takahiko Sako (November 2015)

With additional support from the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, we were delighted to welcome Muneaki and Takahiko to Oxford from Kyoto. Their residency focussed on the traditional Japanese art of kintsugi. Kintsugi translates as ‘gold joinery’ and refers to a method of repairing broken ceramics with urushi lacquer, then applying gold powder to the surface to accentuate the repair lines. This very visible mending, which celebrates the life story of an object, is quite different from a Western approach to repair which often seeks to hide or disguise damage. During their ten-day residency, Muneaki and Takahiko delivered a full public programme of evening events, talks, demonstrations and workshops. They worked on donated broken plates and dishes, some of which were accessioned into the Museum’s permanent and education collections. Watch the film of kintsugi at the Pitt Rivers Museum

Forest + Found (April - June 2017)

Artists Abigail Booth and Max Bainbridge are Forest + Found, a fine art collaboration that focuses on material and process. As VERVE Artists in Residence, Max and Abi's work will be inspired by the archaeology redisplays, looking at the changing forms and functions of objects from prehistory to modern day. Working with traditional craft methods, Forest + Found produce sculptural wooden objects and large textile pieces inspired by the source material's direct relationship to the landscape and the architectural environment that surrounds it. From sourcing wood and dye plants in the forest, to each mark of the hand on an object, their work endeavours to tell a story. During their residency, Max and Abi will be inviting artists, makers, teachers, 'suppressed creatives' and everyone in between to be inspired by found materials and to reconsider our relationships with our own objects of use. Find out more about the collaboration on the Forest + Found website and on their Instagram page.