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Grace Harvey /Interactive Arts

Details of the interior of the bird house.

Bird house/Dolls house

Grace Harvey created a wonderful Bird House  for the Platt Hall project ,which contains a number of  bird puns and references such as “Tweetabix” (click on the photo to enlarge and find them yourself) , also note the attic full of boxes reminiscent of  Platt Hall’s  wonderful attic store room. Hazel

“The sense of discovery I had when exploring the collection at Platt Hall was extremely inspiring. The bird house is a response to both this and the two items that completely fascinated me from Mary’s collection – her beautiful dolls house and the whimsical frog diorama that sits alongside it at Manchester Art Gallery. I have designed and brought life to a miniature house that I already owned, where by opening up the doors uncovers a family of birds inside, just going about normal day-to-day life.”

Grace Harvey

Margaux Illescas/Interactive Arts

May 8, 2011 Student Projects Comments Off on Margaux Illescas/Interactive Arts

Twenty Interactive Arts students from MMU visited Platt Hall before Easter and came up with ideas for a proposed event at Platt Hall in Autumn 2012. Margaux worked on ideas for creating a keep sake/promotional object based on the keys in Mary Greg’s collection. I will be blogging the results during the next few weeks. Hazel

“The Mary Greg Project

For this project I have chosen to focus my work on “the way to promote the Event”.

Seeing the Mary Greg key collection at Manchester Art Gallery I decided to use it in order to find an original, creative and effective way to promote this future event. Rather than making simple paper flyers I drew the same shapes as the original collection onto Illustrator in order to go to the laser cutter and make my own keys. The keys are between 10 and 15cms long but the size can be reduced. There are different prototypes in plastic and in wood. I engraved the Mary Greg website onto the keys so once people get the flyer they can directly go on the website and see what this is about. I added a catch phrase on some keys as well to attract people: “Would you like to know where this key gives you access to?”

I believe this could be a nice way to promote the event and that people would keep the flyer rather than throw it away.”

Margaux Illescas

Behind the scenes at Platt Hall

January 26, 2011 Student Projects 1 Comment

Behind the scenes at Platt Hall

Just before Xmas 21 students from the Interactive Arts course at MMU pitched their ideas to Liz for the Platt Hall exhibition planned for Autumn 2012. (Photos of the work, which was exhibited in the Link Gallery can be seen by clicking on the link in the previous posting.).  I have been thinking about the students responses, and a number of things stand out. Firstly how excited the students were to get access to areas usually out of bounds, some have tried to find ways to recreate this feeling for others. Being allowed to hold delicate objects, and open boxes which have been closed for years. I was also amazed how many of the students read the copies of the letters between Mr Batho and Mary which I left  out for them in the studio, some know as much, or maybe even more about Mary than I do now, and we talk about her like an old friend. This project just gets richer and proves to me that keeping  Mary Greg’s collection together is so important.

Student work at the Link Gallery

Manchester Metropolitan University Interactive Arts students were asked to take part in a project to come up with ideas to show off the Mary Greg Collection at Platt Hall in Manchester in 2012. Students pitched their ideas to staff from Manchester Art Gallery on Tuesday 14 December. Read more about the project at the Link Gallery Blog.

Rosemary Snead – Student Response

November 5, 2010 Student Projects 2 Comments

Curious blackened bone with metal loop insert and twisted wire in the Bygones collection

Definitely uncanny, maybe grotesque. A bit wanting, how they were at the front of the drawer like that. Driven by some lonely bones, a peripheral fluke in the Mary Greg collection. Bones without a body separated from their beginnings with no story to tell. My work says ‘come close, go away’…all at once and demonstrates that the ugly and the beautiful are both worthy of being seen.

‘Propa Butchers’ of Bilton Grange supplied me with a selection of bones to play with. The cleaning of these bones was a very time consuming and obnoxious process; I do not have the words to describe the smell. The bones made a protest like squeal as they boiled in ugly water yet they became almost pretty as they dried out.

All bones, to me have a distinct element of dichotomy. The idea of a person wearing a cow’s foot on their hand or a chicken’s vertebrae on their blouse…a home for a bone, no longer lonely.

Chicken bones after boiling

Chicken bone pin

preparing cow bones to make into rings

Drawing of chicken vertebrae

early idea combining bone and yarn

Further developments in bone, yarn and fishing hooks

Joe Hartley – Student Response

November 4, 2010 Student Projects Comments Off on Joe Hartley – Student Response
Bygones box containing puzzle with a missing piece rplaced by a bit of blue card

Bygones box containing puzzle with a missing piece replaced by a bit of blue card

Currently showing in the Object Memories showcase in the Craft and Design Gallery at Manchester Art Gallery (until November 29th) is MMU 3D Design student Joe Hartley’s response to the Bygones collection.  He writes: –

When I first visited the Mary Greg collection I was instantly drawn towards the slide lid domino style boxes, one of the reasons for this was because my own pencil case, an old domino box that I had with me at the time looked just like it and could easily have belonged in the collection.

I especially liked one box with a wooden puzzle in it. A piece of the puzzle had been lost and someone had replaced it with a piece of blue card.

I instantly began exploring different ways of making boxes using whatever materials I could get my hands on like pine fruit crates and mahogany pulled from a skip, one box was even ceramic. Through making many boxes I came across a way of using finger joints to make a box that could be dismantled and rebuilt in different ways, a bit like a puzzle.

The final box, which deconstructs and stacks into another box, has an oak base with side pieces made from cherry, ash, mahogany and reclaimed plywood, it has a blue Perspex lid that’s supposed to reference the Bygones box with the blue piece of card.

My pencil box

Some of my early boxes

My version of a puzzle box - individual boxes that can be put together in different ways

Puzzle box within a box

Liz Milner – Student Response

November 4, 2010 Student Projects Comments Off on Liz Milner – Student Response

The initial objects of inspiration from the Mary Greg collection were the doll’s house items within the Craft and Design Gallery. These inspired me as they are objects that have transcended hundreds of years, and maintained their relevance as toys and collectors items in their own right. I developed this idea by exploring the potential narrative of these miniaturized objects, and how the viewer interacts with handmade pieces on a small scale. The aesthetic is developed as found and made objects are forced to interact. Traditional needlework skills and Victorian imagery are re-contextualised as I apply them to my ecological concept of miniature textiles. Digital print and hand embroidery on a small-scale give rich detail and a sense of preciousness, evoking the delicate tactility and intimacy relating to the handling of the collection.

Platt Hall Visit October 2010

Discovered patchwork pieces October 2010

Patchwork Pieces from Mary Greg's collection

I visited Platt Hall last Tuesday and Wednesday with 23 Interactive Arts students, split into 4 groups. They all has “Access all areas” for half a day and we saw the East and West wing storage areas, the amazing attic and the OPUA (objects of personal use and adornement) room. Everytime I visit Platt Hall I discover something else that amazes me, and I wasn’t disappointed this time. Checking the list of what is in the collection it can be hard to know what you might get from the brief description….”patchwork pieces” sounded intrigueing, so Rosie kindly found them out. They are wonderful, each one has a little snippet of a letter. pieces of envelopes with dates  and addresses. Is this a project started by Mary Greg herself? Some of the writing looks similar to hers.  I also found some other objects that I hadn’t seen before, some needle cases and a straw spiltter.

I am meeting the students next Thursday, when they will present their initial ideas.


Platt Hall Project

October 10, 2010 Student Projects Comments Off on Platt Hall Project

I went to Platt Hall on Thursday with Liz to meet Adam and Rosie and make some plans for a project with the Interactive Arts students. The students will be asked to develop ideas that we hope to use in September 2012, a celebration of Mary Greg and her bygone collection. The gallery is a wonderful building and has many unusual and  interesting spaces to use and explore. more photos soon…We also found a few dresses donated by Mary Greg,  two of which look like they could have been worn by her. I am introducing the project tomorrow.

Horn-Books (A Student Response) – Nousheen Leila Saboonpaz

July 21, 2010 Student Projects 1 Comment

At the Mary Greg handling session I was completely overwhelmed by the vast amount of objects the collection held, I didn’t know where to start with picking out something to set my project on, I could have happily spent the whole day just opening up the cabinets. But a few objects had really intrigued me, these where the Horn books, which I found out where used as learning aids for children. One of the books had a sticker on the back, onto which someone had written “Probably never been used”, who’d written it..I don’t know…Mary Greg herself? Its a possibility. I took as many photographs as I could and headed to the All Saints Library, where I found a book called “History of the Horn-Book”, which to my surprise had never been taken out from the library. In the book I found images of the horn-books I had seen in the collection (pages 117 and 357), along with some beautiful drawings of Horn-Books being used, worn and enjoyed. 

 From what I had discovered in my research I have created jewellery which can be worn and interacted with, just as the Horn-Books where. I wanted my pieces to be large and a burden to wear. The books hold personal chores, sort of a to do list of things I am always putting to the back of my mind, and daft things that I can never remember, the 7 times table for example, and little rhymes from school, I have made my own Horn-Book effectively, something I enjoy wearing and will always remind me of what I have taken from the Mary Greg collection.

  Nousheen Leila Saboonpaz

One of the horn-books in the Mary Greg Collection

books almost identical to those in Mary’s collection in “History of the Horn-book” from the MMU library

Page from the book showing horn-books being worn

One of my responses in metal and paper

a wearable one with pages open