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Stephanie Bennett/Interactive Arts

May 19, 2011 Student Projects Comments Off on Stephanie Bennett/Interactive Arts

Stephanie's display in the Link Gallery at MMU

Detail of paper dress

“Mary Greg was a lady who enjoyed collecting everyday household objects. Her collections extended through the period of the late 1800s and early 1900s.

After being inspired by one of Mary Greg’s collections, present with in Platt Hall, Manchester, I have begun a project that aims to highlight a glimpse of her unique and vast collections. An installation that I created has been documented within these photographs that you can see. This installation highlights an introduction to this project.

My project began by documenting some of Mary Greg’s collections through the use of photography. Within the installation I displayed these photographs within antique frames, arranged upon the walls and shelves. The array of found objects and hand-made pieces on display held a historical reference and resembled the fragile and significant collections of Mary Greg. Numerous fascinating objects were encapsulated within the intricate hand-made display cabinets and hand-painted boxes.

The delicate, decorative dress, hung on display, was created after I became particularly intrigued by the work of textile artist, Jennifer Collier.

My ambition when creating this installation was for viewers to enjoy having a look at what was on display. As I continue within this project I aim to create objects that are suitable for viewers to pick up and hold, therefore allowing viewers to experience how precious and exquisite they feel, as well as highlighting the nature of Mary Greg’s collections.”

Stephanie Bennett

Kirsty Round/Interactive Arts

May 17, 2011 Student Projects Comments Off on Kirsty Round/Interactive Arts

Detail of Kirsty's Mary Greg Quilt

When I introduced the students to the Mary Greg project, I left 3 file boxes full of copies the the letters between Mr Batho and Mary Greg in the Interactive Arts studio. I was amazed how many of the students ended up knowing more about Mary than I did through reading the letters. Kirsty also recorded her mom reading the letters, an idea which could work beautifully if played in the rooms at Platt Hall. Hazel
‘After hearing about the Mary Greg project and reading the letters between Mary and Mr Batho, I wanted to bring those letters and their friendship to life again. After an inspiring find of Mary’s own Patchworks, I decided to turn her letters into patchworks, creating a wall hanging and picking out words that I felt highlighted certain people, her kindness and character. As an added extra, and for a little fun, I also made some Mary Greg cushions, holding her ‘logo’ that I stumbled upon creating during experimentations. Alongside this I also created some recordings of the letters using my mums voice for Mary and my Aunties partner for Mr Batho.’
Kirsty Round

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.

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.

Ghosts in the attic: Platt Hall

Ghosts in the attic: Platt Hall
Shoes including two pairs from Mary's collection

Box of shoes at Platt Hall

Today I saw some of Mary’s collection of costume, textiles and shoes for the first time.  It felt so ghostly: up in the attic at Platt Hall surrounded with boxes and boxes of clothes which were once full of life, real people, playing children, sleeping babies.  But now they are laid to rest in boxes, no more life, just memories that we can only guess at.  Dead.  But it was one of the most evocative days I’ve spent rummaging about.  Was the bonnet one that Mary herself had worn?  Did she really wear the beautiful dresses, the ivy leaf embroidered wedding dress?  Perhaps not, but it really felt like she was in that collection.  A fabulous collection of shoes, both highly decorative (not Mary Greg 1922) but also the humble plain leather children’s shoes (very definitely Mary), with cracks and crevices where someone’s tiny feet moved as they walked, danced, played.
Wedding dress with embroidered ivy leaves

Wedding dress with embroidered ivy leaves

And so many ideas about how we might exhibit some of these things in this amazing space (especially following our visit to Enchanted Palace at Kensington Palace, and the Concise Dictionary of Dress at Blythe House).  A giant dolls’ house in itself…  Where will these thoughts take us?  We shared some interesting comments with Miles too about whether Mary’s collection only came into the gallery because of a desire to have the ‘grander, more important’ ceramics collection of her husband.  Miles always refers to Mary as ‘Mrs Greg’.  I like that.  I wonder if there is a difference in the generalised contrast between the ‘scientific’ collecting of men (e.g. the costumes of Mr Cunnington who apparently could have been a ceramics collector had ceramics been more affordable – instead he looked to something affordable and other – e.g. costume – that he could catalogue, collect specimens and almost finalise) and that of women – Mary who collected what she loved because it was beautifully crafted, domestic, just a lovely thing that she wanted to share with others, particularly children.

So many ideas.  So much that we still haven’t seen.

In the meantime, look here on Flickr for further pictures I took today…