Monday, 25 September 2017

A different view #62

There are many ways to look at the objects in the MoDiP collection.  With this series of posts I want to highlight the interesting views of objects that we may ordinarily miss.  These include the underside of an object, the surface pattern, or traces of manufacturing processes.




Title: Folder
Designer: Unknown
Manufacturer: Moonlight Recycled Business Gifts
Object number: AIBDC : 006649


Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Friday, 22 September 2017

Guess the object

MoDiP has the kind of collection that you may think you are very familiar with. We have objects which we all use every day, and some pieces which are more unusual.

By looking at this distorted image are you able to guess what the object is? What do you think it could be used for?


Post your answer in the comments below or to find the answer click here and you will be taken to the MoDiP catalogue.

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Monday, 18 September 2017

BXL photographic archive #0133

In 2010, MoDiP was donated a large archive of images relating to a single company. Bakelite Xylonite Ltd, also known as British Xylonite Ltd or BXL, was possibly one of the first British firms to successfully manufacture a plastics material in commercial quantities. The company was established in 1875 and after a long history went into liquidation in the late 2000s. The images we have in the collection are concentrated around the 1960s through to the 1980s and show us glimpses of the manufacturing process, products and the company’s employees during this time. We plan to share an image each week to give a flavour of the archive. If you want to see more you can view the whole collection on our website.

This week’s image shows a a truck loaded with shrink wrapper vinegar bottles

To get a better view of the image and find out more have a look at it on our website http://www.modip.ac.uk/artefact/bxl--0348


We are still working on the documentation of the archive, some of the images we know more about than others. It would be fantastic if we could fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge, if you know anything about the company or specific images it would be good to hear from you.

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Friday, 15 September 2017

Horners collection



The Museum of Design in Plastics houses two collections alongside our own.  One of these collections is that of the Worshipful Company of Horners.   

Here I will highlight just one of the objects in the collection.


Antelope salad servers

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

The Secret Life of Textiles

I recently made a visit to New York and met up with my friend, Leanne, who was working at The Metropolitan Museum of Art as Research Fellow, The Costume Institute. 

As I knew when I got back from my holiday I was starting my post as Engagement Officer at MoDiP, I was enthusiastic about the opportunity to look around an exhibition she co-curated. It is entitled: The Secret Life of Textiles: Synthetic Materials which is the final exhibition in a series on textiles as seen through the conservator’s eye. On display were objects from the Costume Institute Collection.There were a few things which I found fascinating, which I will share with you in this post.

First, you might be surprised to find out what synthetic materials might be used for, in relation to fashion. It can be found used in various types of apparel from underwear to a dress, stockings or shoes and even your favourite summer blouse hanging in your wardrobe and much more!


Costume Institute Collection. 
Brassier, 1950s, synthetic, designer: F.B.R, Dress, 1968, cellulose acetate, styrene-butadiene copolymer, silk, cotton designer: André Courrèges,
Shoes, 1965, leather, polyvinylchloride and polyurethane, designer: Katharina Denzinger,
Stocking, mid to late 1960s, nylon.

The Twentieth century witnessed the unprecedented development and use of synthetic materials in many aspects of daily life, especially fashion.

It is intriguing that synthetic materials have been around and in use for over a century, yet museum conservators are only now considering their complex preservation challenges.

Some people might say that an outfit isn’t complete without any accessory. Designer Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973) would often like to have an off-beat accessory with a couture garment, creating a humorous irony which Schiaparelli enjoyed incorporating into her work.

Below is a photograph of two evening belts designed by Elsa Schiaparelli ca. 1938. The belts are both made of cellulose acetate with bubbled plastic, studded with painted stars and metal. One has pink painted stars and the other has gold.


Belts, ca.1938, cellulose acetate, designer: Elsa Schiaparelli, Costume Institute Collection.

The exhibition explored the topic of Residual Strain in relation to apparel made from synthetic materials. It explained how manufactures use linear polarized light filters as a quality-control mechanism to examine residual strain, or the imperfections in clear plastics that result in material weakness. Conservators at the Metropolitan Museum of Art utilized this same analytical imaging technique.

Residual strain, belts, ca.1938, Cellulose acetate, designer: Elsa Schiaparelli, Costume Institute Collection. 

In the photograph above the pink evening belt, at the top, reflects light – revealing strong colours where it is beginning to degrade. It means that the cellulose acetate has significantly deteriorated and the belt has signs of shrinkage, embrittlement, cracking and yellowing. In contrast, the gold belt in the bottom of the photography remains in good condition as it appears clear with little transmission of colour.

This exhibition will finish at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on 25th September and if you don't fancy a visit to the big apple, fear not. I was intrigued to see if here at MoDiP we have any similar objects in the collection. So I did some research and this is what I found: a brassier, a shoedress and Berkshire stockings, but obviously we have lots more apparel in the collection.  

We had an exhibition here at MoDiP back in 2015 - Threads: plastics wearing well, which looked at some of the uses of semi-synthetic and synthetic fibres over the last century, in everyday and specialist clothes. Subjects included rainwear, changing silhouette, and technical fabric.

If you want to explore the collection more - why not come and visit us when we reopen in our new location soon, within the Library at Arts University Bournemouth. For MoDiP updates follow us on twitter.

Sarah Jane Stevens AMA (Museum Engagement Officer)

Monday, 11 September 2017

A different view #61

There are many ways to look at the objects in the MoDiP collection.  With this series of posts I want to highlight the interesting views of objects that we may ordinarily miss.  These include the underside of an object, the surface pattern, or traces of manufacturing processes.


Title: Fedora
Designer: Elvis Pompilio at .MGX
Manufacturer: Materialise
Object number: AIBDC : 007078




Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Friday, 8 September 2017

Guess the object

MoDiP has the kind of collection that you may think you are very familiar with. We have objects which we all use every day, and some pieces which are more unusual.

By looking at this distorted image are you able to guess what the object is? What do you think it could be used for?


Post your answer in the comments below or to find the answer click here and you will be taken to the MoDiP catalogue.

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Monday, 4 September 2017

BXL photographic archive #0132

In 2010, MoDiP was donated a large archive of images relating to a single company. Bakelite Xylonite Ltd, also known as British Xylonite Ltd or BXL, was possibly one of the first British firms to successfully manufacture a plastics material in commercial quantities. The company was established in 1875 and after a long history went into liquidation in the late 2000s. The images we have in the collection are concentrated around the 1960s through to the 1980s and show us glimpses of the manufacturing process, products and the company’s employees during this time. We plan to share an image each week to give a flavour of the archive. If you want to see more you can view the whole collection on our website.

This week’s image shows a Dish aerial.
To get a better view of the image and find out more have a look at it on our website http://www.modip.ac.uk/artefact/bxl--1637

We are still working on the documentation of the archive, some of the images we know more about than others. It would be fantastic if we could fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge, if you know anything about the company or specific images it would be good to hear from you.

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Friday, 1 September 2017

PHS collection

The Museum of Design in Plastics house two collections alongside our own.  One of these collections is that of the Plastics Historical Society.   

Here I will highlight just one of the objects in the collection.



Bulb holders with cables
Designer : Unknown
Manufacturer : Unknown
Date : 1935-1939 (circa)

Louise Dennis (Assistsant Curator)

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Museum Engagement Officer


Hello everyone I’m Sarah and this is my third week working at MoDiP as Museum Engagement Officer. I must say, everyone has been very friendly settling me into the team! 



I thought I’d take a few moments to tell you a bit about myself. I’m a Goldsmiths Girl! Well I went to Goldsmiths College, University of London graduating with a BA (Hons) Textiles in 2005. During my time studying I specialized in felting by hand. I became fascinated by historical textiles and costume in museums – it became my visual resource of inspiration. It came as no surprise that I then went on to study at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, graduating with MA Museums and Galleries; History of Textiles and Dress in 2007.

Since studying and becoming a qualified Museum Professional I have built up over 10 years’ experience curating and engaging audiences with museum collections. I achieved Associateship of the Museums Association in 2012.

I’ve worked within diverse organizations from conservation charity The National Trust at Tyntesfield, A la Ronde, and Sunnycroft to Trowbridge Museum, Wiltshire and a private collection at Dents Museum, Wiltshire. Before starting here I was working at Linwood School (Springwood Campus) Bournemouth, after completing a CACHE Level 2 Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools.

What makes me tick?
I love gardening and although I don’t have a garden I’m still managing to grow vegetables on our balcony. This year I’ve grown peas from a seed and they’ve turned out to be quite tasty and sweet. 


One of my greatest passions is baking. My most proud bake to date is making an Alice’s Teapot Cake for my mother-in-laws recent birthday. Perhaps one day you might find me on The Great British Bake Off, until then enjoy these photographs of my creation - see the cake develop into a finished works of art. 



I’m currently working on a textile project for our Living room, which has been recently redecorated. My inspiration came from a visit to the Tower of London in 2014 to see an art installation: Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red. The detail in the photograph below is a small scale sample of handmade felt - exploring ways to embellish the felt to bring it to life. Here, I have started hand embroidery to outline the outer edge of the poppies. 



If you haven’t already noticed I’m a creative person and have a flare for photography.

What am I going to be doing at MoDiP?

My post is a new addition to the team at MoDiP. I will be developing a programme of engagement. I will be working on ways to engage diverse audiences with the museum collection by advocating the importance of museum collections as resources for learning, inspiration and how they can change lives. I hope to deliver innovative ways of learning and teaching, creating a legacy of best practice in the theory and practice of creative learning

Watch this space…

Sarah Jane Stevens AMA (Museum Engagement Officer)