This blog will follow the progress of design students at Farnham University of Creative Arts, as they create original artworks inspired by Jane Austen's House Museum, Chawton.

The exhibition, "Under the Influence", will be held at the museum 12th June - 10th September 2010.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Exhibition Opening

All the artwork is now in place in the house and looks beautiful.

The private view happened on the 11th June and was a fantastic start to the exhibition. Professor Magdalene Odundo officially opened the exhibition and spoke about how important it is to examine historical objects when designing unique contemporary artwork.

The staff at the museum love all the artwork and we've had lovely comments from visitors. We all feel the project has been a huge success and are already planning how to continue it in the future.

Under the Influence ends 10th September.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

"There was a deathly silence" Stephanie Hunter

‘There was a deathly silence’ (Fanny Price, Mansfield Park 1814).

My first impression of Jane Austen’s house was one of peace, prettiness and femininity. Yet Austen’s novels are about much more: comedy, satire, a sense of realism and moral issues. I work in an eclectic, intuitive style fuelled by research into issues that concern and interest me. Metaphor is a prevailing concept. My platters create a tension of formal elegance against the unpalatable imagery of social injustice, which encourages us to see Austen in a more political and contemporary light.

Below are imges I have incorporated into my plate designs.

Home and Away - Laurie Price

Laurie has produced a very unique piece of work - influenced by the intricacies of the globe in the Admirals Room she has developed a metal framed textile piece. Exploring issues of place, home and travel she highlights the differences between the Austen navy brothers and their England bound sisters.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Knitted Memories: Melissa Ryland

My current work is based on our everyday interactions with the ‘things’ around us and the relationship of memory and what in our everyday lives has presence through absence.

As a starting point for my pieces I knit various shapes and designs in a variety of yarns and cast these in either bone china or porcelain casting slips. Some of these are then draped over everyday items we have around the house they remain masked so the edges are blurred; some remain as flat pieces in the shape of a front of a cardigan or the sleeve of a jumper. Some pieces are half knitted and frayed at the edges.

The firing burns away the original yarn and what is left is the ‘memory’ in clay. I leave the pieces white as this reinforces the simple quintessential qualities of the porcelain and bone china.

In addition to this I design and print decal transfers and these often represent a past memory or an aura of an event, the images can be autobiographical. They are then fired onto certain pieces. Others remain plain, memories that have been forgotten but a trace remains.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Julie Ann Wise - work so far...

These slipcast wood fired bottles were inspired by the glass and ceramic bottles in the Jane Austen House Museum. Old Apothecary bottles were sourced and moulded, the aim is to make herbal tinctures from the herbs in the garden in order to invite the public to smell and handle these.

The cast bottles are also symbolic of Jane Austen's era when Martha Llloyd would have made herbal remedies in the kitchen and it was the women of the house that made these waters and tinctures for all manner of purposes.

Jane Austen's novels also refer to the health of the characters througout her text. The descriptions really give a sense of that period just as herbal remedies were starting to be replaced by scientific investigation into diseases.

"Marianne became ill again, growing more heavy, restless, and uncomfortable than before. Her sister [...] carefully administering the cordials perscribed" Sense and Sensibility

Monday, 29 March 2010


It's deciding time as to who will show their work in the summer exhibition.

We had a fascinating day of presentations from the 17 students taking part in the project. The students presented a pitch of their ideas, revealing the intricate thought processes undertaken and showing how they'd been influenced by the museum’s collection. It was really absorbing to listen to each artist speak so passionately about their work. Some brought examples and experiments; we were handed porcelain pots, glass bracelets, fragments of ceramic lace and lots of other beautiful pieces.

The reasons behind choosing the particular objects, concepts or area of the house which inspired them were very interesting. It was amazing to see how every individual responded so uniquely to the same overall brief, and provided us with a new perspective on many of the objects.

It’s going to be a very difficult decision as to which work will be displayed…

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Drawings and Impressions in the Dining Parlour and Austen Family Room

Judy Dibiase visited to house to draw on Sunday the 7th feb.

I am interested in how objects and places hold memories and was recording visitors responses to the exhibits and how the house evoked their own memories. There were often comments such as " My gran had one...... I can remember." The work I produce starts with drawings and rubbings and collecting marks. I tend to record the small things.

I started drawing in two rooms and intend to explore all rooms in this way taking impressions and drawings and collecting marks and rubbings from outside the house.