The Power of Making

I went to the V&A’s Power Of Making exhibition on Friday.  This isn’t a huge exhibition, it fills just one room, but I think it makes a big statement about a rediscovered value of the process of making and of the handmade product in our society.

The single room is jam packed with beautiful, weird and just fascinating objects.  There are examples from many craft disciplines and media from textiles through to metal working and model making.

As well as physical examples of finished objects there are lots of short films of people making stuff.  I could have sat for hours watching these, I love watching skilled people create something out of nothing.

While there were many examples of well crafted items to admire at this exhibition, the ones I found most interesting were those that seem to have the power to really challenge the way we live today.  Amongst these were the examples of organic materials grown in laboratories to be put into use making replacement body parts and the 3D printers that have the ability to replicate themselves and any object that you choose to programme into them.  Could technology like this finally see an end to the consumer products that have a built in life expectancy that expires when the first component breaks?  In a future where we all have our own 3D printer we will be able to “print” our own spare parts and designers, as well as making, will be able to sell the blue prints of their designs direct to consumers to “print” their own, rather than seeing their designs being ripped off and reproduced on the high street.

The mind boggles.  And that’s a good thing.

The exhibition is free and on for another few months.  My only criticism is the usual ban on photographs made worse by a sparse yet large exhibition leaflet, insubstantial exhibition book / catalogue and a poor selection of postcards.  But hey, you can’t have everything can you.

Read more about the exhibition here.

See some clips from films of the makers and the making here.

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