MoDA - Museum of Domestic Architecture

The Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture is part of Middlesex University.. It houses an archival collection of wallpapers, textiles, books, catalogues, and magazines from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century.  Anyone can visit so long as you make a prior appointment to view the collection.

One of Britain's leading commercial design studios from 1880 to 1960 is The Silver Studio and much of the studio's work is stored at MoDA. 
Back in June, I applied to a call for artists and designers to respond to the Silver Studio archive and put forward proposals for work inspired by this collection.
After cruising the MoDA website, I made my appointment.  The staff there are very helpful and had a large collection of archival boxes ready for me, based on my requests, when I arrived.

These lovely delicate objects became my first inspiration! They are Japanese Katagami stencils. 

The founder of the Silver Studio, Arthur Silver, was obsessed with Japanese Katagami stencils.  He collected them and the studio gained inspiration from many of the intricate patterns.  Katagami are made of multiple layers of thin mulberry paper which are bonded with a glue extracted from persimmon.  They were used with resist paste made with rice flour and when dyed, the dye didn't adhere to the areas covered with the paste. 

Next, I looked at some wonderful Art Deco designs.  Many of these were original paintings and drawings made by designers working in the studio.  It was great to see these original artworks close up and imagine designers of the 1930s beavering away on these modern and futuristic creations.

John Churton 1934

Many were charcoal and gouache paint on tracing or thin paper and very lovely.

I was delighted when my proposal was chosen and I am now starting to work on some designs inspired by the collection.  I am planning to create a piece of work which combines laser cut panels with printed fabric designs and will play with light effects as the two merge. The final piece of work will be displayed alongside four other designers' work in a new gallery space, The Hasler Gallery, in North Finchley at the end of this year.  

I'll be updating my blog with the work in progress, and news of related workshops, so do keep watching this space!

Images copyright the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture, Middlesex University. Visit their website at