Outside-In | Gardens, Deckchairs and Nature Inside

Dorich House Museum’s Kingston University Design Competition Winning Entries. From left to right: Maya Dew, Imogen George and Gabriel Liu.

Whilst we are temporarily closed to the public, we are working with our partner venue Stanley Picker Gallery to compile a weekly newsletter highlighting previous projects, collection items and activity suggestions to keep you inspired and creative at home. The theme for today’s newsletter, Thursday 14 May, is Outside-In, inviting you to explore the great outdoors from inside your home. This week, we announce the winners of our recent Kingston University student design competition. We also reflect on Hen Coleman’s Studio Residency at the museum in 2019 and revisit Professor Penny Sparke’s contribution to Dora: Dialogues on Women’s Creative Practice and Thinking, ‘Nature Inside: Plants and Flowers in Modern Interiors’.

Kingston University Student Deck Chair Design Competition

To encourage use of the Dorich House Museum garden, Kingston University students were invited to submit deck chair designs in response to the House or its collections, with the winning design to be reproduced for use on a set of deck chairs for the garden. Following our receipt of many fantastic entries, the competition was judged by our current Studio Resident, Nadia Hebson, along with key Museum staff. With such a high standard of entries, not one but three joint winners from Kingston School of Art were chosen. Each winner has been awarded a prize of £300 and a deck chair in their own design.

The winners are Imogen George (Illustration Animation), Gabriel Liu (Illustration Animation) and Maya Dew (Fine Art). Each winner drew unique inspiration from Dorich House Museum:

Gabriel Liu was “fascinated by the fluidity of the sculptures and the colours of the museum” and used the contour of the sculptures and the museum’s colours to design his deck chair.

Imogen George explained “The inspiration for my design was to take simplistic shapes I found in the Gordine collection from on-site sketching, and incorporate them with details from the Russian collection to create a design that encompassed the feeling of both”.

Maya Dew was inspired by the patinas used in Gordine’s work. she explained “By working solely off the textural surface of the sculptures, the inspiration of impressions and imprints of Gordine’s work become spatial- temporal echoes of these organic structures continuing the narrative of Gordine’s creative process”.

We would like to thank all the students who entered the competition and look forward to welcoming visitors, staff and students to the museum garden to enjoy the new deck chairs in our tranquil orchard setting when we are able to reopen.

We are grateful to Kingston University Alumni for their generous support of the competition.

Process image from Hen Coleman’s Dorich House Museum Studio Residency 2019, titled ‘Black Wood’.

Hen Coleman, Black Wood

Oxfordshire based artist Hen Coleman spent the spring and summer of 2019 at Dorich House Museum as part of her Studio Residency, entitled Black Wood. Coleman created a new body of drawings, using charcoal she had made from the wide variety of woods available from the Museum gardens, including apple, pear, cherry, mulberry and hornbeam trees, literally bringing the outside, in. The resulting landscapes were presented within Dora Gordine’s studio, forming a re-interpretation of the building’s natural surroundings.

Nature Inside

Inspired by and reflecting upon Gordine’s personal and professional legacy, the publication Dora: Dialogues on Women’s Creative Practice and Thinking aims to provide an intellectual space for framing and disseminating ideas, images and words that consider the breadth of women’s creative practice, and a platform from which to generate an open dialogue within an international context.

Professor Penny Sparke is the Director of Kingston University’s Modern Interiors Research Centre. Her contribution to Dora, Nature Inside: Plants and Flowers in Modern Interiors provides an overview of ‘interiorscaping’ as it relates to the narrative of human beings’ relationship to nature. The essay forms part of her wider research project Nature Inside which will be published by Yale University Press in 2021. 

Papers for the volume are released in a loosely curated series, allowing the content to accumulate, through the contributions of individual researchers and collaborative partnerships, as these emerge and develop over time. Dora is available as PDF Papers for free download here.


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