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22. March, 2010 / Idun

A few thoughts after a London trip.

I went to London on the 17th of March. A trip with the university. It was a very long day, and by the end of it I was completely exhausted, but well worth it.

First stop was a shop called Few and Far. It’s an interesting shop, owned by a woman that only have things she herself enjoys in her shop. It is all based on her personal taste. I did find some pieces of interest, for example two pieces by Daniel Fisher.

We also went to another similar shop called Mint. Mint was established in 1998 by Lina Kanafani, who is constantly in search of new innovative objects to add to the collection. It is a wonderful mix of design furniture and objects, and one-off pieces.

I find both these shops quite fascinating. If galleries and design shops could have babies, this would be it! It has made me think about where my own work would be displayed and sold. I feel as if I am stuck in the middle; I am not quite on the fine art side of craft, but I do not quite belong on the design side either (at least not product/industrial design for mass production and consumption). So where would I exhibit? Do I belong in a gallery or a design shop? It is interesting that for a very long time there has been no “in the middle”. The galleries have been for fine art, for sculpture and paintings, and incomprehensible installations that display the inner turbulent life of the artist. The design shops for high-end product and industrial design, sleek and modern furniture, electronics  and tableware.

I do believe that the interest in the grey zone between fine art and design has increased. People seem to want unique design objects, something that can have a decorative and focal point function in addition to having a basic function, that being lighting, a vase or a bowl, or something else. We want something that has a deeper meaning and a story. We want the stories, we want to hear about the background, we want to hear about the artist or designer, we want to hear about their thoughts and ideas, and we want to hear how this object came to be. Lina Kanafani at Mint told eagerly about how customers demand this, and how much time is spent on creating ways of telling these stories to them.

I believe that this is one of the reason why shops like Few and Far and Mint have started to emerge; to satisfy this new interest. To me they seem like the place where all the objects in the grey zone can “fit in”. They have room for the uniqueness and the stories in design. Retail galleries. I think it’s absolutely brilliant. I also believe that this is where I could “fit in”, being a part of this vast grey zone myself. I think it is difficult to place yourself, to find your spot in the sunlight. I find it very difficult myself, however, this trip to London has opened my eyes to a new way of displaying that I quite honestly didn’t really know existed. In a way it gives me new hope that there is actually room for us grey-zoners, and that there is an arena for us to display our work.

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