Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft is home to an internationally important collection of work from artists who worked in the village including Eric Gill, Edward Johnston, Frank Brangwyn, David Jones and Ethel Mairet. In 2013 the museum reopened after a major redevelopment with a beautiful new Clore Learning Studio, a professional collection store and greatly improved visitor facilities. In 2014 the museum became a Finalist for Art Fund Museum of the Year and was awarded a midlist on the RIBA Sterling Prize.
Residency Theme 2017
Being able to see special objects and works of art and craft in the village where they were made is a rare opportunity. It offers a unique way to consider how the objects were made and who they were made for. The impact of the many artists and craftspeople who came to live and work in Ditchling from the beginning of the 20th century onwards established this village as one of the most important places for the visual arts and crafts in Britain.
The 2017 residency, which is open to design and crafts practitioners based in Poland, has been planned to culminate with the exhibition; New Materials: Wood, at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft between 7 September 2017 - 1 January 2018. This new show brings together a 19th century Arts and Craft theory of materials with a contemporary approach to building sustainability into object design. Edward Johnston, and many other artists who lived in Ditchling in the early twentieth century followed an approach promoted by John Ruskin that the natural qualities of materials should not be hidden but should be respected and used with integrity. Across a three year programme of exhibitions, Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft will examine the evolution of this theory and the relevance to contemporary art, craft and design.
The first exhibition in this programme, New Materials: Wood, will bring together a wide range of art, design and craft objects to ask whether we naturally understand our emotional attachment to the material of wood, or whether artists, designers or craftspeople can reinforce, challenge or subvert our response. The resident practitioner will explore these questions posed by the exhibition during the residency.
Designer in Residence 2016
Design typographer Viktoriya Grabowska was selected for the inaugural residency in 2016. Over the course of her residency in Ditchling, Viktoriya explored how typefaces become part of the urban visual landscape, in particular how they are related to the identity of a particular place or even particular group of people. Watch a short film on Victoriya's residency here.
Further details of the 2017 residency and accompanying programme will be revealed soon.