I went to the Harry Ransom Center during my STA meeting this week to check out the Rise of Everyday Design exhibit. This was my first time to the Harry Ransom building so I really didn’t know what to expect. I found the inside of the building smaller than expected! It looks like a huge museum when you’re approaching.
I thought the exhibit was very thorough though I would have loved to see more product design from the Arts & Crafts movement vs mostly print and photography. I would definitely return to the HRC on my own time and really enjoyed the exhibit. Here are a few notable pieces I loved learning about –
Norman Dawn’s Glass Shot:
I’d never heard of the term “glass shot” before and know very little about filming. Honestly I was drawn to this Norman Dawn exhibit because of his sketches and illustrations! I especially love the sketch of this weird contraption he built to test the exposure of film strips. The style of his drawing is very similar to the product design sketches in my textbooks and the kind we draw in class while prototyping our projects. I found it really cool that those standards and techniques have remained over time.
I love Frank LLoyd Wright’s work so I really enjoyed looking at his renderings as well as Harwell Hamilton Harris’ sketches. Perspective drawing is a skill I want to gain this year and both Wright and Harris provide beautiful examples. Wright’s clean lines and choice details in his renderings are so calculated and pristine. I love the detail of the carpet which was custom made for this particular house.
Harris’ use of color in his perspective sketches was great and really made them come alive.
I was very absorbed by the whole photography section of the exhibit, especially the work of Otto Steinert. I’d never heard of a gelatin silver print before but I really enjoyed the disorienting and whimsical nature of his print work.
William Morris Textiles & Lettering:
I was drawn to these Morris & Co wallpaper and fabric prints due to my love of textiles and new fascination with wood-block printing! I recently took a class with Darrell Howard learning her process of Japanese Wood-block Printing. It’s equally laborious and beautiful. William Morris also used this labor-intensive method of printing to create his repeat nature patterns seen below. Morris’ vision of “art for all” really resonated with me. I also found his lettering work really fascinating. I think Jessica Hische (http://jessicahische.is/awesome) likely takes inspiration from this work.