We have been to London this weekend and I managed to see three great exhibitions. At the British Museum the 'Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman' was thoughtfully curated by Grayson Perry. http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/grayson_perry.aspx The British Museum is so full of stuff it was good to have a few special pieces handpicked and put into a context. Broken into areas such as pilgrimage, relics, maps, shamanism. I particularly loved the Asafo flag and reminded me of a fantastic show I saw at the Barbican about 15 years ago of these graphic appliqued political flags.It provided me a turning point in my practice which is still influencing me today. What is fantastic about the British Museum is that you can access images and descriptions of nearly all the objects online.
I did quite a few pages of sketchbook drawing which really makes you look closely at detail.
The last piece in the show contained Perry's largest sculpture which was a mixture of objects cast in metal from real objects in the Museum. At its centre was a flint axe head which is the starting point really of all making and craft, the first invention.I actually have a flint head like this of my own ( it probably should be in a Museum) which was dug up by my Grandfather with the plough on the farm at home in Norfolk. The Norfolk soil is full of them. It is one of my most precious possessions, I can't believe I actually own something which is Neolithic and about 3000 years old.
On then to 'The Power of Making' http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/exhibitions/power-of-making/power-of-making/at the V and A which neatly complimented Perry's exhibition but was about how contemporary makers and craftspeople are using tools and making and developing techniques.
We ended the day at the Wellcome Trust which is always challenging and inspiring. "Miracles and Charms" http://www.wellcomecollection.org/whats-on/exhibitions/miracles--charms.aspx was a rare chance to see votive paintings from Mexico and a superb collection of amulets carried around by Londoners in the past to bring luck and ward off evil.