Pas de deux

Lin Cheung & Laura Potter for museumaker



What is a carat?

Good old Wikipedia


Lucinda's Commission: Scrimshaw

One of the objects admired by Lucinda in The Captain Cook Birthplace Museum was a piece of horn decorated with scrimshaw. An art form developed from the practices of sailors on whaling ships during the mid 1700s, scrimshaw continued until the ban on commercial whaling. The practice has come to describe the process of scratching and colouring (inking) the surface of bone or bone-substitute. Lin and Laura have become novice scrimshanders. The work-in-progress display includes their first tentative experiments - some more successful than others - together with some of the tools and raw materials. Their scrimshaw has been tested on camel bone, faux ivory (plastic) and a laminated paper based material called ‘micarta’.

Indian ink on bone
Indian ink on bone
Indian ink on bone
Indian ink on bone
Indian ink on bone, faux ivory (plastic), paper micarta

Lucinda's Commission: A question of identity

This set of objects is connected to the idea of an alter-ego or even a secret identity, and the question of which is the ‘real you’. The plain white fabric collar is part of Court dress - a kind of uniform for certain members of the legal profession - and is referred to as “bands”. Using the idea that the wearer might be a covert barrister or solicitor, the bands have been remade to blend in with other forms of attire. Here we have sketch models for Ninja bands, Viking bands and Smart Casual bands. The two I.D. passes are similarly connected to notions of dual identity. One allows access to and is recognised by an ancient group of peoples, and the other is clearly understood to be part of contemporary society.

Ninja bands
Viking bands
Smart Casual bands
ID card in Viking script

Lucinda's Commission: Objects and legality

These images deal with a person’s public persona, and their private one. The story and image describe two Samurai sisters avenging the death of their father in the most ‘proper’ fashion possible. Here, there is a tension between the intention to act violently and the desire to adhere to the law. These look like typical Japanese ladies, when in fact they are something else entirely. This illustrates the idea that an object could be made to look like one thing, but act like another. The Prevention of Crime Act 1953 is an Act of Parliament of the UK restricting the carrying of offensive weapons in public. The Act defines an offensive weapon by indicating three categories, the last of which is “articles intended for use for causing injury to the person”. This would cover normal items such as scissors and (potentially) any item of jewellery that was intended for use as a weapon: even a brooch pin.

Miyago and Shinobu practice before taking revenge upon their father's killer

"One of the most dramatic accounts of women wielding swords in anger concerns a revenge killing where the avengers were the man’s two daughters: Miyagino and Shinobu, who carried out their vendetta with exemplary attention to the legal processes required by the Tokugawa shogunate. Popular accounts of the affair exist in many versions. The factual basis of the story concerns a samurai, called Shiga Daishichi, who was on the run because of a misdemeanour and hid in a paddy field in a village near Shiroshi in Mutsu province. By chance, a farmer, Yomosaku, who had been transplanting rice seedlings, observed him and in his surprise Shiga Daishichi panicked and killed the farmer. Yomosaku had two daughters, the eldest of whom, Miyagino, had (according to the more romantic versions of the tale) been engaged to be married, but through poverty had been sold into prostitution and become a courtesan of the highest status in Yoshiwara, in Edo. The younger daughter, Shinobu, intending to tell her elder sister about her father’s death, went to Edo, where she tracked down her sister. They then secretly slipped away from Yoshiwara in order to seek revenge for their father’s death, and began to study the martial arts under the guidance of Miagino’s samurai fiancĂ©. They were eager in their pursuit of knowledge, and the result was the vengeance on their father’s enemy, Shiga Daishichi, in 1649. 
The girls were determined to carry out the revenge themselves, and the details are largely historical. When the time was ripe, they went through the formalities of asking their daimyo for authorization to avenge the death of their father. There was, in this case, no need for a long search for the enemy, as he had remained in the daimyo’s service. The lord accordingly ordered the man to be brought before him to face the girls in combat. Miyagino was armed with a naginata while Shinobu wielded a kusari gama, the sharpened sickle to which was attached along weighted chain. Shiga Daishichi’s sword was rendered ineffectual with the aid of the chain, and the other sister finished him off with her naginata."
This story is an excerpt from Samurai Women 1184-1877
Author Stephen Turnbull
Illustrator Giuseppe Rava
© 2010 Osprey Publishing ltd
1953 Prevention of Crime Act

Lucinda's Commission: Urban Viking

These badges allow a little piece of Viking to creep inconspicuously into everyday life. There is a set of nine badges that can be worn together to create an image of a full brooch, or they can be scattered randomly obscuring the full image. Some are adjusted into basic cyan, magenta, yellow and black, so that they can be co-ordinated to suit any outfit. There is also a set of badges showing tiny glimpses of a silver Viking hoard. The Cuerdale Hoard AD300 – 1100 was found at the bank of the River Ribble, North Yorkshire in 1840. Lucinda is involved in Viking re-enactment: the experience of which relies upon ‘letting go’ of as much contemporary paraphernalia as possible. These badges are an attempt to ease the process of getting into character, by allowing the Viking-side of life to creep into aspects of 21st Century existence in an unobtrusive way.

m badges [cmyk]
Badges from a Viking hoard
9 part brooch badges

Charlotte's Commission: Thread winder

The thread winding samples explore an idea for a piece that requires its owner to learn a new technique. These samples were made using a standard sewing machine. The pieces would be made using a specially adapted machine, and would take time and practice in order to become skilled in their production. The owner would be given a machine, a large quantity of blank pieces (wearable) and a selection of threads. The blank pieces, onto which the thread is wound, might be made of a variety of materials, both precious and non-precious. This piece is essentially a toolkit, meaning that the owner has enormous influence over the finished works. It is about developing a new (and unique) making-process, together with the production of a new piece of jewellery.

Samples using four colours
First trials