Cardiff Museum Visit

On my first day of Artist: Designer Maker, I went to Cardiff Museum to look have a look around and see what takes my interest.

The Marine Section

I found that the things I was most interested in were the marine exhibitions because of the strange forms that sea creatures take. I also find that there’s something really frightening about them because they look like things that come from an entirely different planet and they have the most amazing ways of functioning and existing.

I have always found looking at these kinds of creatures useful for my practice because I like referencing the weird yet elegant forms they take. I also like the concepts for example how they survive and hunt, it’s scary yet thrilling to learn about.

The basking shark that hangs has impressed me since I was a child. There’s a strange sense of it being tamed and yet so alive and ready to move around. Its gaping mouth always terrified me and sends an odd chill down my spine as I look at it but more so when I turn my back to it. The shark may not be directly linked to making or artwork but I think that considering the way that it makes me feel will help me understand the way that I would want people to feel about my work. I want the work to have a defined impression on somebody before and after seeing it, almost like it has a strong aura like I’ve always found this basking shark has.
The end of a sand mason worm. I found the form of the creature really interesting because of how serpentine it is and also how skeletal it looks underneath the shell. I also find the way the creature exists strange and yet really clever and practical.
The body of the sand mason worm. They build tubes out of sand and shell fragments. The end of the sand mason worm appears frayed and are often seen tow tide.
I found this ctenophore  (specifically pleuroboracha rhododactyla) that I was attracted to because of the shape. It initially reminded me of the Golden Snitch from Harry Potter and I liked the wing like elements and the delicacy of the whole thing. I learned that there are a lot of different kinds of ctenophores and most of them swim through the ocean although there is one kind that crawls along the sea bed. These creatures are carnivorous and use sticky cells called colloblasts in order to capture to prey. They can sometimes be known as sea jellies or sea walnuts.
I was drawn to this radiolaria for similar reasons that I was drawn to the ctenophore. I liked the intricate nature of the creature, particularly this one because of the the little holes of the spines that are coming out of it. I find these beautiful forms interesting to observe because they are unusual and for a person to make this would take an awful lot of time and planning but these small things just make them without thinking. Radiolaria can also be known as radiozoa and are extremely small, measuring only 0.1-0.2mm in diameter. However, the things that make these creatures especially fascinating is how they are able to produce these intricate skeletons that being with a central capsule that divides and builds these structures.
I love jellyfish because of how beautiful and elegant they are whilst also being very dangerous. They’re also very ethereal and ghostly which I have always found to be an enticing trait in things, I really love those things that look like apparitions from other planes.

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I was fascinated by the grotesque form that’s really squished into the jar and it looks horrible and creepy but darkly fascinating. I don’t know what it is about them but they’re very enticing and it reminds me of how people always want to look at strange things such as freak shows, oddities from all around the world. They also remind me of the victorian times when people would go to museums to look at really strange things that scientifically were often complete bogus because they altered the thing in question for spectacle.

The Art Section

The next section that I had a look at was the ceramics on the first floor. I found that I was more drawn in by the things that had very fluid, organic shapes rather than things that were extremely meticulous.

Magaret Hine Goat made from tin-glazed earthenware. Margaret Hine was a potter who made a number of animal figures. I was drawn to it because of the patterns on it and because there’s something very ancient about this way of depicting animals in a very simplistic way. I love the way it’s stylised and not super fussy about detail and you can tell that it’s about the pattern as well as the form.



Steffen Dam Fossil Panel made from glass. I love the shapes and the colours on these glass panels. They’re so energetic even though they’re referred to in the title as being fossils, I can just imagine them swimming around the ocean. I think this is because the colours are so light. I really like how squishy and bouncy they are and yet glass has no flex, it just shatters so I think it’s amazing how this effect has been accomplished and I didn’t think that this sort of thing could be done with glass and it certainly makes me more interested in the medium. I’d always thought that colours on glass could be quite heavy in a way and I’ve never been massively keen on it, but this has certainly opened my eyes to the possibilities of glass.

These were the main things that really caught my interest in the museum, like I said at the beginning, they tend to be things based on natural forms because things in nature can often be shapes, colours and forms that could never be imagined.



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