I'm really excited about a new project that I'll be working on this summer. Last year I came up with the idea to create the type of museum shop I would like to visit at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe. During lockdown I had studied their online collection, in search of inspiration and I began to wonder what their gift shop would be like. This became the focus of a body of work that I exhibited in the Meiklejohn Gallery in Lewes during the Artwave Festival last September. I called the show Emma Carlow's Make Believe Museum Shop. I displayed a room full of pretend gifts that I would buy if I had visited the folk museum. They included a paint-your-own, flat-pack tree of life, a collection of kites inspired by Mexican masks, a knitting pattern for a Peruvian doll shaped purse and a make-your-own folk doll tea towel.
Earlier this year Jack and Emily from Pollock's Toy Museum got in touch with me to ask if I would like to work with them. Naturally, I was delighted and rushed up to visit them. If you have never visited the museum at 1 Scala Street, London W1, I urge you to do so. It houses a fantastic and diverse collection of toys, collected from all the corners of the globe by Jack's great grandmother, Marguerite Fawdry. Apart from the exhibits themselves, the displays are extremely beautiful, with little vignettes in wall hung boxes, lined with lovely old patterned papers. The museum has a deeply personal feel. I don't know if it reflects the nature of Mrs Fawdry, but it feels as if it might. To quote Robert Louis Stevenson, "If you love art, folly or the bright eyes of children, speed to Pollock's"
Jack and Emily have offered me the museum shop space in November and I cannot think of a better place to create another Make Believe Museum Shop, this time inspired by the Pollock's collection of toys!
I have made a start by making a set of dishes inspired by a collection of wooden dolls' heads in a cabinet in the doll room. Look out for more on my Instagram account @emmacarlow.