Plaster casts turn their backs to us

The plaster casts in the ground floor of the Mackintosh Building seem to be in a bad mood these days. Shying away from the crowds, they have become quite introspective… they have even turned their backs on us! It’s nothing personal however, for this is the work of Brandon Cramm, a Glasgow School of Art MFA student, who has rotated the statues in the ground floor corridors of the Mackintosh Building 180º to reveal the construction of their backs in his work titled Posterior.  His interest in doing this comes from the idea of altering conventional perspectives of art historical objects, and also seeking to consider the position of and attitudes towards Mackintosh as a designer of architecture.

The accompanying text, which is available for visitors on the stationary benches in both corridors, has been written by Simon Buckley, a fellow MFA candidate. As a former tour guide for The Mackintosh Building, he has an insight into the history and context of the space and of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Having a shared interest in the collective appreciation of the Mackintosh legacy, Brandon and Simon were both attracted to the speculative and interpretive nature of how to approach his design decisions today.

The School currently holds in the region of two hundred plaster casts, from fairly small scale architectural pieces to full size statues, representing examples of sculpture from ancient Greece and Rome and from medieval and renaissance Europe. Most of these casts are housed in the corridors of the Mackintosh Building.

Antique class in Studio 40, 1900. Image courtesy of T. & R. ANNAN & SONS Ltd.

Antique class in Studio 40, 1900. Image courtesy of T. & R. ANNAN & SONS Ltd.

In the nineteenth century, drawing was the foundation stone for all of Glasgow School of Art’s courses. Students were encouraged to spend weeks perfecting a life drawing or indeed drawing from ‘the cast’. The archives contain a number of photographs showing students drawing from the plaster casts in the corridors, studios and museum area of the Mackintosh building.  We also have a number of student drawings of plaster casts which date from the early 20th century. If you’re interested in coming to have a look, do get in touch.



BACS Meet the Archivists workshop for artists, architects and designers


The Business Archives Council of Scotland is holding its 2nd Meet the Archivists day on Friday 20th September at the Edinburgh College of Art.

The aim of the Meet the Archivists event is to bring together academics and archivists to discuss and explore with students how business archive collections can be used for their research. This year they are focusing on creative and design use of business archives, so the event is primarily aimed at college of art students, architectural and design students.

working-archive-logo-transparent-largeThe workshop is part of the current Working Archive campaign to increase awareness of the importance of business archives. You can find out more in our previous blog post about the campaign and the coinciding Scotland at Work exhibition, and on the Working Archive blog.

Further details will be available soon on the Scottish Council on Archives website. We’ll keep you posted!

Inspirational images from the Institute of Mechanical Engineering

Japanese designer Yuya Ushida uses mechanical engineering to generate his XXXX furniture range for Dutch brand Ahrend.

Japanese designer Yuya Ushida uses mechanical engineering to generate his XXXX furniture range for Dutch brand Ahrend.

Showcasing archive and current images and videos of engineers, projects, inventions, designs and innovations (old and new), the Institute of Mechanical Engineering’s new Pinterest page aims to educate and inspire people about mechanical engineering through visuals. And as it’s so visual, we thought this site would be of particular interest to artists and other creative practitioners.

It also contains useful examples of how various creative practitioners have been using mechanical engineering as inspiration for their work. For example, Japanese designer Yuya Ushida has used mechanical engineering to generate his XXXX furniture range for Dutch brand Ahrend (see image above).

You can view the Pinterest page here. For more information about the Institute of Mechanical Engineering see their website or their Archives page.

Etienne Oehmichen's experimental helicopter, 1921 (PHO-NC-3)

Etienne Oehmichen’s experimental helicopter, 1921 (PHO-NC-3)

#GLTU10: Glasgow School of Art 28/6/13

Thanks to Anabel and the rest of the Library Tweetup folks for visiting!

Glasgow Library Tweetups

Nine of us gathered in the magnificent Mackintosh Building (pictured above) for the latest GLTU visit, to @GSALibrary, and the second in collaboration with SALCTG. The Glasgow School of Art is internationally recognised as one of Europe’s foremost university-level institutions for creative education and research in fine art, design and architecture. The school was founded in 1845 as a centre of creativity promoting good design for the manufacturing industries and since then, has continuously evolved to reflect the needs of communities and embrace technological developments.

Unfortunately, the Mackintosh Library itself is closed for refurbishment, as is the present day library, but the Archive was a more than acceptable substitute. First of all, there was a tour of the archives by Archivist Susannah Waters, taking in the School’s heritage and the growth of the archive. After tea and cake (no library gathering is complete without them) Graduate Library Trainee Jennifer…

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Glasgow Garnethill Women’s Heritage Walk

Glasgow Women’s Library have recently launched another of their sucessful Glasgow Women’s Heritage walks, this time focussing on the fascinating Garnethill area. As 19th century Glasgow prospered, it expanded west. The wealthy middle-classes built detached residences on the drumlin of Garnethill. A century on, Garnethill had grown into a bohemian enclave, home to theatre people, incomers, artists and activists, and some remarkable women who shaped this corner of the city. The GWL bills the walk as follows:

Garnethill is at the heart of Glasgow’s city centre but remains an unknown quarter for many. This walk takes in its grand tenements, painted gables, a miniature park, a synagogue and world acclaimed architectural triumphs. These and other fascinating landmarks help us to tell the stories of some of the most remarkable achievements of women in Glasgow’s history. Within Garnethill’s confined boundaries we spotlight the women who pioneered European art movements, designed the banners for suffragette processions, created the first women’s Library in Scotland and made Garnethill into the most exciting cultural and multicultural hotspot in Glasgow.

Garnethill is also home of course to our wonderful Glasgow School of Art. Perched atop the hills of Scott Street and Dalhousie Street, the Mackintosh Building is a beacon of architecture and design. We were happy to provide an photography of former headmaster Fra Newbery with a class of female students from 1894-5 for the booklet.


GSAA P/1/5 Headmaster Fra Newbery with female students, c1894-5

The inaugural guided walk has now sadly passed, but intrepid rovers can undertake a self-guided walk around Garnethill with the aid of a specially designed map.

For more information about the Garnethill Heritage Walk visit the walk launch event page. For details of forthcoming guided walking tours and information on how to download maps and audio tours so you can try out the walks for yourself, see the Glasgow Women’s Library website.

Image credit: The Glasgow Women's Library

Image credit: The Glasgow Women’s Library

#GLTU10: GSA Library & Learning Resources

On Friday, it was our pleasure to host the tenth Glasgow Library Tweetup (GLTU) to members of GLTU and Scottish Academic Libraries consortium-group SALCTG.
GLTU is a group of information professionals from all over Glasgow who meet up to visit a particular information service every few months and network with other librarians. Founder Anabel Marsh, was a Librarian at Strathclyde University for many years and is very interested in social media in libraries. She started GLTU after discovering a large network of local librarians on Twitter who were interacting virtually without ever having met. Anabel took the initiative to form a group which would tour libraries around Glasgow. The idea’s been a triumph so, intrigued to find out what all the fuss is about, we thought we’d take a turn at presenting what we do in the Library and the Archives and Collections Centre.
NMC_377, Bourdon architectural sketchFirstly, the School’s archivist Susannah Waters gave an excellent tour of the archives, selecting examples of pieces held in the archive that reveal lots about the School’s history. Susannah explained the development of the School’s archive and discussed its use by students and visitors. Among the many highlights were Joan Eardley’s Italian Farmhouse,which was completed during Eardley’s tour of Italy as part of her travelling scholarship in the late 1940s, Eugene Bourdon’s beaux arts architectural sketches, and letters from the School’s Headmaster discussing the types of animals to be brought into the Animal Room for life- drawing classes. There was particular interest in the political activism of GSA’s female students, including Ann MacBeth who was imprisoned and underwent force-feeding while on hunger strike in support of women’s suffrage. A potential opportunity to conduct more exploratory research into the School’s archive of letters and textile materials arose in a discussion with members of the Glasgow Women’s Library who seemed keen to collaborate!
A talk on InfosmART followed, with the group being introduced to the Library’s award-winning portfolio of online modules for developing information-literacy. The idea was to showcase how GSA Library supports students to develop information-literacy skills given the unconventional variety of visual sources that inform artistic practice. These sources could easily have been some of the beautiful pieces we’d just seen in the Archives such as a travel diary by former student John Jack Lindsay from 1950; a textile design notebook by former student Daisy M Anderson, c1931-1935.
Jack Lindsay travel diary

Jack Lindsay travel diary


Daisy Anderson sketchbook

Daisy Anderson sketchbook

The event was a great success: we all learned from each other about different roles in the library and information sector; shared best practice and exchanged knowledge about the hidden treasures in some local libraries and how libraries can support their visitors to make best use of these resources.

We’re already looking forward to the next GLTU!
Reblogged from GSA Library’s News Blog

The Hatchery, where ideas are born

GSA Library have launched a new creative research mini-site called The Hatchery.

Discover how artists, writers and creatives have used the collections of Glasgow School of Art Library to inspire, challenge or expand their practice. From interventions into our spaces, to installations amongst our shelves, our collections can be used to explore and challenge artistic, cultural and philosophical themes and preoccupations.

The site is full of useful and interesting case studies about how GSA students and other creative practitioners have been using GSA Library and its holdings.

You can visit the site here. Get cracking!

Sew Last Century! at the The West End Festival

A while ago now, but we thought you might like to see a few snaps of the Sew Last Century troopers take part in Glasgow’s West End Festival Parade, which took place a few weeks ago. The girls looked fab in their very own designs inspired by GSA Archives and Collections’ Sylvia Chalmers sketches, designs and textiles. And look, sunshine!


For more information about Sew Last Century!’s work with the Archives and Collections Centre, see our previous blog post.