My name is Cornelia Parker and I'm an artist and I make all kinds of work, from sculpture and installations to photographs and drawings.
I think design means for me almost when man back in time decided to do something conscious. You know ... to shape something and make something different from just using things that were lying around. So whoever designed the wheel were onto a good thing. For me it's very fundamental and basic, it's just how do you consciously shape some material to have some use.
Being a sculptor who uses found objects, all the objects I use in my work have been designed by other people. So I'm tweaking them in some way by squashing them or throwing them off cliffs! Then I formalise my damage by suspending them or arranging them in some kind of way. So I'm using other people's design in a way, so I'm an 'un-maker'. I un-make other people's designs. I mean, I've taken things like a Georgian silver spoon and had it melted down and drawn into a wire the height of Niagara Falls for example, to make a drawing, literally ... a kind of wire drawing. So I've destroyed the object, but I've called it 'Measuring Niagara as a Teaspoon', so you get the idea in your head that you are looking at a teaspoon that has been made into the height of Niagara Falls, or is trying to measure Niagara Falls by being filled.
I think the V&A is indispensable to artists and designers and to anyone who has ... owns things that are designed, because it just shows you how things are made and gives you thousands of examples. You know, if you want to see German wrought iron, for example, there's lots of examples here. If you want to see English embroidery from the 1600s - it's here. It's just the most incredible resource.
Design impacts me in everything I do. Because, as I say, everything I own is designed. So the building I live in, the objects I choose to boil water in for example, even drinking vessels. There's only a couple of coffee cups I'll use, because I like the way they feel in my hand. I realise I've got lots of others but I won't use them because I just don't like ... the thickness of the ceramic is too much or the glaze isn't right. And I realise all those little things, all throughout the day - like the clothes I wear, that my shoes are comfortable - all that stuff affects me.
I think design is completely intrinsic. I mean, I think before I even wanted to become an artist, I wanted to be a designer. And the V&A has been one of my favourite museums for many years, because it's all about how things are made as well as designed. As a sculptor I'm very interested in the way things are made ... so I can un-make them!
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