Green rabbits, old newspapers and doorstops are among the objects which feature in an eclectic exhibition at the PM Gallery. JANE HARRISON spoke to curators Carl Clerkin and Carol Swords
A30-year-old plastic collection stretches the length of a room, an eclectic mix of household objects once stolen by thieves and a knitted woodpecker lies in a jewelled puddle of its own blood.
These are just some of the disparate objects which fill the homes of 16 designers and have become part of a startling new exhibition at the PM Gallery and House in Mattock Lane, Ealing.
Bottom Drawers is a collection of images, installations and objects inspired by the stuff we choose or inherit for our own homes.
Each artist explores the capacity of household objects to provoke emotions and memories, both funny and sad.
These range from Neil Austin's colour-co-ordinated plastic collection (including a green dragon and salt and pepper pots) which took him 30 years to collect, to Freddie Robins' hand-knitted woodpecker based on a true story where a real woodpecker pecked itself to death after seeing its reflection in the mirror.
Perhaps the strangest objects are those 'curated' by thieves. Put together by artists Ben Coode-Adams and Freddie Robins, it includes a random selection of objects stolen from their home - a toy gun, a Hebrew prayer book, plastic rabbits - and later returned after the culprits were caught.
The exhibition, which is part of the London Design Festival, includes images of the artists at home and a film by Martin Hampton which documents four obsessive hoarders whose collections are out of control.
The manor's attic was raided for the furniture, books and even doors which have been carefully arranged in the middle of the gallery and strewn throughout the house.
This inspired exhibition, which attracted over 700 people to the private view, was co-curated by internationally renowned furniture and product designer Carl Clerkin and Carol Swords, the gallery's arts programme manager.
Carl, 34, says: "Our stuff gives our homes their character. Our homes are peppered with things that go beyond necessities and begin to depict our personalities.
"Possessions of memory, wealth, pleasure, leisure and love become almost trophies of the emotional connections we form with our homes. This exhibition aims to explore these connections."
He says it was easy to coax his designer friends into throwing open their homes to him: "I like the work for very different reasons.
"The woodpeckers blew me away. Freddie's work is beautiful and tragic at the same time.
"Maisie's (Broadhead) work is fantastic. The most important thing to her is her family."
He is talking about a stunning photograph where Maisie's family replaces the characters in Hogarth's The Heir (Rake's Progress) print with her sisters, parents and herself.
While at first glance the objects from the Soane attic might appear random, Carl spent hours carefully arranging them, from the newspapers to the rubbish and old filing cabinets.
Carol says: "This has been a year in the making but two years in my head. There are so many things we collect that can reduce you to tears, but have no financial value.
"What we live with is very close to my own heart."
One of the works she particularly liked was Rosie Irvine's Home Comforts. Carol says: "When she was a child she liked to draw so much her parents put up a blackboard by the kitchen door so we did the same by asking visitors to use the chalk on our blackboard.
"I also like Maisie's pointless carpet that goes around a bed, but not under it and Gael Horsfall's Breton kitchen. We try and give the house relevance. These famous designers have made the house come alive."
* The exhibition runs until October 25. Carl will lead an informal tour around the exhibition tomorrow (Saturday) at 2pm. Free admission.