Over the course of their professional lives, the graphic designer Charles Hasler and textile artist Arthur Silver acquired a large body of material for visual reference. Including everything from cigarette cards, postcards, used envelopes, colour wheels and newspaper cuttings to an important collection of Japanese katagami stencils, these collections are now held at the Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (MoDA) at Middlesex University. Alongside the designers’ finished works, these collections form a unique insight into the nature of creative inspiration and its impact on practice.
The Hasler and Silver Studio ephemera collections at MoDA are part of a language of individual collector archives, such as the Soanes Museum or the Wallace Collection. These collections provide important perspectives on why and how people collect and value the applied arts, and in drawing on these objects, artworks in their own right are created. Creative practitioners always have found and will continue to find inspiration in these kinds of archive, opening up new worlds for their own practice. These kinds of collections not only give young makers and designers the opportunity to get close to archival objects and learn from them materially, but also gives them the opportunity to learn how to develop their own methodologies of creative practice.