“Vera looks at the last delicate fluff of floss, disconnected by her sudden movement, clinging to the edge of its stick. She jams it into her mouth and the sugar grains stick between her teeth and she looks left and right and she crosses the road.”
Who’s Vera, we here you cry, well… in a way, she’s nobody, and everybody. Let me explain: Kirsty Minns and Érika Muller – who met working for celebrated design manufacturer Established & Sons – found a collection of curious photographs at a second hand shop in Brighton. History unknown, the fictional character of Vera was born, a curious muse for the duo; her history and experiences at their disposal.
Debuting Vera Chapter One at London Design Festival 2011, the pair invited ten designers to choose one of the thirty-one found photographs of ‘Vera’ from which to create a unique work; elegant vases, wallpaper and screen prints were some of the designs that comprised the collection. And, this year, Vera returned, as Minns and Muller introduced Vera Chapter Two at Brompton Design District’s beautiful 4 Cromwell Place venue (and in an accompanying installation at nearby chocolatier, Cocomaya).
Following a similar formula, this year four writers were invited to realise a story each based on just one photograph. From John Douglas Millar’s dark tale of lost memories, and a lost life, to a fortune teller’s somewhat stark outline of Vera’s future in Ewan Gault’s seaside tale; the breadth of creative insight derived from just one photograph is quite compelling, and a certain inspiration it’s been for the nine designers who’ve created works based upon them. Many of the same designers who featured in Vera Chapter One.
We managed to catch a reading of the works on Saturday and – aside from the heart-stopping moment when one of the actors dropped, and subsequently caught, Study O Portable’s devilishly bulbous Sandglass – it was one of the week’s special moments, caught in the fictional fantasy that the inspirational team behind this project have so brilliantly made reality, the works seemed all the more poignant, and beautiful. Daring, accomplished and exceptionally original.