Black and white;Secondary;Technology;Reviews;Books

8th January 1999 at 00:00
PACIFIC DESIGNS. By Rebecca Jewell and Jude Lloyd. British Museum Press pound;8.99.

Design and technology teachers do it, graphics teachers have been doing it for years and art teachers are just discovering it. The black and white photocopier is the most pupil-friendly tool in a teacher's kit-bag. The ease and speed of the medium adds pace to lessons. At the click of a button, students who "can't draw" can be let loose into the two-tone world of clip art and Encarta print-outs.

This pragmatic view of art and craft education combines well with the British Museum Press collection of drawings from objects in the ethnography department.

It is clear from the introduction that the authors Rebecca Jewell and Jude Lloyd are inspired by their material. There is a helpful map with explanations of trade routes and the effects of colonisation. The authors lead us into a world where art, culture and society are one.

This richness and diversity could be very stimulating it if were not for the images. All the artefacts are reduced to black and white line drawings. Unfortunately, to discover the material make-up of these products, readers have to plough through the Notes on Designs section. Potentially inspiring references to "inlaid pearl-shell, high-relief carved paddles", or "double fish-hook bridal ornament" sit in dry dock at the front of the book while the motifs themselves float material-less and becalmed in the main pages. There is no sense of scale, texture or symbolism to inform our would-be designers and makers in the Damp;T curriculum.

However, combined with a visit to the British Museum, then the beginnings of designerly thinking and "design and make" activity may emerge.

Patricia Tarrant Brown Patricia Tarrant Brown is a teacher of Damp;T at a school in the West Midlands

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