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Faking it; the many guises of wood, in partnership with the V&A

Wednesday, May 31, 2017
The Nunnery, 181 Bow Road, London E3 2SJ
6-9pm (Gallery open from 6pm, with Talk at 7pm)

Faking it will examine the fascinating and versatile material of wood in its many guises, from conceptual design and sculpture to the buildings and furniture we see around us and in our homes. An exploration of wood, its science, conservation and status through history and today.

Artist Silke Dettmers will talk about her exploration and fascination with the wonder of wood and the 'fake' in her work, whilst senior Furniture Conservator at the V&A Dana Melchar will explore material surfaces and lacquering methods used to deceive the eye and our perception of the material. Elizabeth Bisley will talk about the V&A’s upcoming Plywood show and its routes in deception of the 'cheap' sheet material dressed as a fancy cabinet through its veneer.


Terry Perk, (Chairing talk), Associate Head of the School of Fine Art and Photography at UCA and practising artist.

Elizabeth Bisley, Assistant Curator, V&A

Silke Dettmers, Raw Materials resident Artist

Dana Melchar, Senior Furniture Conservator, V&A

£5/3 - Book your tickets here



Dana Melchar is a Senior Furniture Conservator at the Victoria & Albert Museum.  She graduated with a Masters of Science in Art Conservation, with a specialization in furniture, from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation.  Additionally, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and trained as a cabinet and furniture maker at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, Massachusetts. At the V&A, she works on many different types of furniture and 3-D organic objects carrying out both preventive and interventive conservation treatments as well as object-based research.

Elizabeth Bisley is Assistant Curator in Furniture, Textiles and Fashion at the Victoria & Albert Museum and is helping curate the upcoming Plywood show at the V&A.

Dr Terry Perk is a practicing artist and the Associate Head of the School of Fine Art and Photography and Course Leader for the MA Fine Art and MA Curatorial Practice courses at the University for the Creative Arts in Canterbury, where he is also a Reader in Fine Art. He studied sculpture at the University of Leeds and Bennington College (USA), before gaining his PhD in the History and Theory of Art from the University of Kent at Canterbury in 2007.

Silke Dettmers

Born in Germany Silke Dettmers has lived in the UK since 1981. She trained at St. Martin’s School of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. Her artistic practice comprises of sculptures ( - sometimes including sound), drawing and photography. She exhibits regularly. Most recently her sculptures and photographs were exhibited in ‘Mark Wallinger Presents’ (2014, London), ‘Compulsion’ (2013, London) and ‘Territories’ (2012, Den Helder, Netherlands), and the London Art Fair (2009). Dettmers lectures at a number of British arts universities, and has taught in Poland and Colombia. She also, occasionally, curates exhibitions and writes on arts related subjects.


Elizabeth Bisley is co-curator of the V&A’s upcoming Plywood exhibition (opening July 2017). A member of the Furniture, Textiles and Fashion Department, she has worked on various other projects at the V&A including the Dr Susan Weber Furniture Gallery (opened 2012) and the Europe 1600-1815 Galleries (opened 2015). 


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