The Grammar of Ornament

Back in 1856, architect Owen Jones outlined his Thirty Seven Propositions – a series of ideas that set out to stop what he saw to be the tendency at the time to ‘copy’ images, without any comprehension of what made them beautiful.

Dish by Charlotte Hodes
Dish by Charlotte Hodes

His writings went on to have a significant impact on British design in the latter half of the 19th century, and now Charlotte Hodes is casting her eye over them, reinterpreting the ideas as a 21st century woman.

Charlotte Hodes papercut
Charlotte Hodes papercut

Hodes,  Professor in Fine Art at London College of Fashion, works in collage and papercut, as well as designs for ceramics, aiming to ‘dismantle’ the form of decorative arts.

Skirt dish by Charlotte Hodes
Skirt dish by Charlotte Hodes

Her work is to be exhibited in a new show called The Grammar of Ornament – the title of another of Jones’s publications – opening this week at London’s Jaggedart gallery.

Dish by Charlotte Hodes
Dish by Charlotte Hodes

Her papercut works use the image of a female figure, looking to subvert the male viewpoint of Jones’s writings. Her feminist ideas are pushed further in the decision to use traditionally ‘feminine’ objects, such as ceramic dishes and tableware, as a canvas – bringing the idea of domesticity and the home to the fore.

Charlotte Hodes papercut
Charlotte Hodes papercut

‘Her work, using tiny fragments of paper and decorative motifs, explores the diverse manner in which the women have been presented in art history; the decorative links to the domestic, and the way in which so much of female activity goes unnoticed’, says Dr Janet McKenzie, in her catalogue essay on the work in the exhibition.

Charlotte Hodes, The Grammar of Ornament, runs from 6 March – 5 April at Jaggedart, 28 Devonshire St, London W1G

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