I was asked if I would like to change the display in one of the cases in the Natural History Gallery called ‘Drawn From Nature’. The case held decorative arts objects that were influenced by nature such as a feathered hat and mother of pearl fan. My mission, if I chose to accept, was to create a new display showing ceramics that had been influenced by nature.

I accepted the challenge and spent a wonderful afternoon roaming the ceramics store for inspiration. I took lots of photographs of objects I felt would be perfect for the display.



Once I had a good idea of items I could use from ceramics I went to the natural history stores to see if I could find matching objects.


My next job was to take all the items I had chosen and see how they could fit together in a display. I used an empty case in the ceramics store to mock-up a display. At first I thought it might look good if the animals were on the back row and the geology and shells were at the front.

This didn’t really work as well as I had hoped so I started rearranging  and ended up with animals to the right and geology and shells to the left.

This seemed so much better to me that I decided this was how I would start when I installed the display in the gallery. I knew that this was not the finished arrangement because I was using different sized blocks and the case in the gallery is slightly smaller, but I was happy to have a starting off point to save time.

Before installing the display I took photographs of all the items individually for the labels.



I arranged a time before the museum was open for the old display to be removed and for my items to be installed. I started by setting everything out as I had placed it in my mock-up even though it didn’t fit properly.

I then rearranged everything to make it fit into the case with the help of Helen Cann, the museum’s Design Officer. We played around with the blocks and stands to ensure all the objects can be seen clearly.



The finished display is full of wonderful items and I had lots of fun looking for unusual and interesting facts for the labels.