Travels in Textiles


Monday, 2 May 2011

I haven't let the thesis take over all my time. Especially when the weather tempts me outside. The other day we cycled to Dunham Massey out in the Cheshire borders of Manchester. I had never been before, and not realised how easy it was to get to on a bike. We rode along the bridge water canal there, and along the trans penine trail back. I didn't take many photos, except for this one at the quaint tea shop we stopped at for a well earned tea and scone break

I love the colour combinations of the red brick of the old stables, bright blue of the sky and picnic table and lush summer green of the grass and trees.

I also finally made it to see the exhibition Embellished the art of fabulous fabrics  at the Harris museum in Preston just in time before it ended at Easter. Considering I'd heard raving reviews about it, and have been looking forward to seeing it for a while, it wasn't as impressive as I expected. I liked the idea of focusing on the decorative skill full detail added to garments worn in different periods of time and different cultures . However I thought they might focus on fabrics for the home and accessories too. There wasn't a great deal of variety, and the fact that textile pieces have to be displayed in dark glass cases, to conserve them, makes the viewer feel detached from a piece, unable to feel the luscious texture, and even look closely at the immense detail of an embroidery or weave, and rich colours and pattern of a print.

These were a few pieces I particularly liked though.

 This is a darning sampler from 1830. It is a reference for different darning techniques but makes for a decorative piece of work on its own.

 I didn't note down when or where this piece is from, but it is a tea cosy made of printed fabric that has been embroidered into.

This is a 'stomacher' a piece worn in the 1700s to decorate a dress. I had never heard of one of these before. Ladies would transfer these richly embellished pieces from one dress to another, almost like a piece of jewellery. I think we should have this as a trend nowadays too. It would save a lot of money, just as long as you've got a few white or plain coloured dresses. A belt piece or trimming might be more appropriate though...

I was actually more drawn to these Autobiographical Terrains that were displayed up the sweeping staircase of the gallery, than the exhibition I had travelled to the museum to see. They are etchings and artist's books by Lisa Wigham. I love her simple, delicate use of line that convey the dreamlike emotion of still, peaceful landscapes. These photos unfortunately do not do them justice as, like the textiles, they were displayed behind glass.

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