Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Mistresses of Art

Another day, another textile exhibition. This one was a bit of a pain to get thru, trekking up to foreign parts - Norfolk and then getting stuck in a traffic jam outside the town for nearly half an hour.
When we finally broke thru we found it was two bollards marking the spot, obviously the work wasn't happening at the w/e. Three main roads had to squeeze thru the single track gap of one cars length.
The town itself may have been quite pretty but it was cold and raining. The lunch at the water side pub, looking out onto the mere, served probably the worst sausage baguette I have ever not tasted. I was reluctant to pass it on to Hatters.
However the exhibition was interesting. The big print above [sorry the light and the wind wasn't helping] was of a stitching group with some minimal stitchery added in the spectacles and the scissors.
Such an impressive print on the rough linen whatever. I loved it. Christina did it while doing her MA and the group was fellow students who stuck together afterwards.
I was very envious of the opportunity they had bravely taken up.
I have finished my two pieces for the Beccles exhibition, altho really I should straighten the stitching of the daisy stems. But it means taking it off the backing etc. etc. one day I expect I will bestir myself.
So really I am free now, maybe, maybe soon I will figure out what to do.

Friday, 15 October 2010

EASTern art

Another day another textile exhibition. We stitchers are a busy lot.

This first exhibit was the result of lots of research by J at the Foundling Hospital in London, originally set up partly by Hogarth I believe.

In the 18th century when mothers were unable to care for their babes they could leave them at the Hospital where they would be sent to the country to a wet nurse for their first few years, then they would be returned [if they survived, i believe some wet nurses were not as caring as others] and the children would be apprenticed. Boys to a trade, girls to service.

At least that way the mothers could hope the babes had a better future than they could give them.
The first gowns were made to record the terrible execution by burning of a mother accused and imprisoned of clipping coins. Her child survived in the hospital and went on to learn a trade

Not all the mothers were poor, the second set was made to record the birth of illegitimate twins to a more well born, unmarried woman. To protect herself she gave birth secretly and in silence at home, so her family did not know, and paid the hospital to take the babes.

One twin survived childhood and went on to become independent. The mother later was married off thus maintaining her status.

The textile connection comes from the practice of leaving a token with the child. Then if the mother became able to reclaim her child she would be able to identify the token. Illiteracy being high the tokens were usually a piece of fabric, patchwork or ribbon, or even half a garment. All these were meticulously recorded [still extant] and it is these that J is studying.

J says she can cope with the misery of the memories she is excavating because she is giving these poor women, trapped by their vulnerability, a voice

Other pieces were focusing on the aesthetic

of decay. This one was based on slate.

I have several old slate tiles under a chair somewhere wondering how to use them.

They are so subtly shaded and tactile.

These are based in rusty machinery.

The last piece I chose is based on a poem by Emily Dickinson, as you do.

Friday, 8 October 2010

sailing on

 Went up to Ally Pally yesterday to the annual Knit and Stitch extravaganza.  The train, tube and bus trek took just two hours, through most of which I could read my book, so much preferable to a stuffy old coach cackling it's way thru the traffic - with me feeling sick if I try and read.
Felt a little uneasy after the terrorist warnings, thoughts of the glass ceiling crashing down in huge murderous shards but all remained peaceful, and crowded, obviously British women are not to be cowed.

First visit was to see Julia C's retrospective.  She used to mentor us but died unexpectedly from some lung disease.  It was indescribably sad to see her joyously coloured pieces knowing her enthusiasm and persistence were no longer around.
I hate the way things survive after the makers, but then again I make things to show I was once here, so hopefully her spirit is appeased.

So I was a bit melancholy for the rest of the day I suppose. 
But this coat made by a friend using tea bags for the yoke made me smile.
L was stewarding in a rather dazed way.  She is new to her textile group, it is rather prestigious so I think she felt a little over whelmed, as well as being over run by visitors who wanted to hear all about the Teabags. She has spent months losing weight and put a stone back on over the summer so she was grumpy as well.
Went downstairs for lunch, a truly disgusting turkey and cranberry [?jam] on white but I am too lazy to make my own lunch. The restaurant is under the halls so we were all safe from the dreaded glass, tho I guess the ceiling was heavy with female foot steps.

After tramping round the show for four hours I decided to cheer myself up by going to see the Ship in the Bottle on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.

Yinka Shonebare has created HMS Vistory with African textile prints as the sails a perfect instalation loaded with meanings.
Potty training? pic cheered me up tho.

Monday, 4 October 2010

10-10 No Pressure

OMG you must see the video on this link, I can't manage to up load it. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/sep/30/10-10-no-pressure-film

Perhaps too strong? Been living in primrose Hill too long............