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Friday, 28 August 2009

All in the mind

I had the pleasure of the company of M and S while pootling around the 'Walking in my Mind' exhibition at the Hayward Gallery last weekend. One of the more interesting installations I've been to in a long time, although I can't pretend to comprehend it fully.
Although I also appreciate 'traditional' art, there is something particularly exciting about truly immersing yourself in someone's ideas and physically having to explore 'novel' (read as 'crazy') environments.

Thomas Hirschhorn says: "To me, the cave is in your brain, the cave is in your mind... You have to build this cave in your mind and to struggle with what happens in this cave, in confronting it with the world."
This is 'the cave':

I'm not sure I understand his comments completely, but slipping around in the tape-covered den, taking in disembodied human forms, pages of text, heaps of drinks cans and explicit images of busty ladies stuck to the walls, it's actually quite easy to imagine that you are actually inside someone's cerebellum.

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's polka dot room has more or less become the face of this exhibition, and her floating red and white blobs are indeed intriguing. Unfortunately this room was closely monitored so I had to restrain myself from taking photos and suppress the urge to rugby tackle the spotty inflatables. The more solid dotty forms outside could be touched, but it was still prohibited to demean them by parking your bum on one.

Looks a bit like an alien invasion.

I really liked this 'Enternity Chamber' by Charles Avery:

Poke your head inside, like so..

..and you are faced with a seemingly endless number of reflections. Possibly not the most profound element of the exhibition, but I'm easily pleased.

Possibly my love of anything yarn-shaped, drew me to Chiharu Shiota's woven a web of black wool.

The overall feeling was of being trapped in the lair of some fashion-loving spider.

A very pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Prints Charming?

Personally I'm not so sure...
It started off well, with this rather cool facade make-over. Liberty does look rather fetching in it's new robe of 'Betsy' print!

Some well dressed dolls indeed!

This Liberty print clad Wendy House by Helen Benigson was also rather nice. Who wouldn't like this at the bottom of their garden as a creative studio shed?? I guess it would get a little soggy after a while though.. damn my practical inclination!

An overview of all the classic Liberty prints were also on show. A metre of each please!

Despite the innovative displays, I didn't feel much for the 'new' prints by designers I personally had hardly heard of. The colours (at least the ones I saw) were mainly muddy with weird patterns on. Am I too much of a die-hard traditionalist to expect even the new prints to be pretty?
Nah, let me at the classics instead. A bit of peacock and some florals and I'm happy!

Feel the love

The lovely Elisa who I met first on our yarn tourism trip to Sindelfingen, showed us just how lovely she is when along with some items to L, she also included a gift for each of the tourists. Look at us radiating happiness over her exquisite hand-made knitting organisers - with colour-coded ribbons on the wrapping no less.

Because we see ourselves as a nice bunch, we getting together some bits and bobs to send back. I think L was to make some enticing 'Creme Brulee' soap, G to make a cute snap purse and E to dye some yarn specially. I let myself me talked into these pretty buttons from Liberty, which I am sure she will like..

Our carrier piegeon de-lux, L, is to deliver the package of goodies this weekend when she and Elisa once again meet to explore the delights of Wollmeise!

Pretty things

I feel that I have perhaps over-indulged in pretty things recently, so what better way to alleviate the guilt, than to showcase them?

Firstly some bits from Sweden. I visited I cute yarn store in Bastad, but as with many Swedish yarn stores it is sadly still slightly stuck in the past and offered mainly naff cross stitch kits and acrylic yarn (it has 'cry' in it for a reason).
I did eventually find some nice variegated mohair mix which I fell for. I then visited one of the most chaotic second hand stores I have ever seen. Stuff. Everywhere. And there was that nasty damp smell that tends to make people think 'old clothes' as opposed to 'vintage'.
They did however have some cute fabric pieces and a length of lace trimming which made it home with me.

Bastads Hantverksmassa a.k.a. Bastad's annual craft fair was rather a disappointment in the yarn department. I did see an enormous pair of pants knitted out of (apparently) human hair, but I was too traumatised to take a picture.
Instead I fell for this rather sweet little knapsack by Mirkka which is a company specialising in recycling vintage fabrics into very attractive accessories. According to their website they also seem to sell second hand clothes and various other knick knacks.

This yarn is mainly from Sommerfuglen, which is a great yarn shop in Copenhagen. Hooray for finally discovering Danish yarn stores! I got some Mulberry Silk and a shade of the Lorna's Laces Pearl which I had been drooling over for a while. I told myself that it was, after all, cheaper to buy it there than pay for shipping from the US. Oh, and there was the instant gratification aspect too of course..

The outsider in this pic is the Rowan Cashmere which I actually bought at Liberty the other day while perusing their 'Prints Charming' exhibition. More on that in a later post.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Princess J

Just a quick one to convey the message that J has received her cherry dress! Although it's a tad big, I hope it will not fall apart quicker than she might be able to wear it next year too..

Makes it all worthwhile seeing the creations live and on the person for whom they were intended :)

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Granny's wardrobe

What better way to pass some rainy hours in Sweden than to revisit some of the clothes I claimed from my late paternal grandmother.
She was a very particular sort of lady, believing that it was never acceptable to look less than well groomed and carefully clothed to a high standard.

I am lucky enough to have one of her party dresses:

Although it does not quite fit, and seems to have padding in odd places, the detailing in pearl, lace and crystal is exquisite. I would love to have it refitted one day as it seems a shame that such a pretty thing should go to waste.

Next it was time to get out the hat box! Just the box itself is cool:

I did try to take some pictures of myself in the hats, but it was too hilarious/embarrassing to publish I'm afraid. Also I have to admit that I have no idea how you would wear that thing with the blue feathers!

I do like the black one with the feathers and netting very much. I think it will have to travel with me back to the UK. The netting also needs replacing which would be a good project.
The one at the bottom right looks rather like a velvet flatfish with little flowers on it - again it is a bit of a mystery how one would wear this with dignity.

Finally, this very delicate swandown stole. It is soooo soft. There is some discolouration on the lining, but on the whole in very good condition. Am toying with the idea of wearing this to Ginger Lucy's big day later this year!

Ah the joy of vintage! I just wish I had the courage to wear more of it.