Monday, 15 October 2012

knitting and stitching

Yesterday I made the long haul to London to visit the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. It was a long haul as well, with work on the fast track and the closure of part of the Victoria Line on the Underground, meaning that it was a 4 hour slog from home to sitting with my cheese sandwich on the steps outside, gathering strength to go in and face the hoards! Mind you I had made the effort to walk up from Wood Green station. I figured it was probably the only exercise I'd get for the day!

My first amusement  as I went in, was to find Barbara, who is part of our local Guild, wandering about with a bag full of goodies, trying to drag herself away as she needed to be in Worthing by tea time. We stopped for a chat, she commenting that she has "all these City and Guild students about to start their course, so she had to come and stock up". Rather cheeky, I thought, to use us as her excuse!

It was, as Gina has commented in her delightful (un)grumpy old woman post, hot and crowded, but not unbearably so yesterday. It was only my second visit; perhaps you get used to the overwhelming nature of the show when you're a seasoned visitor but I did find it left me "moithered" as Cecil would say.

As you go in you find yourself in the display area where all sorts of interesting things made by other talented craftspeople are there to inspire. One exhibition that really caught my eye was Nancy Crow's Colour Improvisations. This was a group of large, vibrant quilts, based around that single theme - improvising with  colour . Reminiscent of the Improvisations in so many areas of music, from Jazz to Classical. Take something, work with it, see what happens. Many of the quilts were densely stitched. I noticed how in some cases stitching added colour, contrasting or complementary, building on the fabric beneath like harmonies in music. In others it brought the light and shade of texture into play, giving a sense of movement or density. They were all by contemporary quilt artists from North America and Europe, and I could have looked at them all day, going back and forth between them, preferably standing further away in some cases. I guess on a crowded day, this could have been quite claustrophobic, but yesterday there was enough space to gaze. No photographs were allowed, so I'm afraid I can't show you any.

Other pieces that I really enjoyed, and which I was allowed to photograph, were all from member of the New Embroidery Group's Exhibition "Touching the Earth"

Margaret Mary Griffiths : Will This World Survive?

Liz Holliday : Downland Contours, Box Hill and Devil's Dyke
Downland is a theme I particularly warm to since I love maps; how could one not, having worked in a reference library? And I am a Downland person - not in the sense of having lived within their folds, but they have always been the backdrop of my life, first in Hampshire, now at the other end of the Way.

Veronica Chambers : Sugar Beet Singling. East Cambridgeshire Fens, 1950's

Anna Diamond : My Garden

I did my usual trick of pushing my glasses down my nose to peer closely at the detail in this lovely garden piece

Edel Zollinger : Aurora Borealis
And I long to see the Aurora Borealis one day .....

Having spent time looking and learning and being inspired, I then plunged into the fray that is the marketplace, bedazzled by stalls of every colour and design selling far too many interesting and desirable things to take in, especially as the soles of my feet were beginning to feel a bit jaded. I wandered about, looking at this and that, touching, stroking, peeking, squinting, resisting, getting turned around and around in the strange maze that is these big craft shows and emerging, eventually, back to Palm Court where the door to light and air beckoned.

I finally left at about 4:15 and, yes, it did take almost four hours to get home; and yes, I did spend money on thread and silk, but I tried to be prudent!

On the way home, even London managed to look strangely beautiful as the sun set, glinting from the rails

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed reading your post, I too had a lovely time at the show.