Saturday, 4 March 2017

Bright lights big city

So I went on an adventure, to the big city with some girlfriends. We went to the Knitting and Stitching show, on its first day, when everyone is fresh and there are all sorts of temptatious things to buy. 

We met up on the train, met others we knew when we got there, parted, wandered around a lot, saw lots of wonderful pieces, Dorothy Caldwell, Debbie Lyddon with The 62 Group, so much to see, so much queuing involved, such lusciousness. Oh there were lovely things, crochet sumptuousness, soft sleek knitted dresses - not really suitable for someone soft but not sleek, simple timeless patterns that even the soft but not sleek can risk. We met up again for lunch, but felt shopping wasn't quite over so wandered off once more. There were stalls upon stalls of fabric, my overnight case weighed more when we left than it did when we arrived. 

Yes, overnight case, that's what you take when you stay overnight. A proper adventure (though without rhinoceros). So I had the chance to wander up to the Vauxhall Bridge and view the beauty of London at night, all reflected in the depths of the Thames

Proper fairyland stuff. 

I had myself a pleasant meal in a little cafe  near the hotel, where I chatted with an interesting woman, briefly, about offshore wind farms, I slept a good night's sleep and got up the following morning to go and see Paul Nash before he is no longer there to be seen.  There's a lovely review of the exhibition here.

I have loved Nash for many years, both for his dreamlike evocative landscapes and his war work, so utterly contrasting. It was a pleasure to see favourite paintings in the context of his life's work. I thoroughly enjoyed it, though it was a struggle to get round, and I was glad of those rooms with seats so I could rest my aching bones! My body's not used to all this activity. Note to self, get more exercise. 

The breadth of what was on show, and the arrangement in themed rooms, meant that you could follow his thoughts and interests, seeing how they transformed according to both his experiences and his artistic explorations. I took the catalogue with me so I could read at least some of it before going - sitting in bed the previous night, then read more on the train on the way home. I was interested to discover how local he had been to here at some significant times of his life. Nash and his wife Margaret stayed at Oxenbridge, just above the Rother valley, overlooking the river where Mum, Cecil, Nanya, all spent time when they stayed at Nirvana. His wife was a Christian Scientist, as were Connie and Ganna, the background to my childhood was Mary Baker Eddy, her books nestled on Ganna's shelves, her thoughts a quiet undercurrent to our lives. Also, Nanya painted around Iden, and Connie and Harry were a lesbian couple at a time when that was something rather hidden. Nash and his wife also stayed at Rye, where Radclyffe Hall lived for a while. In our family treasury we have a letter from her to Connie commenting on how lucky she was to have had a sympathetic mother who was determined that her daughter should have a wedding, even if it was not to a man.

I wonder if all those paths ever crossed.

1 comment:

  1. It seems you had a wonderful time there in the big city !
    Ahhhhh the knitting and stitching show ... (in the end you've
    seen soooo much fabric and sooooo much lovely yarn, you don't
    want to see anymore ...)
    You have some wonderful silks and Japanese fabric for new projects Kat !