Thursday, November 13, 2014

Barcelona, Paris and Rome via Brixton, Bermondsey, Bath and Brighton (Part One)

Greetings friends one and all, once again I must apologise for my long absence.  Mr Shoestring and I have been to London to visit our two wicked daughters who refuse to return to our fair shores and from thence travelled to parts unknown (or at least unknown to these colonials).

I know you will be interested to hear about all things pertaining to stitching experiences, so I will start off with the visit to the Kaffe Fassett 50 years retrospective exhibition at the American Museum in Bath.  When we planned our trip I was unaware of this exceptional event, but it came to my attention via that wonderful publication, Patchwork Mania, where I spied an advertisement one day.  What a wonderful experience that was!  All stitchers who remember the 1980s will recall how Kaffe burst onto the scene with his inspirational depictions of everyday objects such as cabbages and cauliflowers, and how that revolutionised the needlepoint genre at that time.  He has  also worked his magic upon knitting and patchwork and his use of colour, especially intense saturated colour, has inspired people the world over.  When we arrived at the American Museum the trees were festooned with knitted ornamentation and that was just a taste of things to come.

Another wonderful experience in England was the Burlington Arcade which was jam packed to the gunnels with vintage and antique jewellery, including one shop which displayed only old timepieces year by year.  Of special interest to me was all the art deco jewellery in this arcade.  Whatever your fancy, there was something to tempt you here.

In Brighton we looked at the pier, where even the toilets still have the original Victorian tiles and the stained glass windows are still in perfect condition,

but that faded into insignificance once we saw the Royal Pavilion.  What a magnificent treasure and how gratifying that so many treasures in England are still in the easy grasp of ordinary people.

When we visited many museums and art galleries there was no charge, for instance the National Portrait Gallery, which must make things a lot more accessible and encourage people to take advantage of the resources at their disposal.

One place we had badly wanted to see though was Eltham Palace which is an unusual amalgam of medieaval palace and art deco grand house (what more could one want), and is within an easy train trip of London.  On the day we visited the weather was beautiful, clear and sunny and we were impressed by the way the house and garden were presented.  When the family bought an restored the neglected property and added their own stamp on it with modern architecture and interior decoration the great Hall was about to collapse and had been used as a barn for housing farm animals and the sheer vision they displayed in melding ancient and modern was quite awe inspiring.

More to follow, I just wanted to let you know I'm alive and kicking!