Thursday, 28 May 2015

Lines of Communication

Getting to know other bloggers and seeing what they're up to has been fun. It has been a great way of discovering new places to visit and things to see. A year ago I read about Prism's annual textiles exhibition on Gina's blog, Fan My Flame. Since then I've been keeping an eye out for this year's exhibition, Lines of Communication, at Hoxton Arches. I went today with a friend.

The work is all for sale. If we had the money what would we buy?
Despite this being so beautiful and delicate, I'm not sure I could put Tescos on my wall.

But that's the point, "a plastic bag can be more beautiful than its lowly origin".

We chatted about buying art, buying any of this work, taking it home. Can you buy a piece of art work because it goes with your sofa? What makes us choose?

Or perhaps put us off. Despite loving this train, why did we talk about having to dust it? 

Sometimes, the work chooses you. It really did with this piece.

64 gloves, 64 monthly visits to see her mother with Alzheimers who hadn't recognised her for 10 years, 150 miles away.

"300 miles to sit and cry"

The slow deterioration of Alzheimers, strands of lost memories.

 Not sure this piece is meant for a home, but it really should be in a permanent gallery.

There was something about the work that addressed mental health that touched us. We picked it out, it was work we would buy.

Or perhaps the pieces that seemed to simply play with textiles, colour, fibres and fabrics.

Made up of organza layered over satin, "Warp & Waft" really did. Waft in the breeze.

A sketchbook. I love sketchbooks.

Why is nice hand-writing so satisfying?

These textiles pieces did it for us, we might have to ditch the sofa.

I'll give Gina the last word.

There are only a few days left to "enjoy" this exhibition. It ends Sunday 31st May.
Lines of Communication, textile inspired art, Prism.
Hoxton Arches, Cremer Street, London, E2.
Details on the Prism website here.

These are just the pieces we picked out, there is so much more there.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

London Transport Museum at Night

Checking out the 'Museums at Night' website,
we chose to go to the London Transport Museum.
It kind of fit, tunnel man and museumy woman's night out.

We've been before with our kids. Train spotting, bus spotting, collecting stamps as we went around, climbing on and off buses and trains, it's a kids dream and the museum is often very busy. It does cater brilliantly for kids.

We met in Covent Garden, the anorak was more train-spotting than London.
I couldn't help myself, I tweeted this photo.

And was a little over excited to see my tweet on their Tweetwall.

So what would a night at the London Transport Museum have in store for us grown ups?
It had a bar, it was an over 18 event. We had Pimms.

But more exciting than that, we got to play, be the kids, and notice things for ourselves. No earnest pointing things out to children.
We got to take #museumselfies (we're not very good at this yet),

...notice upholstery,

...and wooden floors. "Wood?"

"Actually look, the train is made of wood."

We noticed maps, the place where I grew up.

And got to chat to other people, who showed us their smart phones, 
"that's were the line used to run".

Spotting the difference between then and now.

We saw that wood, for so many health and safety reasons, was replaced by metal,

...and steam replaced by electricity.

More upholstery. This time I remember it.

We climbed on and off buses. "I don't remember them being quite so high. Perhaps I'm getting old." More evidence of yet a safer transport system, Routemasters didn't have doors, 

...but they did have conductors and women in yellow trouser suits.

We saw an exhibition.

Then it was our turn for a bit of drawing. Inspired by the museum's amazing collection of transport posters, we got to make our own. Replacing the kids artwork, they're now on our fridge.

Building a tunnel. "Come on, you do this for a living."

Being a bus driver.

Just like every other family visiting a  museum
(it is acknowledged in the museum literature!),
we went to the loo. And when it's quiet(er) you get to check out each cubicle.
Look what I found.

It wasn't fabric.

Don't wait until the next 'Museums at Night' in October to visit the London Transport Museum.
It's open every day. Not just for museum types and civil engineers.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Larrakitj at the British Museum

 I rarely go to museums alone. However yesterday I found myself at the British Museum with not only time to spare, but also alone. It felt like such a luxury. For a short time, about 45 minutes, I had no agenda, I could do and see what I liked. This is what happened.
Just through the entrance, to the right, I spotted these, Larrakitj.

An art installation by Wukun Wanambi from northern Australia.

Traditionally Larrakitj are Aboriginal hollow memorial poles, used as coffins by the Yolngu from Arnhem Land. Stringybark Eucalyptus trees are specially chosen and stripped, their surface prepared for painting. They are then painted with the design of a clan, filled with the bones of the deceased and put in the landscape for the wind and rain to gradually wear them away.

I found this really moving, yet felt slightly uncomfortable. Was this something I should be privy to? Is this not a private affair, laying your clan to rest. However these aren't coffins, they are art works which Wukun tells us he has made to "communicate Yolngu values and beliefs to outsiders". 

Wukun painted the surface of these Larrakitj with shoals of sea mullet, the design of his own clan.

I really liked being with these Larrakitj, I'm not quite sure why. I didn't feel like an "outsider". I loved the sense of movement in the sea mullet design. Loads of fish packed in, but not at all claustrophobic nor chaotic. They all seem to know where they are heading, moving in the same direction. It always amazes me how shoals of fish move seamlessly together without bumping into each other and making a right mess of things. I think Wukun has captured that so beautifully. It gives me a real sense of calm. I can imagine the therapeutic nature of painting these fish onto the prepared trunks. Doing what his ancestors had done, continuing a tradition.

He has also captured something of a very busy British Museum.

I won't tell him that I actually had this gallery all to myself for a very short while.
No shoals here, just me.

You have until 25th May to see Larrakitj: Aboriginal memorial poles buy Wukun Wanambi at the British Museum. Details on their website here.
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