Showing posts with label Danson House. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Danson House. Show all posts

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Vivienne Westwood: Cut from the Past

Built in the 18th century, Danson House is showing a collection Vivienne Westwood's clothes very much influenced by the same period in history. As Vivienne Westwood says, "the 18th century embodies a high point in art and culture".
Before we saw this exhibition, Cut from the Past, we weren't really thinking 18th century high art and high culture, more 1970s, 1980s, and punk.

You could see how this era had influenced Vivienne Westwood, how she'd made it her own with her Portrait Collection, working with 18th century paintings from the Wallace Collection.

Corset and T-shirt,

and her signature orb worked into the gold frame of a shawl,

also embroidered onto this T-shirt, with the print inspired by 16th century Dutch delftware.

Not just inspired by paintings, furniture captured Vivienne Westwood's imagination too, with designs inspired by marquetry, printed in red foil. 

We read that she had this pattern printed on "leggings, bodies and stockings".
"I'd forgotten all about 'bodies'. Very 1980s".

This 18th century inspired gown below was once worn by Linda Evangelista. It really had been worn, there were dirty marks on the skirt.

One side of the gown was traditionally accurate with a sleeve, whereas the other was strapless.

Whether I should admit to this or not... I did A'level Needlework & Dress.
This is made somewhat more embarrassing because of my grade, I only just passed. But thanks to the most inspirational teacher, Joy (for some reason I can't recall her last name), I have a love for all things needlework. It's the details...

...applique and bound pockets,

 ...leg of mutton sleeves,


...and bows.

We had expected punk, and we got some. The Queen with her nose pierced.

"Have you got any piercings?" I asked absentmindedly.
"Yes three"
"My belly button"
The things you learn in museums. It's not always about the objects.

Wandering around Danson House, we perhaps found more of Vivienne Westwood's 18th century influences.
A nod to punk, off the shoulder, a touch of leopard skin.

Drapery to inspire any gown.

And wallpaper worthy of any dress.

Vivienne Westwood: Cut From the Past is on at Danson House until 31st October 2015.
Check out their website, here, for opening hours as it's not open on a Saturday.

When we went to Cut From the Past, the exhibition was a couple of pieces short. We were told they were coming. Hopefully they now have the wedding dress and 'glove' on display. We'd have loved to have seen more, plus music and photos. To hear the soundtrack, see the look, with Westwood inspired hair and makeup. To see who wore Vivienne Westwood.
"Margaret Thatcher could have been wearing that for all you know".

Friday, 9 May 2014

Things We Do In Bed

not my words but the title of a quilt exhibition in Danson House, Bexleyheath.

Wait! before you stop reading because needlework isn't your thing...
...I give you stories of Birth, Sleep, Sex, Illness and Death

The quilts are made by many different people:
The anonymous to mark a birth, the carers of the dying, the sufferer of depression, the widow, the wife, the daughter, the grieving, artists, prisoners, men, women, makers from the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
Looking at this list, there are some pretty significant events in people's lives that have been marked by the making of a quilt.

Quilts can provoke debate. Here Grayson Perry responds to the abortion debate, and perhaps the messiness of giving birth. Mind you this quilt is incredibly ordered, rhythmical and symetrical.
No mess, no disorder. 

This quilt was made for a baby in the 18th century.
This photo only begins to show how incredibly fine and delicate the stitching is.

This quilt was made later in the 19th century, again for a cot.
Each piece of fabric probably has its own story to tell.

Like the patchwork squares in the last photo, these squares also tell stories, each one made by a different person, men and women.
Exhibited on a prison bed.

Each square was made by a prisoner, taught to sew by Fine Cell Work (a charity).
They work with prisoners to give them a skill and a chance to earn an income.

In this project they considered sleep, getting a good night's sleep in prison,
which can be quite problematic.

The green thread in the pillow in this square was picked apart from the prison sheets,
' there is a bit of the prison in my square'.

This blew me away...  the skills, the dreams!?

Fifteen quilts with words, the connections of sex.
On a chaise longue!

By the time Karina Thompson gets to 70, her heart will have beaten unnoticed 2.6 billion times.

Quilted images inspired by her echocardiogram. 

A quilt made at her husband's bedside.
The making of it, keeping her company when he could no longer communicate.

Again a quilt made in response to tragedy.
Encouragement sent to her son following his car accident, sewn into hexagons of hope. 

Stones and painkillers sewn into a quilt.
Intending to feel the weight of all this,
the experience of lying under this quilt of stones and painkillers turned out to be,
"not too heavy at all, it felt quite nice".  

 A 19th century widow's quilt.

These two quilts, grey and white, were made by a daughter in response to her mother's dementia.
The grey fibres resembling her mother's hair and the crazy patchwork design, her skin...

...eleven years later, remembering her in white.

As I said, these quilts, essentially bedcovers,
were on display in the bedrooms of Danson House.
These two displayed where the original bed would have been,
underneath the ceiling from which drapes would have hung.

Whatever your thoughts on needlework,
it certainly doesn't shy away from addressing the big things in life.

Things We Do In Bed is housed in the bedrooms at Danson House, a Georgian Villa.
The quilts were chosen and brought together by the novelist Tracy Chevalier.

Things We Do In Bed is on until 31st Oct 2014 in Danson House.
Not open on Fridays & Saturdays,
and learnt by experience, not open until noon each day.

Tracy Chevalier quilts too
 Buy a rafflle ticket to support Danson House and you may win a quilted cushion she has made.

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