Archives for posts with tag: exhibition
Coverlet by Ann West, 1820.  Museum no. T.23-2007

Coverlet by Ann West, 1820. Museum no. T.23-2007

The Quilts exhibition has opened!  OK, so it opened last week and I just wasn’t on the ball to write a blog entry immediately after seeing it at the private view and I was on a plane to Ottawa right after that.  But I’ve just seen it again today and it is truly fabulous.  It’s garnering rave reviews, and quilters from all over the world are in London to see it.  I met with a trio of Texan ladies a few days ago who organize the International Quilt Festival, among other things, and they just loved it.  It was such a pleasure to talk to them about the events and courses my department has been organizing, and about the interactives that have been created to go with the exhibition (such as the fabulous Quilt of Quilts, where you can upload images of your own quilts!  I added three of mine.)

Chintz bed hangings, 1730-50.  Museum no 242-1908.

Chintz bed hangings, 1730-50. Museum no 242-1908.

The quilts themselves are breathtaking.  I particularly loved the patchwork commemorating the Duke of Wellington, with the paper pieces still intact on the back of the patchwork, and its odd little rhyme which is not at all what it seems at first read.  I also loved the ‘Alphabet of Love and Courtship’, especially Q for Quakings.  And the patchwork made by Girl Guides for their group leader while in Changi prison in Singapore during World War II was heart-rending.  There are a number of contemporary quilts commissioned for the exhibition, and I had the luck to meet maker Sarah Impey at the private view and talk with her about how she made her wonderful piece ‘Punctuation’.

V&A/Liberty limited edition fabric

V&A/Liberty limited edition fabric

Of course, the shop is also stocked with irresistible goodies.  I’ve already bought some of the wonderful limited edition fabrics made by V&A and Liberty Art Fabrics.  All 18 of the patterns are gorgeous but I like ‘Petals’ best.

The years of work that Sue Prichard, the curator, and Claire Smith, the assistant curator, have put into this exhibition has paid off – it’s just fabulous.  All quilters or sewing aficionados should go see it.  I hope they will also come to the Patchwork Social, which I’m organizing for the first May bank holiday weekend, 1-3 May.  We’ll be sewing patchwork blocks to be put together as quilts for the charity Project Linus UK to support children with serious illness or trauma.  I’m really excited about the event and we have so many lovely people from Project Linus who are going to be volunteering at the event and helping people with their sewing.  If you are a quilter or are interested in making a simple patchwork block for charity, it would be great to see you there.

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I’ve always been a fan of Jugendstil, the Austrian/German counterpart to art nouveau.  Today at the Vienna Cafe Exhibition at the RCA, I got a good dose of it in a fascinating exhibition curated by our friend Dr. Charlotte Ashby.

Typical Jugendstil was exemplified by the Cafe Heinrichshof, with an interior designed by Otto Prutscher in 1911.  Prutscher was one of the prominent members of the Wiener Werkstatte.  Photos of other Viennese cafes around the turn of the century showed similar art nouveau style design.  Other images charted the progression of the cafes from the 17th century to the 20th, and the role they played in Viennese cultural and social life.

One of the most interesting parts of the exhibition, though, moved away from the heyday of the Viennese cafes and into contemporary art and design, reimagining everyday objects influenced by cafe culture.  A silver spoon that melted and left traces in a teacup gave a new outlook on the everyday action of stirring sugar and milk into a hot drink.

The exhibition included an actual cafe (with cakes imported from Austria), serving some of the same items as were listed on a cafe menu from a century or two before.  The old menu, though, also listed prices for games or game pieces, such as dominoes, chess, and billiards, which patrons could play all day for the price of a cup of coffee.

The exhibition didn’t have a billiard table, but by all accounts the deliciousness of the strudel made up for it.