'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Saturday, 1 November 2008

I've been quiet - but this post will make up for it!

I have been quiet because I have been lacking inspiration.I have finished the comfort blanket, and fiddled around with some more bits of monoprinting, although I have nothing to show you yet. I have been feeling uninspired, I think, because it was one of those weeks when we had a lot of odds and ends to do.
We did have an enjoyable Wednesday wander at the Hillier Gardens. My heart sank when we drove in because the [large] car park was almost full [half term week] - but most of the cars' occupants seemed to be queueing for the restaurant and when we got into the depths of the gardens we hardly saw a soul.

I did collect a few goodies. I think this is birch bark. The tree trunk was the most amazing pink, and the marks look very like stitch to me. One of my groups has a challenge to make an autumn embroidery - has anyone ever sewn bark? Did Indian birch bark canoes really exist and were they sewn? A bit of Googling may be needed.

These were on the path outside the gardens, some distance from any trees, but I think they are maples. Unfortunately I forgot to scan them when I got home, as the colours were even better before they dried out, but as they dried they curled up, making beautiful vessel shapes.
The start of November has been better than the end of October, however, as we have had a wonderful and inspiring afternoon. I am on the Hampshire Museums mailing list, and about a week ago I got this:
Get behind the scenes at Hampshire Museums
Saturday 1 November, starting at 1pm

Museums Service at Chilcomb House, Chilcomb Lane, Winchester SO23 8RD

Join us for an afternoon delving into the Museums and Archives collections to discover the County’s treasures.

We're gathering objects together for an exhibition next year in the gallery at Winchester Discovery Centre called Hampshire's Treasures. In the exhibition we will be exploring the concept of treasure - everything from high status objects to low - and why these objects and collections are important. Whether weird or wonderful, bizarre or impressive, treasures can be so many things - we want to hear your favourites and your ideas.
Come and see where we work, explore our collections and help shape the exhibition.

Who could resist? So we toddled along this afternoon and had a wonderful time!

We were shown selections of objects in a range of categories - textiles, childhood. metalwork, archeology, photographs, pictures and maps, etc. etc. etc.
We didn't get round them all - although I bet you can guess where I started!

It was wonderful to have the chance to talk to knowledgeable and enthusiastic experts who didn't seem to mind giving up their Saturday afternoon, and to get up close and personal with some wonderful objects. Of course we weren't allowed to photograph or touch, but Wensleydale was given a seven barrel gun to hold. [If you want to know what one looks like and you have this week's Radio Times to hand, turn to page 25, wrench your eyes away from Sean Bean and look at what Daragh O'Malley is holding.] [I have a thing for craggy blond Yorkshiremen. Fortunately. Well, Wenseydale was blonde once.]

I did not expect to be interested in guns but the expert, whose name I unfortunately don't know, was very good on his topic. There was one 'gun' I would have loved to bring home [and despite the UK's gun laws it would have been perfectly legal!] It looked like a little revolver - but when opened it contained scissors, crochet hook, mirror, etc. - it was a little needlework case, with the potential to scare attackers as it looked quite realistic [to an uneducated eye, at least.]

The textiles were fascinating - and too numerous to go through - but I found out that in the thirties Louisa Pesel [then in charge of embroidery at Winchester Cathedral] had set up 'Yew Tree Industries', an embroidery group, in Twyford, just outside the city, to provide employment for local women. There were a few samples on show - mostly linear stitches on evenweave fabric, and some very pretty designs. I have Googled but cannot find much information apart from the fact that Hampshire County Council has some - which I knew. If anyone out there knows anything - I would love to know more.

The County Archivists were there too - so as a dedicated Janeite I was delighted to see some of Ms Austen's tiny handwriting. There was also a much bolder - and bossier - example from the young Florence Nightingale.

At the end we were asked to choose our favourite object - and although I loved the textiles, and the needle case - my final choice was a pram! it was indescribable - but I will attempt to describe it. Imagine a cross between a 1950s US car, a pram and a Lloyd loom chair, except the 'wicker' is cream plastic. There was a chrome bumper on the front, and wheels that looked like they came off a 1950s pedal car. If that description made you laugh - that was our reaction to the pram.

I'm really looking forward to the exhibition - it will be great to see how many of our favourites make it.

1 comment:

Jackie said...

Isn't it wonderful when a place or objects inspire you? Looking forward to all the new pieces you'll be getting on with after this!