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

Dorothy Rowe

Sunday 6 October 2013

Things can only get better?

A slightly more cheerful week this week, although my insomnia has been particularly bad. But I slept well last night, the sun was shining when I woke up, and we had already planned a Sunday saunter. It was the last day of the Kathakali exhibition at the Discovery Centre, so, unusually for us, we ventured out at the weekend.

We thought the Discovery Centre opened at 10 at weekends, so we postponed our morning coffee till we got there. Bummer. It doesn't. And the Theatre Royal, which is our fallback coffee bar for such occasions, was closed too. As was the cafe across the road we've never been in.

But the new icecream parlour on the corner, which I have walked past and drooled at, was open. We resisted the icecream, but had lovely coffee (locally roasted), even nicer cheesecake, friendly and helpful service. And the reflections on the base of the table were fascinating.

I think the library cafe may have lost some customers. 

At 11, when the DC does open, we drifted along to find it was open but the Kathakali exhibition wasn't, yet. Bummer 2. So we went upstairs to watch 'Close Protection' by Graham Gussin again. 

We found it was well worth seeing twice - new ideas came out on a second viewing. (If you visit that link and read the description, although it seems like pure art speak, having seen the videos, it makes sense!)

When we went downstairs the Kathakali exhibition had opened, so we did manage to get a look at that. Wonderful vivid costumes with lots of bling, as well as more everyday dress. It made me want to visit Kerala, and see some Kathakali dance.

That was actually our second textiley trip of the week. Now the VHC is in nursery full-time, we have a little more time to ourselves in the middle of child minding days, and there is only so much shopping you can do. So we have been looking for places that are near enough for us to get there and back in time for the school/nursery pick up. This led to a second visit to the National Needlework Archive. (Only taken 4 years!) The main exhibition was of panels from the Quaker Tapestries. As I have made clear before, I'm not always a fan of representational embroidery, but this was different. Of course it's essential, given the nature of the subject matter, but the panels are beautifully designed and made, and the story they tell is fascinating. And there is an additional poignancy in seeing such a celebration of peace in the spiritual heart of the former Greenham Common Air Base. The women of peace got in in the end!

We also looked at the Country Wife, which who is under conservation there. When we went 4 years ago she was wrapped in bubblewrap and being saturated with nitrogen to debug her, but she is now lying down, being prepared for conservation. If you pay £2 extra admission, you get to see her and hear a talk about the conservation process - which is how I know why she was all wrapped up 4 years ago!

That was Thursday - Friday was the first session of this year's Contemporary Textiles Workshop, for which I have been repeating myself all summer. This session was about pattern - we had a Powerpoint talk (that's a first!) before trying a little pattern making - 

geometric collages

and geometrically based drawings.  In case you can't tell, this are my inept attempts at Escher-ish tesselations. (Actually I'm quite  pleased with them, and I'm thinking of trying one of them out with some transfer dye and a bit of poly satin...

I thought the collages looked like canvas work, so I set out to translate the green and purple one into stitch. I spent a lot of time faffing around with different threads and sizes, then got going with this.

Er - can you spot the deliberate mistake? Bummer 3.

I'm not going to unpick it now, I haven't got enough of that wool to start again, but I may try to do it properly at a later date. 

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