Bridging Arts

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Lines of tiles and geraniums

At the Midland Hotel, Manchester. Another photo left on the camera and never deleted - taken in mid July and mid summer. Northern colours.

A use for mussel shells

Spotted at Tate Britain. I think it was mentioned (or shown) in background info about a Turner exhibit: mussel shells used by 19th century artists to mix their paints. Try that myself at home.

At a vintage clothing show at Hammersmith Town Hall, see another use for a large shell -as a button holder. The buttons match the mother of pearl.

A button bracelet

Sometimes - too infrequently! -  I meet up on a Saturday morning with Katrina Williams, who has helped out with so many Bridging Arts projects. She always has an embroidery - or needlework - project on the go. On this particular morning she showed me a button bracelet that she'd designed.

China dresses at Alexander McQueen

A brilliant way of using up smashed china. Pasted into a bodice on these dresses at Alexander McQueen. But my guess is that this china was smashed purposefully....A fabulous contrast with the frothed skirt.

Christmas windows in New Bond Street

And.... while we are still ploughing through the 12 days of Christmas... some photos from New Bond Street as everyone was finishing their Christmas shopping.
Dolce & Gabbana's market stall... Everything always looks so much more attractive when lined up neatly...
Just down the street, a rose-studded Christmas pudding.... the flowers squashed together. Somehow reminiscent of the icing sugar ballgown spotted on a cake in a window of a Shepherds Bush baker ....(much earlier this year)
 And finally, to complete a Christmas triptych, a mannequin in the Prada window.  Really like the mix of fabrics and patterns - the silk scarf, the polka dots, the sheer lace skirt. Have a feeling that this is something to do with a sense of impending economic recession - not quite sure why - food for thought.                                                                     

Some things don't travel

 Somehow - I've noticed over the years - some fabrics and patterns don't travel well. Tidying up photos from earlier in the year in my camera again - and come across this photo of a Madrid shop window in blazingly hot June. Fabulous though these shawls are - they don't really travel well. Cannot imagine wearing one in Shepherds Bush... Maybe it's something to do with the light - colours look different in hot climates....And patterns 'fit' the cultural traditions whence they spring, of course.

Looking back at the year

Tidying up the photos on my Blackberry (prior to ditching it when my contract ends shortly...) find pictures of the summer and its patterns (and places)... First - Madrid, in June. A shop window near the Puerta del Sol. It was so hot. Traditional Spain.

Monday, 21 November 2011

A closer look at the rose border

..And the traditional geometrical abstract patterns of Islamic tradition.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Geometry and roses

A blend of the mathematical and lyrical on a length of fabric in Zain, a shop specialising in (among other things) textiles for the Sudanese community.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Folds of rope

I had been to Venice before (as a student) but that was such a long time ago... This time, am taken by surprise at every turn. The boatmen on the water buses work miracles with rope. This elaborate knot lashed in a matter of seconds to secure the boat.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Tressed hair and fabric folds

On a water bus in Venice - a nun is sitting in front of me next to someone who has carefully clipped her hair into place with two tiny plastic clips of a kind I've never seen before.
The lines of the tressed hair follow the folds of the fabric worn by the nun.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Beaded robes on Gesuati Madonna

Richly beaded robes on the Madonna and Child in the Gesuati (Sta Maria del Rosario) church in Venice, on the Zattere...

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Rows of polyanthas

And the gardeners have laid out the polyanthas in rows, making planting so much easier. I would have tipped them out anyhow.

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Patterns of autumn

In Soho Square this morning.... The beds are being replanted, ready for winter flowering....
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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Reviewing the summer

An Indian summer in London - fabulous warm sunshine. Tidying up photos in the camera - find a catalogue of pattern and place over the summer months. Starting with a trip to Oropesa de Toledo, central Spain, in late June with my daughter. It was VERY hot (close to 40 degrees some days) and on our last Sunday, it was a Saint's Day. The heat did not deter anyone.
It was a return to the start of the embroidery project - Oropesa de Toledo was a starting point in 2008. From there my great friend Marcy Frosh and I discovered the neighbouring village of Lagartera and its extraordinary tablecloths and embroidery. The tablecloths (like other needlework there) have traditional, geometric, embroidered patterns, a legacy of Moorish occupation many centuries ago.
And the idea of an embroidery project somehow capturing a sense of place was born.
Here tablecloths from Lagartera were hung from windows and balconies to welcome the Madonna, paraded around the streets. Some people created shrines with ferns, fabric and carpets...

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Late summer colours in west Cornwall

Not exactly a pattern - but the colours of late summer in west Cornwall. These flowers for sale in a jam jar on a doorstep next to the launderette opposite Tesco's, Camborne.
So much more beautiful than florists' flowers - these were picked from the owner's garden. Plants collected over the years that flourish in the shadow (almost) of south Crofty mine.

Monday, 19 September 2011

An outing to Jermyn Street - continued

Had embarked on this a few days ago - but was thwarted by a slow internet connection. Now in west Cornwall, with a brand new connection (the line was struck by lightning in August and only just reconnected), things are a bit easier. Above - the tiemaker. As with the shirt cutter (see last entry), the startling thing about this work is its precision at such speed.
The whole street is a self-styled tribute to traditional London.

Another view of London comes just down the road on Piccadilly at Hauser and Wirth (art gallery). The artist has filled the space with huge structures, curiously swathed in fabric, to mimic the architectural crowding, structures and spaces of urban London outside. The artist: Phyllida Barlow.

A loft space filled with balls of rags...  Two very different treatments and use of fabric on a London afternoon. In the gallery textiles perhaps give a (slightly) human dimension.

Monday, 12 September 2011

An outing and inspiration

Well over a month since the last posting. I have been in the doldrums. But loyal Bridging Arts volunteer and friend Katrina Williams has energised me. She's been helping with the sewing circle at Notre Dame Refugee Centre (where I work for three days a week) and really shown how embroidery and needlework can bring people together. Very impressive - and more on that another time.
But a result was that I set off yesterday for an outing on Jermyn Street with a keener eye for patterns and place.
Immediately spotted a Persian rug in a shop on Piccadilly which looked so much like a fantastically cheaper (£20) version I bought the other week in Shepherds Bush market when spring-cleaning my son's bedroom. Would show a picture of the market buy but slumbering party goers are sleeping in the bedroom - a photo later.

The colouring is the same. The key thing is the pale background which somehow looks expensive.

No doubt this rug is silk. My market version is 'man-made' silk....

An interesting book in the window.

And then to Jermyn Street where there is so much activity - and skill.
A shirt maker

Working at such speed! Unlike my Broadband connection this morning.
More later.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Robin and Lucienne Day design and textiles in Ealing

Another tip-off from Katrina - a very good exhibition at the PM Gallery (Ealing) - Robin and Lucienne Day: Design and the Modern Interior. It's on until 4th September. Directions to the PM Gallery below: have never been myself but don't want to miss this one. Katrina says the textiles are spectacular.

Extract from review in the Independent:
"A celebration of the power couple of modern interior design husband and wife Robin and Lucienne Day... He was a furniture designer and she was a textile designer. They worked independently sharing only a design studio, but were together an indefatigable force who shaped much of British household design in the post-war era."

  PM Gallery & House
Walpole Park, Mattock Lane, London W5 5EQ
Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday and Sunday 1pm-5pm
Saturday 11am-5pm
Email: pmgallery&
Telephone: (020) 8567 1227