Bridging Arts

Friday, 27 November 2015

Tapestry and a Roman stone

The interior of Escomb Church near Bishop Auckland in County Durham takes the breath away. Noticed the criss cross carving on this wall stone mirrored the diamond grid on the tapestry kneeler beneath. The carving is Roman - done to make plaster adhere to it more easily.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Dog appliques at Brumus

Wonderful appliques on chairs at Brumus (on Haymarket, London). Not just one dog but a whole parade...A rainy morning outside but flights of fancy here to cheer everyone up over breakfast.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

On trend shoes at the Goya show

Fabulous fabrics and detail in the portraits at the National Gallery's current Goya exhibition.
In particular, very on trend shoes....Here on the Marchioness of Santa Cruz.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Monday, 12 October 2015

YSL in detail at the Bowes Museum

Another chance to visit the YSL exhibition at the Bowes Museum over the weekend. Amazing that so many of the garments are not behind glass and it's wonderful to be able to examine them so closely... The whole show has an other worldly air (Who wears these clothes and when? Who can afford them?) and you feel that visitors are transported by it to a sort of fairy tale reality where you can be Cinderella for a day.
An invigilator tells me too that lots of keen seamstresses visit and there's as much interest in the process (the various toiles on display) as in the final result: someone asked if they had turned a dress inside out to look at the seams....

Friday, 9 October 2015

Tiles at a Bosphorus boat stop

Tiles on Besiktas boat station on the Bosphorus. To compare with these decorative edges and lines of tiles and geraniums outside the Midland Hotel, Manchester.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Cafe mosaics

Love these lamps at a roadside cafe near Kabatas tram stop in Istanbul. They're mosaic-ed - if that's a word.
Fabulous Byzantine mosaics in mosques and churches echoed on the street.

A prayer mat in the Yeni V. Sultan Mosque, Istanbul

A prayer mat in the women's gallery of the Yeni V. Sultan Mosque in Uskadar, Istanbul. This is on the Asian side of the Bosphorus.

Our project Stitch looking at the cultural and social power of fabric and embroidery has links with Istanbul.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Ghostly words at the Bowes Museum

Wonderful transparent black panels in the Bowes Museum at the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition with quotes from the man himself:  the best make-up is passion and the most beautiful clothes that can dress a woman are the arms of the man she loves...

Friday, 2 October 2015

Beneath the skin or the skin beneath

These leather gloves (embroidered with silk and silver gilt thread) in the V&A, London, are 400 years old but it's still possible to sense the owner's hands beneath the leather. They're so human it's unsettling.
Gloves were hugely important in 17th century etiquette - you can imagine these were a pretty impressive social statement. But they were clearly worn, not just touted around.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Knots to keep up a blind

Simple and totally effective - a series of knots on this cord to hook on to a nail to keep this blind up at whatever level desired. Why wouldn't it work?!
Outside in downtown Bologna it's fantastically hot - a surreal reprise of  summer.

Monday, 28 September 2015

An inspired use for ribbon

Inspired ribbon use in a bar in downtown Bologna (near San Stefano).... just so no one walks off with the lighter.
An elegant touch in an elegant bar early on a Monday morning. Everyone is getting ready for the day....

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Morden mosque fire

Very sorry to hear of the fire at Morden Mosque. We worked with women here in the Stitch project and went to Ladies' Night more than once.  Click here for more on that.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Curtains to hide a multitude of sins

Love these curtains at the Basilica of Sant Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna (new in this case dating from circa 500 AD ) - which was built by the Ostrogoth King Theodoric the Great as his palace chapel.

This amazing mosaic (just part of two huge panels running the length of the apse) is thought to be a fairly accurate depiction of his palace and originally contained figures of praying Goths and courtiers.

These were cleverly concealed with these curtains when Ravenna became fully Christian later in the century - so that all that remains are their hands curving around the pillars....

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Embroidered book covers at Penguin

An embroidered cover (front and back) by Jenny Hart for Sarah Blake's novel The Postmistress and The Jane Austen Book Club cover by Helen Musselwhite.
Both are commissioned by Penguin Books for their newMade By Hand series.
"Six of Penguin's most popular recent fiction titles have been redesigned as a set with new craft-inspired covers. The Penguin By Hand series makes use of embroidery, crochet and quilting, with each technique further evoked on paper through the use of some serious embossing...
Publishing in September, the Penguin By Hand series features the following titles: The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak (cover by Emma Ruth Hughes); The Help by Kathryn Stockett (cover by Brenda Riddle); The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Banks (cover by Genevieve Dionne); The Postmistress by Sarah Blake (cover by Jenny Hart); The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler (cover by Helen Musselwhite); and The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (cover byDominique Falla)."
Fabulous! Thanks to Bridging Arts volunteer Katrina Williams for discovering this. Katrina keeps a very sharp eye open for news and fresh ideas.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

A snip at Sainsbury's

How about this for a great buy from Sainsbury's. Ninety-seven per cent cotton and a print that looks ten times more expensive than it actually was....

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Idle days in captivity

... and Mary Queen of Scots' imagination ran wild. Taken so by surprise by these panels at the V&A that wanted to photograph them all.  But on second glance they are seriously weird. What DID she have on her mind?
These embroideries were made between 1569 and about 1585 while she was under house arrest in England.  George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury was responsible for Mary and she stayed at one or other of the Shrewsbury estates. Elizabeth (Bess) Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury worked with Mary Queen of Scots on these.

According to the V&A: "Embroidery was a form of therapy and communication for Mary, as well as a conventional occupation for wealthy and elite women. Most of the motifs depicted were copied from the wood-cut illustrations of emblem books and natural histories by well-known authors such as Claud Paradin, Conrad Gessner, Pierre Belon. These often represented sentiments and morals from classical literature and contemporary folklore, and were chosen by Mary to express her most private thoughts at a time when all her written correspondence was being monitored by her captors."

Monday, 27 July 2015

Church embroidery

To add to the collection of church embroidery and needlework.... a crocheted cloth by tulips in Morvah Church, near Zennor in Cornwall. All the flowers in this church looked unreal - they were let's face it completely out of season or so it seemed - apple blossom on the altar and these tulips. But they weren't artificial at all. 100pct real petals.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Decorative edges

What attention to detail - a creme de menthe trim around this crumbling former shop in Cross Street, Camborne.
Tiles adding a decorative edge. Not quite as lavish as at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, spotted a year or so ago.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Patterns for poolside, Spain

A riot of prints in the wardrobe. My lovely daughter and I have packed all our summer dresses for a couple days of sun, swimming and reading in the most splendid of Paradors.
All these prints are so RIGHT in the sun.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Trouble with history

Love these wild tapestries .....How many times have I not finished a kit?! Sometimes it's interesting not to colour in between the lines.
By Matt Smith - his exhibition 'Trouble with History' is currently on in Brighton. More on his website