Thursday, 21 February 2013

Valentino

Yesterday I had a day out in London with Gill to see the Valentino Exhibition at Somerset House. It was a stunning exhibition with 130 gowns on show. It was arranged so that we were walking along a catwalk and the dresses were where the audience would usually be, so it was a chance to see each gown right up close and in detail.
 
 
There were several stunning dresses and the couture detailing, embroidery and beading were amazing... yet I have to say (and eavesdropping on other conversations we were not the only ones to think so) there were some hideous creations too... numerous monstrosities in awful colours with far too much embellishment thrown at each dress

 
I certainly wouldn't want to wear the dress below to my Oscar ceremony! Yet the highlight of the exhibition for me was a small display at the end showing some of the couture techniques up close with a film of how they were achieved. I came home determined to try some out... although when I googled "Budellini" which was one of the techniques on show I discovered it was Italian for "Intestines" which is not quite what I had in mind!

 
After the exhibition and some lunch we braved the bitter cold and had a wander through Covent Garden and on to Soho to do a bit of window shopping (we were both very restrained shoppers yesterday!) ending up in the fabric shops of Berwick street.

 
In Broadwick Silks (a fabulous shop) we spotted this amazing embroidered fabric covered in sketchy portraits. At £85 per metre it was a little over our budget but they very kindly let us take a photo and I even came away with a tiny sample... with a view to trying my own version.

 
At our last Spectrum meeting I got the ladies to draw portraits of each other. The purpose of the exercise was not to end up with great works of art or fabulous likenesses but to make them realise that to make good drawings that record information we can use later, we need to spend more time looking at the subject we are drawing rather than at our sheet of paper.

 
Although I have to say I do often think I'm wasting my time as whilst some members happily embrace whatever exercise I throw at them, I still get all the usual comments of "I hate drawing" and "I don't do portraits" which seems to me to be missing the point completely. The point being it is excellent practise in being more observant, in being able to record information, which in turn will make for better designs and ultimately better work... but I fear I am wasting my breath!

 
But I digress... because I dug out my own portraits from the last meeting (very sketchy and very rough) and used them and other sketches from my sketchbook to produce a small sample of my own "portrait fabric".

 
Yes... you are all in there ladies... but I'm not letting on who is who!
 
***
 
Thank you for you kind messages after my last post. Our poor hen never did return home so we are down to just one chicken... but thinking of indroducing a couple of companions for her.

25 comments:

  1. Your're embroidered fabric is wonderful and your advice sounds good too, those ladies should listen to you!
    The exhibition looks amazing, I know my daughter would love it.
    So sorry about the little hen.
    V xxx

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  2. sounds like a perfect day Gina. it's great to be able to get up close and personal to the fabric and see the detail and work that went into it. I echo the previous commenter (? a word) - good advice... sorry your hen didn't return. x

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  3. I think your portrait fabric is great -- tons of possibilities there.

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  4. The exhibition sounds wonderful even if it did have a few monstrosities.
    Your embroidered fabric sample is stunning. I know what you say about drawing is true but I think that we, who keep trotting out the negative remarks, have to overcome our fear before we can proceed!

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  5. What a fab exhibition, I'm off to google it now and see how long it's on for. When I did A Level textiles I bought (well my mum bought) the silk for a jacket I made from a silk shop in Berwick Street. I haven't been back there for years, must rectify that!

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  6. Oh, Gina. When I first saw the image of that fabric I thought it was your work until I read the text underneath! I think the artist must have seen your work in the past and been inspired ;O !

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  7. Did you think a couple of those gowns resembled curtains? .....I sure did ....

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  8. I love a blog post that tells me something new or takes me somewhere different, and this fits the bill. Never heard of Budellini and now I have and I know what it is. Thanks. And I love your stitched faces. Hope you're going for a square metre.

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  9. I do actually prefer 'contour' drawing to detailed drawing, it feels less threatening and I don't worry too much about what it looks like. Once you do a few I think you definitely get better at it and can get a lovley feeling of energy in the drawing (but of course you know that, don't you). Your stitched portrait looks great.

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  10. Your portrait fabric is really brilliant - better than the original, I'd say!

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  11. I was at a workshop yesterday and we started talking about being able to draw. The tutor said that it is important to draw portraits as you can easily see if you have made a mistake, as it wont look right. If you make a mistake when drawing a tree, who will no? She said you need to learn to observe and really see what is there. I thought that made a lots of sense, as a non drawer! How lucky to bet a sample of such wonderful fabric.

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  12. Note to self, proof read comments before sending! Sorry about the mistakes.

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  13. The exhibition sounds wonderful how clever making the public be on the catwalk. Love the drawings they are superb.

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  14. The exhibition looks good. I look forward to seeing your piece of fabric. Are you going to make it into anything?

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  15. Hi Gina - thanks for your nice comment on my yarn-dyeing adventures!
    One of my hens was missing for six days before meeting me at the gate one morning, demanding entry...I'll keep fingers crossed for your hen. And boo to that irresponsible dog-owner!

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  16. What a lovely day out, I'm envious! :) I love your stitched piece with the portraits, much better than the shop one by far. I wish i knew these people, it would be great fun guessing each of them are!
    Sorry about your poor hen, I hope she didn't suffer.xx

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  17. This is very interesting indeed - I have come across the same thing, a real reluctance to engage with the idea behind the exercise. I did a blind drawing exercise once, and half the class just mucked about - and this is grown women not teenagers! One lady last term absolutely loathed anything I asked her to do that involved glue or paint. I told her we'd be doing clay next...ha!

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  18. Have just caught up on my blog reading - although I'd already caught up first-hand. The stitched portrait sample looks even better in real life. I want to have a go now x

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  19. Fantastic fabric! I like your much better than the commercial version!

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  20. Your post reminds me of an article I read ages ago about the ateliers in Paris where seamstresses and embroiderers work behind closed doors in narrow old houses making specialist trimmings and accessories to designer dresses. Perhaps somewhere there is someone interpreting 'budellini'in a non-intestinal way. Looks like your portrait fabric has won admirers.Going to take the idea further? Perhaps add a bit of budellini?

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  21. How funny! I went to that yesterday and I agree there were some very 'dated' pieces which were hideous, but the one you have singled out with the ostrich feathers was one of our favourites! LOL. No accounting for taste. My favourite detail of the day - apart from the fantastic videos (I am making nylon net roses as I type), was a grandad taking his young grandaughter round and telling her all about the silks, embellishments and techniques .. it was so lovely to witness.

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  22. It looks like you had a great day. I love the fabric and love your stitch interpretation of it. Would you like to bring it in on Wednesday to show? xx

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  23. Oh lucky you, I love the fabric shops in Berwick street, I wonder if Borovicks is still there. I still have a metre of beautiful silk velvet that my husband bought me in the '80's, from Broadway silks.
    Absolutely love your portraits and the portrait fabric is so cool.

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