Do you remember me mentioning that amidst all the rubbish stuff going on I'd had a lovely day out in London? Of course you don't... but it was so good, and so inspiring that I'm going to tell you all about it whether you remember or not!
I went with Gill to the wonderful Fashion and Textile Museum, near London Bridge where they have an exhibition called Artist Textiles. In an attempt to make their work less elitist and more relevant to the lives of ordinary people, many 20th century artists designed textiles for the mass market. This exhibition charts the course of this movement from Artists such as Raoul Dufy and Vanessa Bell through to Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol.
Post WWII many artists were commissioned to design head scarves as part of a strategy of national recovery after the war. Henry Moore and Matisse were among those who designed some of these head squares but we rather liked these fruit and vegetable inspired scarves too, designed by Marcel Vertes.
I also liked this one by Salvador Dali with its whirling dancers.
But there is so much more to see than just scarves with a wealth of glorious prints and some fabrics made up into garments. I loved this floral furnishing fabric by Marc Chagall. It is a wonderful exhibition and if you are remotely interested in textiles it is well worth a visit, especially if you go on a Wednesday like we did, when there is always an excellent short guided tour at lunch time.
The weather was so good that we then had a stroll through Borough Market, another feast for the senses, and then all the way along the South Bank as far as Westminster Bridge. On our way we browsed through the shops in the Oxo Tower and discovered the amazing work of Lauren Shanley, who has a shop on the first floor. Lauren makes the most exquisite appliqued and embroidered textiles... yet more sensual stimulation! Her work is an absolute explosion of colour and she was lovely, spending ages chatting to us about her work... we even offered to come and do work experience with her!
And so I came home inspired to try my own version of a Lauren Shanley fabric and started piecing scraps of fabric together... and in no time at all I had a bag!
It was such fun to make and a great way not only to use up masses of scraps and all thoose little bits and bobs we hoard but also a chance to showcase a wealth of machine embroidery stitches.
I loved the technique so much that I'm already making my second one and I've got my machine embroidery class making their own versions.
Plus it was a chance to put one of the hand embroidered buttons I made a few weeks ago to good use. I think we could all do with more inspiring days out like that! What's inspiring you at the moment?