Saturday, 25 July 2009

The Supremes at Bath Fashion Museum

I had a wonderful day today at Bath with Linda. We travelled up to Bath where we met Yvonne at the Assembly Rooms for the opening day of the Exhibition that she has been organising - 'The Story of THE SUPREMES from the Mary Wilson collection'. It was fantastic - very cleverly arranged so that on entrance the whole of the exhibition is not in view and to see everything you must follow the layout of tall false walls which are covered with images and information about the Supremes from their foundation in 1959. Running alongside the glamour of show business are displays of black and white photographs and written information about what it was like to be a black person in the USA in the 1960's dominated by images of Dr. Martin Luther King. There are also plasma screens showing video footage of the Supremes in Concert and Martin Luther King speaking at various rallyes. The sound from both these things is running at the same time so that you can hear Supremes hit songs and Martin Luther Kings voice delivering some of his famous and unforgettable addresses. This is not intrusive, the volume is set at just the right level, so that you are aware of it and one does not overpower the other. I think it is a triumph. It creates a powerful and dramatic atmosphere. I have to confess it moved me to tears. What is it about Martin Luther King that is still so strong and potent after all these years?? His voice never fails to affect me.

The dresses are glorious in all their sixties and seventies splendour. Lots of glam and glitz. It is a beautifully put together Exhibition and I think Yvonne should feel very proud of herself for masterminding the design. There is much more to it than a room full of 'old frocks'. That's blasphemy from a Vintage Fashion Dealer!!!!!!!!

Mary Wilson was there too this morning. So beautiful in the 'flesh'. More beautiful than the photographs and a very gracious and charming lady. She signed our books and posters for us. For me it was an unforgettable experience. The exhibition runs until the 31st August. It is well worth the trip.

Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photographs - this was understandable as most of the dresses are featured in a V&A book 'The Story of the Supremes' which is all photographs with a Foreward written by Mary Wilson. This is the book that I bought and Mary signed for me. I apologise for the quality of the photograph at the top of this post but I forgot to turn off the flash!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Last but definitely not least.

We stopped and had a long chat to the Dyer. One hundred per cent natural dyes. The dyes used to produce some of the lovely colours in her basket were - walnut, weld, woad, madder and cochineal.
Some of the paler reds and pinks were obtained by using exhausted dye baths. Clever stuff and something I intend to have a go at soon. I have been collecting onion skins for ages and have a good stash now. So watch this space for Natural Dyed Fabrics.

Field Kitchen Fare.

Hand milling stones for oats and wheat.

Doesn't it all look delicious. REAL food. The smells coming from the food cooking was making us feel hungry, but alas we couldn't buy any of these tempting things. Thanks to Health and Safety!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! they weren't allowed to sell it. I particularly fancied some of the Brie Tart but had to make do with a Hog Roast and a cup of tea. It was quite delicious but ordinary compared to the rest of the things we saw. We did however manage to find an authentic trader with a licence to sell food and tried some of his apple cakes!!!!!!!! What can I say? Basically a sweet scone mix with cinnamon and apple in the middle and cooked on an open fire griddle. Those were the days!!!!!!!!!!!

Dorchester Medieval Festival

Ferrets in a basket. Sound asleep among the sheepskins.

Uniforms and arms and armour and some of my favourite things.
This one is either 'dead' or waiting to be despatched.

Times Past

Today we have been to a Medieval Festival being held at Came Park, Dorchester. As usual I felt the familiar 'quickening' when I started to walk among the Living History encampments. The weather was kind with just the occasional spot of rain. My camera, however, was not and was acting up. I managed to get a few pictures but not as many as I had hoped for.
We walked around for a couple of hours and had a look at the artisans and the traders. As usual I managed to find someone selling fabrics and came home with three lots of 'just in case's'. It would have been rude to leave it there - 100% silk for £2 a metre as well as some gorgeous pale greeney/blue linen for £2 a metre. I might have to go back tomorrow for another look!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Another Little Gem

I have just finished another 'Little Gem' for Festival of Quilts Tombola. This one is made in the same way, using the same techniques and methods. The difference is the colour. This time I chose to use red. It is a good contrast with the green background and portrays a hot summer garden border.
I will get my two finished 'Little Gems' posted to York this week-end in good time for the Festival of Quilts in August. I have not got to go away to work anywhere this month so I am trying to use my time constructively!!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Little Gems

This is what I have been doing most of the day today. I should have been getting ready to go to Bradford on Avon tomorrow to keep Linda company on her stand at the Talent for Textile Fair there. The photograph shows my contribution to the Little Gem project. I started a large version of this at a workshop with Kate Dowty earlier in the year. I decided to cut the original into four pieces and this is one of the pieces finished. I hope to get the other three done for the Festival of Quilts. I will post this one off this week and take the others with me when I go to Birmingham in August.
When I started this workshop I was not sure if I was going to get it finished because it is very different from the things I usually do but it came to me in a 'eureka' moment that I should cut it up and perhaps I would cope with it better. If I don't get the others finished in time I will donate them to the Alzheimer project that we are doing in November. I will blog about that a bit closer to the time.
Well its off to bed for an earlier than normal night as I have to get up and find my way to Bradford on Avon tomorrow.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

France Again!!

Linda and I were in France again last week-end. We travelled on the Fast Cat from Poole to Cherbourg first sailing on Friday. We arrived at Cherbourg at about 11.45 a.m. just in time for everything to shut for the two hour lunch break!! We drove south to Coutances to have lunch at our favourite restaurant in the Cathedral square but were too late for the lunch menu so had a delicious Croque Monsieur instead. We had stopped at one place on the way down to Coutances and had found some lovely sheets so we were not in a panic to find anything, but headed back after lunch to another of our regular Depot Vente stops.
It was a beautiful sunny day and by this time we were getting tired. We had been up since 4.30 a.m. and were starting to flag. We found a few things including a lovely old picture frame to use to frame some early woodblock fabric, and a cute little drying rack.
We didn't think we would be able to get the canoe in the car so decided to leave it beached on the gravel!!! We both loved it but it was the same old story -'nowhere to put it'.
We were happy to see the friendly pink building of the Hotel Ibis where we were staying for the night and after a glass of Kir, a bath, half of Andy Murray's match, we headed to the dining room to eat another great meal. We were supposed to be going to a Brocante sale the next morning but the beds were too comfortable to leave at 6 a.m. so we stayed there until 8.30 a.m. It's a hard life!!!!!!!!