Since last month I have been on a trip to another great city, New York City and what a fantastic trip it was!
Whenever I travel to major cities like London or NYC I always to try to pull in an afternoon at a museum. I have a huge fondness for museums and I think that their role in our society is so important.
The exhibition that I wanted to see was at the Met called "Fashion and Virtue", a name which I found kind of mis-leading. Even though it was only a small exhibition it contained some items which just blew my mind. The exhibition looked at how the printing press changed the way textile patterns were shared and ultimately disseminated throughout the world. On display were some pattern books were that were almost 500 years old! (OK I really need more exclamations for that) !! Books from the 16th century, when Elizabeth I was Queen.
Not only were these books old, old, old but they were beautifully preserved, no small feat when barely any would have survived intact. These books were "working books" like the stitch dictionaries that I, and hundreds of knitters, use today. The pages would have been ripped out to use as weaving or printing guidelines. But here they were showing me patterns that I recognize and see still used in contemporary textiles.
One of the things that I enjoy about seeing an exhibition rather than simply looking at the museums overall collection (I like that too) is the element of story telling that the particular curation brings the artifacts. Many years ago I saw and exhibition at the AGO on Andy Warhol which was curated by the film maker David Cronenberg. Mr Cronenberg brought a fresh look to Warhol's work as seen through the eyes of cinematographer. It was a really interesting way to look at things.
I was enjoying the Fashion and Virtue exhibition a lot, marvelling at the books but then I turned a corner and saw such an excellent piece of curation that it stopped me dead in my tracks. There were garments on display that demonstrated just how the types of patterns contained in these books are being used today. This included a Ralph Lauren sweater from the 1990's but also two manequins standing side by side displaying garments that were 100 years apart in their manufacture. Here's a photo of them (yes it was allowed).
It was mind blowing! Of course we might know something to be true intellectually, but seeing really is believing.
I left the exhibition pondering how museums decide what items they should collect. How do they select items that will someday have a relevance? They play such an important role in preserving things so that some day 500 years from now somebody can learn from & enjoy seeing these pieces. Once more I learned something from my experience but at the same time it raised new questions for me.
My goodness it's December once again. I'm pretty sure that I say it every year, but this year in particular has flashed by in the blink on an eye. And today a Facebook memory showed me that 6 years ago I was in London on a double decker bus heading down Oxford Street. That seems like it happened just 5 minitues ago and yet I know that a ton of things have happened since and I feel so different than I did 6 years ago. I love how photos can instantly reconnect you to a time and place and even an emotion - this is the reason that I love taking them.
I hope that you enjoy the photos- this month the shots are of graffiti walls in Toronto. I took these when I was scoping out a location for the photo shoot for one of my newest designs; Rossetti (below).
Please check back next month to find out
what my latest fascination is.
See you next month & next year!
unleash the power of inspiration...
unleash the power of inspiration...