Sunday, 16 March 2014

So... we went to London yesterday.

A couple of months ago the lovely Miss Curly Pops mentioned how fabulous this exhibition would be and I agreed that it would be nice to go visit it. Then I realised it would be 'just on my doorstep'. And my daughter is doing Fashion Textile Design GCSE (Yrs 10 & 11 for you non -Brits) so it was too magical a combination to ignore.
We got the 0812 train up on Saturday along with everyone in a 50 mile radius of here. We were rammed in like sardines at our stop and there were eight more to go before we got to the Big Smoke. Turns out this was the last 'London for a tenner' weekends as well as our local football (soccer) team playing Queens Park Rangers up in London. So rammed in like sardines *and* enjoying the delicious scent of beer breath and sweaty bodies of the footy fans getting started on a big day out, all to the accompaniment of football chants and muchos swearing. That swearing bit didn't bother me so much as I have the vocabulary of a highly skilled sailor brought up by a verbally talented fishwife but My Girl's friend who came with us lives a fairly sheltered life.
So anyway, we got there eventually after a scrum rush halfway up when they made us change trains. In order to stop them getting crushed in the throng I pushed her and said mate into the full elevator saying "Just keep going and I will meet you on Platform Three." The look of terror and enormous concern on her face indicated she thought this was it and I would be swallowed up in the 'Great Platform Change Saga of 2014'. I wasn't, all was well and we got on the next train to complete our standing to London journey.
We negotiated the Underground reasonably well although I pulled friend G to the right quite sharply each time we went on an escalator because nothing hacks off a London local more than having clear access blocked by tourists who don't know the rules.
Museum located, bags deposited in the cloakroom (read 'cupboard of great chemical stinkiness') and we were in there.
This was my favourite of all the textiles on display. While it shouts 1950s it is also has a very modern feel ala Syko or Janet Clare. Or they have a very retro-style. Or you know, some mish-mash, mix-up blend of both.

This is a close-up which gives better example of actual colour.

At no point anywhere in the venue was there Goldilocks lighting. It was either too dark, too bright, too pink bc it was reflecting off the vividly pink walls or too orange bc of the orange walls. Fortunately getting in for close-ups enabled me to adjust for the overall hideous illumination job done by the Three Bears, although we can't blame the Baby Bear bc obvs he was just doing what his parents told him. Good Baby Bear.

While the exhibition spanned C20th the bulk of the work was from the 50s on which is right up my girl's alley. She was busy swooning away over the geometric patterns and (to my eye) harsh colours. I was busy earwigging on the conversations of the other gallery attendees. I listened with delight while two older women, probably in their 70s, pointed in recognition at several of the dresses on display because they had owned the exact same ones when new. "Oh" said one " if only I had kept all of those things from then." "But we didn't know," said the other "why would we?" I looked at these two women the world would classify as elderly and could see they still thought of themselves as young. Young enough to swirl out to tea dances in crisp, raspberry coloured dresses patterned with huge cream roses.

This one just made me smile even if the lions are little bit creepy. Although I have just realised that the lion in the cage all by himself is actually a tiger.

Bermondsey Street seems to be deep in the heart of funky South-East London and there were galleries and workshops by the score just on that little (not so little - really quite long - overshadowed by The Shard) street alone.
(This is not Bermondsey Street but that *is* The Shard.)
 The girls and I piled into a gallery with a David Hockney Exhibition. They stood looking at mobile phones. I prodded them a little so Friend G glanced around a bit. My girl ignored me. I got the feeling they thought is was all a bit  Emperor's New Clothes. They might be right.
I then forced them into the London Glassblowing Studio. My Girl refused initially bc "there is a silent auction going on and we can't stay quiet while we look around!!!" I told her to be brave and all would be well and marched in there. Eventually I took pity on her creased brow and explained what a silent auction is. We then asked the nice gallery man if we could take pictures of the work as the girls are both studying design.
Oh. Oh! OH! Look at this. How stunningly beautiful is the work in this bowl? I saw it as sunset on the sand at ebb- tides but My Girl can only see sand dunes and the ripples caused by wind. This bowl stood about 30 cm (12") tall and at least that in diameter and I loved it so very much. So much that I began to wonder what the cost of a teenager is on the open market. (Not enough apparently)

But then my eye was caught by the workshop in action at the back of the Gallery and all my woes became forgotten. The fella in this pic is a student but I could have watched the lesson for hours.

With a farewell wave to the beautiful blue sky over the sights of London we headed back to the train to my Hilltop. Fortunately this time we only had to stand half of the two hour trip home.


  1. Sounds like you had a great day out after an inauspicious start!

  2. Great day out by the sound of it. I loved that exhibition at the FTM

    1. We really liked it to Gina, it was just a shame about the poor lighting.

  3. You are SO darned funny. I laughed at the girls view of the silent auction. The travel too and from doesn't sound much fun, but otherwise, it sounds like you had a great day out. And, I believe we call that Lion in a cage that's a tiger, a Liger!

  4. Thanks for [virtually] taking me with you to the galleries!