I don’t remember how I stumbled upon the existing of the Japan House in Kensington, London, but I am very glad I did. Apparently it is supposed to be ‘presenting the very best of Japanese art, design, gastronomy, innovation, and technology’ to deepen our appreciation of what Japan has to offer. It’s a really interesting and honestly incredibly persuasive initiative from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, especially when they put on some incredible textile exhibitions which you can enjoy for free.Read More »
Lyon, to me, is one of the gems of France. It is deservedly famous for the local cuisine, the beauty of the preserved old city, now a UNESCO world heritage site and, even better, for being the historical and modern home of some of the most beautiful silk weaving ever to grace this earth.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston boasts a collection that covers every continent, spanning over nearly three thousand years. It’s an impressive feat for a museum that only covers three floors yet still manages to cover every discipline in the fine arts.
The MFA also do free entry on some Fridays as part of the ‘Free Fun Friday’ program, which means you have no excuse for not popping in for a quick visit. Whereas the Victoria and Albert museum might take you several lifetimes to see all of it, you can see all of the MFA in a few hours so it really is a breakneck speed tour through civilisation.
The National Trust (or the National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty if you’re feeling particular) is an organisation dedicated to the conservation of ‘lands and tenements of beauty and historic interest.’ Many of the iconic English country houses are maintained by them and even a few bits of the British coastline.
As a child, I spent many hours being carted off to various National Trust properties, usually with a fabulous picnic in tow. I remember this fondly but I have no idea if younger me was nearly so appreciative of quite how fantastic some of the architecture and history I was seeing was.
As an adult, the picnics mostly consist of handing over my life savings at the National Trust’s café, missing my grandparents’ ability to identify the maker and date of every piece of ceramic, but feeling very appreciative that someone has kept these snapshots of history alive. They also include an inordinate amount of time staring at textiles and grilling the poor volunteer stewards for as much information as I can glean from them.
Newark Park is located in Gloucestershire, close to Wotton-under-Edge and for a house with a reputation for being dank and cold, has some very interesting fabrics and materials in it.