Last week was the exhibition that accompanies the Hand and Lock Prize for Embroidery, which is a seriously lavish celebration of embroidery talent. There are several categories to the prize, including Fashion and Textile, with Open and Student levels. Whether you love all the individual exhibition pieces or not, there is no denying that the Prize attracts a veritable cornucopia of talent and is the ultimate ‘up yours’ to anyone who doesn’t think embroidery can be art.Read More »
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It was always going to be a challenge to dislike to a book that starts with the sentence ‘I am assuming here, Dear Reader, that you are not naked’. It was also always going to be a challenge to dislike any book that promised an adventure through our textile past, present and future.
This year I happened across the opportunity for my first visit to Seoul, South Korea. For being one of the world’s biggest megacities, cities with a population over 10 million, Seoul has a lot of charm, from a little book library park in the middle of the city, to the rivers that divide it up. The food is excellent and chimaek (chicken and beer) is a genius idea and I would be very happy to see, along with the Japanese izakaya bar traditions exported all over the world. Preferably alongside fabric markets as mindboggling as Dongdaemun.
As well as the more intensive embroidery qualifications, the Royal School of Needlework (RSN) runs regular day classes as a way for people to try new techniques or get an insight into what it is like to study with one of the world’s most prestigious hand embroidery schools. Occasionally, the RSN teams up with other organisations to put on special classes on either different themes or different skills.
Recently, the RSN ran a series of classes at the Fashion Museum in Bath, with designs based on items on exhibition there. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Needlelace day class, stitching a small butterfly/dragonfly/questionable insect as inspired by a motif on an embroidered Elizabethan woman’s waistcoat.
The trip to London concluded to one of my favourite museums, the Victoria and Albert (V&A) museum. Whenever I’m in London, I always try and visit the V&A and I’ve still only seen a small fraction of the incredible collection they have.
Everything about the V&A is fabulous – the building, the exhibitions, the entire scale of the museum. If you can think of it, they probably have a collection on it. I’ve seen everything from a collection of locks and locking mechanisms, to armour for animals alongside more traditional pieces of art.
As it is a British national museum, entrance is absolutely free. You do have to pay to see the special exhibitions (tickets are around £15 for non-members) they have but that is it. They have an extensive gift shop and cafes if you want to support the work they do, which I would wholeheartedly encourage. There are few museums with collections as extensive and varied as the V&A’s.