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 »
I’ve ventured far out of my way to visit craft shops before, some of which were rather off the beaten track, but I’m not sure any have proved quite as impossible to get to Zürcher Stadler. This isn’t so much because it is in the middle of nowhere, or because the sat-nav can’t find it, but because the road network leading to the place has a strategically placed no entry sign that seems to make it impossible to enter the estate where the shop is. I won’t say how we overcame that particular obstacle but plan your visit and route in advanced.
It’s very easy to feel that you’re in the middle of nowhere in Switzerland. Even Geneva, which is the second most populated city in Switzerland, has a population of less than two hundred thousand. The five biggest cities represent 40 % of the total population, making it relatively easy to ‘escape to the countryside’ where there are some excellent hidden gems of craft shops.
I’ve blogged before about how a country’s textile history often shaped its social and cultural history, as well as infrastructure and landscape, and Switzerland is no exception to that. While perhaps most famous for the St. Gallen embroideries and lace (and you can see some fantastic examples of that at the local textile museum), Switzerland also has a rich history of silk and cotton production and even passementerie, particularly in the Basel region.
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.
Sorry again for the slightly sporadic posting… It’s not that there haven’t been lots of things to say, I’ve still been finding a bit of time to squeeze into a few projects, but finding enough of a pause to sit down and write something sufficiently composed that it wouldn’t sound like fevered gibberish or a laundry list of swear words has been slightly more difficult.
Sometimes simplicity is best. After my last batch of dyeing, I’ve been trying to work through various colours to create a ‘palette’ to be able to spin from. The nice thing about dyeing top for spinning rather than dyeing a skein of wool directly is that this still leaves a huge number of possibilities for colour blending and mixing at different stages of the process.