My spirits have soared more than once in these last ten days. The FTM held a press breakfast to introduce us to the coming show of Artist Textiles, an exhibition drawn from the glorious collection of its curators – Richard Chamberlain and Geoff Rayner of the Target Gallery.
Including works by Chagall, Dufy, Dali, Matisse, Warhol, Hepworth and Piper the exhibition “allows a remarkable glimpse of how ordinary people were once able to directly engage in a personal and intimate way with high modern art” through textile for their homes and everyday clothes – fine art by the yard!
Among the many wonders they showed us was a cotton scarf by Picasso, top, the design given by him to the World Festival of Youth 1951; it is a masterful feast of colour and drawing. And swift as a dart it shows the power and beauty of fabric as art, message, joy, a unifier, a democratiser. My heart beat faster, I could hardly take my eyes from it – and there’ll be so much more in January.
More colour high-jinksed at Michael Ruh‘s studio one afternoon. As I mentioned in my last blog we have a collaboration planned, and a visit for what I thought would be a quick jabber turned into a couple of hours of extraordinary fun and exploration, at least for me. Suddenly a torch was lit and tantalising little brittle knitting needles of glass became melting lines and dots of colour to be drawn and gathered onto the molten glass into which Michael was blowing life.
It is thrilling to see the colour held in this solid but ambiguous dimension. The result – really a first experiment – augurs well, and I’m so looking forward to the next steps – and the open evening on the 22nd November.
The National Theatre, which hosted our 50 years show in 2011, is now celebrating its own half century; to this end a series of conversations with players and directors is being held in which the same ten questions concerning their NT experiences are asked – ‘National Histories’. This Monday evening Charlie Kay and Fiona Shaw were in discussion with Dan Rebellato.
Her sparky brilliance and his gracefully measured delivery got to the heart of the matter and gave us fine reminiscences, descriptions, insights into their theatrical and dramatic lives. Fiona’s rationale of the irrational core of theatre was a delight. Charlie’s recall of the Japanese production of Medea was spell-binding: I could see the visual drama unfold as he spoke.
In my studio the fabrics chosen for My Nature were ironed and labelled, the paintings spruced up and annotated, leaving me with a satisfied sense of achievement as they were collected and went on their way to Kingsgate Gallery – another event to look forward to. The exhibition runs from the 9th and I’ll be contributing to the symposium on the16th of November.
The trees outside my windows are turning with the season; occasional parades of sweepers and blowers patrol the pavements trying to discipline the million falling leaves, the countless fruit and nut cases. The order for the allotment seeds has been placed and the sprout buttons are plumping up nicely.
I’m soon to set off on my travels; before I leave a new commission for cards has been completed and delivered, my calendar is complete and prepared for the printer and fresh plans have begun for workshops, talks and visits in the coming year – a lot of exciting ends and beginnings.
I’m eager to see my colleagues at WestElm in New York and what they’ve been making of the work I send them – I see intriguing little glimpses of rugs, dishes, cushions, beds. And their London store, bang in between Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia, will soon be opening – on December 5th they say – just in time to buy the Christmas turkey!