Posts by Sara

Hand-printing for a quilt: textiles and prints

Posted by on Jan 31, 2019 in Discussion | 0 comments

Patchwork and Quilting with Tracey Fernandes I was using a variety of materials printed at West Dean and with Tracey – they were experimental prints. I did not print them with the other materials in mind. When I first put them together I thought that showed – so different from a conventional quilt and I was rather concerned – after all this is something to be used at home.  I am warming to them now – the different rows  can work together with calico in between. ...

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How to avoid the Uffizi queues

Posted by on Jan 2, 2019 in Discussion, News | 0 comments

In spite of reading all about The Uffizi queues and considering booking online before I left the UK – I decided that it would be better to wait until we arrived before doing so. After all we were here for a longer break – and I thought I would have space to book ahead.  This was a big mistake – once we were here there were no spaces for pre-booking until several days after we had left, even though we had 4-5 days notice. Still, we thought, we can get up early and go. We arrived at the Uffizi at 8am for an 815 opening and there was already a long queue snaking across the courtyard and into the corridor under the gallery on the opposite side of the square.  Then we thought it might move fast – it did not. At first we were fooled as the queue moved quite quickly – then it stopped tantalisingly close to the entrance for about one hour.  It seems there is an absolute limit to the numbers allowed in at any one time and of course, those with timed bookings or in groups (some of which may be 50 people or more) take priority. We actually got in at 1045 by which time we were very cold, and exhausted. We rushed straight for the canteen (on the top floor) and enjoyed the view with coffees and light snacks. Not cheap but fantastically reviving and we could sit there as long as we liked.  After that we had the marvels of the museum to enjoy. It was worth the wait – the Botticellis alone are worth the entrance fee and the long wait. They are simply stunning particularly, of course, ‘The Birth of Venus,’ and ‘Primavera.’  More tomorrow.  As this was primarily to warn people about the queues (so you do not make the same mistake as we did) – here is what we have learned.  BOOK AHEAD, BOOK AHEAD, BOOK AHEAD 1- book before you leave home at the Uffizi gallery site – it is not the first site that comes up, others are tour companies.  2 – if you can’t or don’t book ahead,  go the queue on the day where you can book ahead (we did not find this but were told it later, probably door 3) e.g. go there at 08.30 and book for 11.30 (there will be a 4 euro booking fee but that is nothing). 3 – you could consider a tour – these are expensive but you do get in earlier than the queue-on-the-day crowd.  4 – take some refreshments if you are going to queue on the day – it will be a long wait – you won’t be able to take anything left  into the museum but you will have plenty of time to finish whatever you have.  5 – in the summer have some sun protection Have a wonderful time once you are inside – remember to look out the windows of the gallery – there are lovely views up and down the river and of the Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio. ...

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Textiles and prints inspired by Florence

Posted by on Jan 1, 2019 in Discussion | 0 comments

Happy New Year from beautiful,  renewing Florence We have visited Florence for the New Year. It took one or two days to get adjusted and to really begin to feel at home. Walking in the narrow space between the high buildings feels enclosed and even though it is cold and clear and between Christmas and New Year it is still crowded. So crowded that we could not book for The Uffizi on-line at all until after we had left. We will have to get up early to go and risk the queue. The crowds are good-natured and there is room to breathe; most are Italians and I’m sure relieved to have a bit more of their city back over the New Year.    Father Bernardo, of the Benedictines, was talking to a sizeable crowd outside San Miniato al Monte today. This is the gem-like church visible from the heart of Florence on the hill opposite Santa Croce. His presentation was advertised as a chance to hear about the  church and was clearly aimed at locals. He spoke for at least an hour (we did not say throughout) – very animated, telling jokes, using extravagant hand gestures. It clearly hit the mark as the crowd stayed engaged – clapping and laughing and responding to the music of his voice.  We have seen some wonderful places – the Brancacci Chapel dominated by the wonderful frescoes of Masaccio, Masolino and Fr Filippo Lippi.  I had no idea that Masaccio had died aged only 27 years during a trip to Rome. Sadly some of his work was destroyed during renovations in earlier centuries and a tomb obscures some of the frescoes. It is hard to understand how such vibrant, powerful images could ever be ‘out of fashion’ and so disposable.  There was a Sunday market in the Piazza Santo Spirito a few streets away where you could buy beautifully bound books, bronze animals, door knockers, door stops all forged by the stall holder. Then time for a lovely meal at Osteria Santo Spirito.  They serve ‘reduced portions’ of many of their dishes and that is plenty. ...

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Textiles at the Oceania Exhibition – Royal academy

Posted by on Oct 14, 2018 in Clients, Discussion | 0 comments

  The Oceania exhibition brings together the greatest collection of art from the island cultures dotted across the Pacific Ocean, Micronesia, Polynesia and  Melanesia. The Pacific occupies a huge area,  over a third of the earth’s surface. It includes Hawaii, New Zealand and New Guinea. The exhibition is hugely affecting with strong, graphic statues and carvings – their influence on Western 20th century artists like Picasso and Henry Moore are clear to see.  Most of the artworks were traded rather than stolen stemming from a culture of gift giving amongst the Pacific peoples who would give to visitors they wished to continue to trade with. The fantastic artistry and craft skills of some of the gifts – like barkcloth – were not fully appreciated by some recipients like Captain Cook.  Barkcloth (or tapa cloth) is made by hammering wet bark on an anvil repeatedly until it forms very thin sheets – it is often mistaken for paper and (apparently) has a soft, pliant feel. In the Pacific the bark used comes from the breadfruit or mulberry tree. The cloth is then decorated by being dyed in intricate geometric patterns. In the Oceania exhibition the pieces displayed reminded me of patchwork quilts. Originally they were used as wall hangings and were part of the important  ceremonies around births, deaths and marriages.   The barkcloth is simply stunning – although (of course) you cannot touch it you sense that it is soft and pliable, delicate yet strong. I’m going back to the exhibition and will take a better picture next time....

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Textiles – the dangers to us all of textile misuse

Posted by on Oct 8, 2018 in Discussion | 0 comments

Textiles – the dangers to us all of textile misuse

Fewer clothes and re-use and repair Good to see Stacey Dooley’s  reminder of how much damage to the planet we are doing in our failure to use textiles responsibly. She also demonstrates the problems that making lovely, fresh cotton does to the planet. I don’t know about you but I always thought of cotton as an organic, natural product. Of course it is a plant but it takes so much water and so many toxic chemicals to process cotton that we cannot go on as we are.  We need to go back to making quilts from the original components – scraps and remnants of clothes or reusing good areas of partly worn clothes, instead of generating new cotton that we then cut up to make new pieces of material.  There are manufacturers – like Patagonia – which make a huge effort to manufacture responsibly. Of course their clothes are more expensive but they do last longer so requiring less use of raw materials and environmentally sustainable.  This was the original aim of OLSA to use textiles more sustainably and we’re about to revamp our website to show more of our use of material that would otherwise go to landfill. Perfectly good material that would otherwise go to landfill. ...

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