Thursday, November 18, 2010


Last Friday to London, and first, a visit to the mothership, on the grounds that press reports speak of  a much increased haberdashery department.  And I actually need a 3mm circular.
I find Christmas in full swing, am amazed that classic blouses in Liberty prints now cost £85, and check out the construction of plaid skirts by Vivienne Westwood.  I buy only the 3mm circular and leave.

I am meeting my younger sister at the Foundling Museum, to visit the Threads of Feeling Exhibition, as suggested by Colleen from Rus in Urbis.  Two clear signs of ageing: I am delighted to find a leaflet at the railway station offering a two for one deal at the very museum I am visiting anyway, and taken aback when a younger woman offers me her seat on the train.

The exhibition is of tokens left with babies handed in at the orphanage, many of which are small fragments of textile: an embroidered baby sleeve, or a bunch of ribbons.  These are survivors of eighteenth century fabrics of the poorer kind and form a unique archive. 

Sadder and more shocking, though, are the accounts of how many infants were turned away, presumably to die in the streets.  Very moving, too, is the little display of contemporary items: a letter and a T-shirt, expressing the mother's love of the child she cannot keep.

A very civilised space, the Foundling Museum, with a good cafe.

We move on through Russell Square to visit the shop of Margot Selby where woven items make us drool.

A different kind of token: my husband's piece de resistance, dating from the early nineties. In the great storm of '87, an old apple tree in my garden was lost.  My husband helped me save some other, younger trees which had just blown over - we put guy ropes all round one, like a tent.  But this one had had it.  We saved the bole, which had a burr.

Some five years later, my husband had retreated to his workshop in late October.  He came in after dusk one day clutching his hand: copious amounts of blood were pouring from it and  continued to soak through bandages.   He had no choice but to defer work on this very special box. 

It is built on a plywood carcase, and is made of applewood veneer in oysters, hand-cut by my husband.  The darker stringing is mahogany and the lighter a pale exotic called ramin.  The colouring of the veneers is a lovely golden tortoiseshell.

Finally: knitting.  I plod on with the Aeolian Shawl.  the rows are now very long and there are many different charts, so I can only cope with this in daylight.  Meanwhile, it being the season, stealth projects are afoot.

1 comment:

colleen said...

Pleased that you made it to the Foundling Museum and the exhibition.