Tapestries and Shoes at Croome

PICTURE HEAVY POST!

Last Sunday The Management and I had a day out. I started with a leisurely 10k run (in which I got my best time so far – if you are interested in my running progress check out my running blog here ), and then we went to a National Trust property called Croome. We had seen reports that they were holding an exhibition of tapestries by Grayson Perry and I really wanted to see them. As a bonus we discovered a small exhibition in the basement called ‘Soul to Sole’ which was just delightful.

Croome

Croome

I had read about Grayson Perrys tapestry series called ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’  and thought it would be interesting to be able to see them in detail, and also madness not to go when they were so local. I am not terribly familiar with his work, but I did see a post that Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial did a while back and I saw things that I really liked. I know not everyone would, but I do think that art should be challenging on occasion.There was a video presentation, and a display of his sketches inn the same room. I thought the sketches were well worth having – they gave an opportunity to see how they looked both small, and in a different medium.

The tapestries were all HUGE! Think back to the sort of tapestries you see in the traditional National Trust properties. I loved that he had brought fairly familiar themes up to date – and that you could spot things that were in everyday use, and also people you recognise (hello Jamie Oliver!, and I thought the ‘Madonna’ character looked very Colleen Rooney). I seem to have missed one tapestry in photos but I hope you get the idea from my, occasionally appalling, pictures. There are a couple of detail pictures just to show the texture, and also a ceramic vase that was included which I loved.

The exhibition is at Croome until September, and as there are more things we would like to do there I may be back again before these go away.

‘Soul to Sole’ is an art installation using shoes as a means of describing some of the ‘souls’ connected with Croome. Sadly my pictures don’t do it justice – I was tired, and also being hurried along by The Management. There is more information about some of the shoes on a blog set up by the resident artist here.

 

The Aristocracy would clearly have had a fairly ‘charmed’ life, not so the maids who the following shoes were attributed to – lists of tasks to be completed were embroidered(?) onto the shoe. The shoes on the right were depicting Hilda, a servant from the 1930’s, memories – I can’t imagine it would have been very much easier as a servant even then.

In 1942 a local airfield becomes RAF Defford which has strong links to the house today. The shoes below were inspired by Joan Gill, who was driver to RAF Deffords CO during world war 2, and the childhood memories of Michael McDonald who was the child of an RAF captain who remembers playing in the grounds as a boy. That must have been an idyllic childhood playground.

Sadly Croomes family fell on hard times and sold the estate in 1948. The house became a school for boys. I remember wearing sandshoes just like these as a child, and the shoe cubby holes were left from this era. It stayed a school until 1979 when it became a centre for Hare Krishna devotees – sorry about the picture quality. They didn’t stay too long, selling the house in 1984 to property developers, and the National Trust took control in 1996.

If you click on a shoe picture you should find more information.

I enjoyed the exhibition, as much for it being so unexpected as the shoes being so unusual. I have enjoyed looking up some of the people involved – particularly Eleanor Coade who is the 18th century  LADY who invented the artificial stone known as Coade stone. She must have been an amazing person to have achieved that at that time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

PJ’s for The Management

I have finally managed to finish the first PJ’s for The Management, the first of the fabrics I bought on the Birmingham meet. I’m very happy with the way they look, and I know that he liked the print so I hope he will like them too. They aren’t going to be ‘easy care’ as they are a pure cotton, but they should be cool to wear should the weather here get hot at night.

I got a selection of fabrics out from stash yesterday and ordered them into groups that would work together. Hopefully I will get going on things for myself very soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BP (or Before Pinterest)

Whilst I was sorting photographs after Christmas I found a batch from a visit we made to Hughenden, a National Trust house that was once lived in by Benjamin Disraeli, way back in September. It was a lovely place to visit but on the way round I found a copy of a scrap book made by Mrs Disraeli in which she plans her wardrobe. Clearly the idea that ladies in the public eye have to make a particular effort is not a new one!

Mrs Disraelis scrapbook

Mrs Disraelis scrapbook

Pictures had fabric scraps for reference

Pictures had fabric scraps for reference

Lots of pictures and notes

Lots of pictures and notes

This one please!

This one please!

 

Because this book was a copy I was able to spend quite some time looking through it. I enjoyed being able to read the notes (presumably copied from an original) which gave an insight on how it must have been to have lived then, and also to have been a person of note. Or at very least a person of notes wife.

I have just joined Pinterest and am intending to make much use of the facility this year. Just imagine how useful it would have been to Mary Anne Disraeli!

 


Jeanius at last!

Don’t ever let anyone say I can’t stick to a project. This one was started months ago. (In May – shocking huh?). But now I have finally finished my first pair of jeans from the Craftsy Jeanius course. And I like them! I am counting them as my 6th garment in the GAM Challenge and I know I have some catching up to do. About six weeks left to make another six garments – not terribly likely but I can try to make some, even if I can’t make them all.

I bought the course with the intention of copying a pair of Max Mara Weekend jeans that I wore loads last year but when I tried them on they didn’t look as good as my faithful Marks&Spencer Per Una everyday jeans.The Management said so so it must be true – he doesn’t often offer an opinion. The Craftsy method of providing video tuition that you can access whenever it suits you is good for me. I learn visually, so it helps that I can see someone actually demonstrating a process. As an experienced dressmaker the demonstrations (not just in this course) are sometimes a bit ‘fullsome’ but this will no doubt be of great help to a novice tackling the project for the first time. Again I came away with new toys (my pressing dept. has been expanded) and I am looking for another couple of things which Kenneth D King makes look indispensable – I will let you know how I get on.

 

Jeanius muslin front

Jeanius muslin front

Jeanius muslin side

Jeanius muslin side

Jeanius muslin back

Jeanius muslin back

The method he showed to get an accurate copy of your garment was really good – and in no way tied to jeans. I have already used this method to copy a clients jacket for her. Score. I even made a muslin after making the jeans pattern. I just forgot that the jeans were stretch denim and that calico doesn’t stretch. Did I mention how long I have been sewing?

Despite the lack of stretch I was able to get into these, and even fasten the zipper. I was fairly happy with the fit (giving some consideration to how it would translate into my stretch denim) so I went ahead and cut it out in some black which had matured sufficiently in the stash. I like it but don’t love it so wasn’t going to be broken-hearted if it didn’t live up to my hopes.

Jeans front

Jeans front

Jeans back

Jeans back

In the interest of learning I followed Mr Kings instructions precisely – except for the pocket which was different in my jeans – and ended up with a pair of jeans I am happy to wear. Changes on the next pair – use my method of installing the zipper which hides a bit further back in the fly front, use his pocket method as I think it may sit better than mine. Everything else worked well – I loved his method of working the waistband which makes a straight piece into a curve, and the pocket support.

I wore these all day yesterday and they are just like the original so I am very happy. Sadly black really doesn’t photograph well so you will have to take my word on the fit being pretty good. I already have the next fabric washed ready to cut out so I guess this has to be considered a success. I bought the course on sale so I am a very happy bunny! The course is on sale again at the moment – 34% off – if you are inspired. I don’t have any affiliation with Craftsy  – I am just a satisfied student.

On a totally different matter The Management and I had a day out at Dunham Massey (another National Trust property) recently and I saw this sculpture. Isn’t it just gorgeous?

Gorgeous wooden horse

Gorgeous wooden horse