This week was my last chance to catch two highly recommended showcases: the rebozo exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum and the Cornershop, a felt extravaganza around the corner from Columbia Road flower market. I chose to visit both on the wettest day of the week thus far, but I was so glad I did.
For the uninitiated, this is what you’ll see as you approach the Fashion and Textile Museum:
It was especially lovely to see the blaze of orange and pink on such a wet day – and there was much more to come! Here are some of my favourite photos from the exhibition; it is always a pleasure to visit the FTM because they allow you to take photos (albeit without flash) – and very few of the displays are behind glass. It is so important to get up close to textile exhibits to fully appreciate the hard work and vision involved in their creation. Needless to say, there is an air of appreciation and respect from the patrons in this regard; that, and the fact that it is a small museum run almost entirely by volunteers, makes it an intimate space and all the more unique. But enough talking – more visuals:
All but the last two photos in this group show fairly traditional rebozos; I especially liked these ones for their subtlety and embroidery work. The textiles are under low light but you can clearly see the work in the cream and raspberry-coloured rebozos above. I almost wish I could’ve adjusted them to photograph them flat, but no matter – they are incredibly beautiful and I love the traditional figures on the cream (centre). So inspiring!
The two photographs on the left show examples of the rebozo used in contemporary art. Above is a detail from a very cute applique, and you *must* zoom into the painting on the orange background. The shadows make it obvious, but the effect of the 3D painting techniques, coupled with the fact that the rebozo has actually been mounted onto the artwork, is spectacular. This is why I love mixed media artwork! Another, more extreme rebozo was this knitted and crocheted one on the right. I guess knit and crochet had to be in there somewhere, but around the corner, in the more fashion-oriented section of the exhibition, lay an intarsia design by a very familiar name!
The penultimate story featured interpretations of the rebozo by fashion designers:
From left to right: Carmen Rion, Kaffe Fassett (who else), Wallace Sewell and Zandra Rhodes (well, it is her museum after all!). But for all this colour, it was actually a series of black and white photographs in the lower gallery that got to me. Aside from the blazing colour, enterprise and creativity of the rebozo, it is fundamentally a practical garment. Its use, representation and function in society has been traced back to several ancient civilisations of Mexico. These four photos (apologies for the low light) capture part of that:
Next stop was the Cornershop, Lucy Sparrow’s felt extravaganza. I’m just going to let the photographs speak for themselves! But before the next assault of colour, a reminder of how wet it was outside:
Truly spectacular! In the last photograph you can see how much the goods cost to buy. Behind the till were large empty jars of penny sweets. If the woman in front of me was anything to go by, I think they sold out first. She asked for a bag of penny sweets as a souvenir. As you do. Photographs are easier to share though 😉