Friday, 7 January 2011

V&A- East meets West

The Victoria and Albert Museum
East meets West

The lecture was a good introduction to the collection at the V&A. Learning about the context of the exhibition and what was happening in the textiles industry at the time the items were produced really helped to set the scene and helped me to understand the significance of the items.

I found that the collection illustrated well, the production of garments and fabrics world wide at the time, and by the end of seeing the collection I was surprised at my ability to be able to tell where the pieces where made and who they may have been made for.

What I found most fascinating was not seeing the most expensive and most sort after fabrics, but seeing how people in their desire to have the latest  trends in fashion or interior design, would recreate the trends themselves.  They used what ever materials they could afford and spent, maybe months recreating these fabrics to use in their homes. There was one piece of bedding which illustrated this very well. When a certain design was popular in China, the very wealthy in Britain could afford to buy these pieces. However in this example someone in Britain had recreated the bedding using affordable British thread which was a lot thicker than the fine thread used in the Chinese designs. The outcome was bedding with the same design as the expensive Chinese bedding but with a very different overall look. It was amazing to see how much work someone would put into something, just to have the latest trends. 

Another piece in the exhibition, which I found fascinating was a casket made by Martha Edlin. The intricatly  embroidered casket was mde from pearls, silk and metal threads. The reason I was so drawn to it was that Martha Edlin was just 11 years old when she made the Casket. Her needlework is incredibly skillful for someone of 11 years of age.

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