London. Two weeks. I probably need say no more 🙂 for you to know it was both inspirational and ton-o-fun.
I looked at a LOT of art, visited beautiful gardens, walked and walked (including 84 steps to our room), and ate an amazing amount of very good food plus my fair share of perry – a.k.a. pear cider.
London has embraced the farm-to-table, urban farming, and artisan food concepts. They are working hard to educate Londoners about the value of rural England, including bringing
fiber on the hoof to the city.
We spent a lot of time noshing our way through Borough Market (opening photo) and the Real Food Festival,
and enjoyed the heirloom apple tasting at the Royal Horticultural Society’s autumn show.
Twenty-one tube stations, one boat ride, one train ride, and several bus trips took us to visit old favorites and new discoveries. The two artists who spoke most directly to me are highlighted below.
First up at the Tate Modern was an exhibit of the work of Mira Schendl. Do take the time to click the link to see an example of her work. You will see why I bought the exhibit catalog as she worked a fruitful vein of inspiration frequently utilizing rice paper and many kinds of lettering.
Second, I very much enjoyed the work of Marisa Merz, who works in many media including fiber and wax, at the Serpentine Gallery. Since we were in the neighborhood, we walked over and stood in line for the opening exhibit of the new Serpentine Sackler Gallery (shown in detail above) designed by Saha Hadid. The building has taken a bit of a beating in the press, but the interior of the portion shown is like standing inside funnels of light – amazing.
A little more on the fiber side of things were a series of willow sculptures based on fungi by Tom Hare at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Also at Kew Gardens was this whimsical Tea Party installation by Kirsti Davies
with bone china highlighting all the edible plants of a British tea party.
Since I’m an “oh, shiny things” kind of person, we stopped by this little shed at Greenwich (where we had gone to see the Astronomy Photographs of the Year) when I saw something gold and a person working away. The very kind Nigel Woodford, Specialist Conservator, was working on restoring 18th century Old Royal Navel College lanterns (huge!) and
even gold leafed my thumbnail in 14 carat gold as a demo.
For my geeky birthday, I chose to visit Blectchley Park, the headquarters of codebreaking during WWII. The reconstructed “bombe” was amazing, but most inspirational was finding that the thousands of young women (75% of the people at Bletchley were women) who worked rotating shifts for up to six years are finally receiving some recognition. No one broke the silence about Bletchley until 1974!