Our Fashion and Textile Museum Adventure

Now you may have noticed that we both have a bit of a thing about fabric and pattern!  So it will come as no surprise that when we found out their was an Artists Textiles exhibition on at the Fashion & Textile Museum in London, we hot-footed it up there.

For those who have never heard of it, it's a small museum around the corner from London Bridge Station (near Borough Market too for an added foodie bonus) and let's just quote the website here: 

"The Fashion and Textile Museum is a cutting edge centre for contemporary fashion, textiles and jewellery in London. Founded by iconic British designer Zandra Rhodes, the centre showcases a programme of changing exhibitions exploring elements of fashion, textile and jewellery as well as the Academy which runs courses for creative students and businesses.

Situated in the heart of fashionable Bermondsey Village, in a fantastic building designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, the FTM aims not just to display and collect items relating to fashion, jewellery and textile design, but to offer inspiration to a new generation of creatives. Now redeveloped and operated by Newham College, the museum is a hub of learning, ideas and networking for the fashion and jewellery industry."

Just about sums it up really.

The Museum as you can see is a paying museum, but with a National Art Pass you can always get a bit extra off the ticket price, so if you are a museum lover, it might be worth buying a card.

Anyway, H has been before to a Sanderson Exhibition a few years back and so it was a great excuse to go back and see what treats were in store this time.  The Artist Textiles exhibition (to once again quote the website) "traces the history of 20th century art in textiles. Highlights include work by Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalí, Sonia Delaunay, Raoul Dufy, Barbara Hepworth, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, Ben Nicholson and Andy Warhol.

The exhibition features examples of key European and American art movements: Fauvism, Cubism, Constructivism, Abstraction, Surrealism and Pop Art; as well as the work of leading fashion designers and manufacturers. Artist Textiles shows how ordinary people were once able to engage with modern art in a personal and intimate way through their clothing and home furnishings. With over 200 rare pieces, many of which have not been on public display before."

When we walked in, we walked through a small room and a corridor which started us on our journey to learning about Sonia Delaunay and Salvador Dali pieces, to name but a few.  One thing that struck me was that there was so much crossover between artists and designers in the 20th century, which seems to have been separated in recent years, but I really feel that we are starting to go back to that way of working, to Artists being fashion designers, architects planning exhibitions and designers making art.

The main exhibition room itself is two floors and this is where we started to see mannequins with dresses on and large pieces on the walls covering artists such as Picasso, Andy Warhol and of course Zandra Rhodes herself.  It was lovely to see items made up with the fabrics and the fabric pieces themselves, some of the lighting could have been a bit better for them to be shown in their best light, but it is difficult to get light on everything.  Of course there is the added concerns of fading fabrics also, so that may have been why.

These fabrics above were definitely cute and quirky and have the very 60's appeal.  Clothes are starting to get this treatment again with big bold prints being showcased more and more on the high street.

Overall, the Artists Textiles exhibition was very interesting and for fabric lovers it was a feast for the eyes.  I think for someone who didn't know much about the artists themselves it would have been difficult to pick up on what the artists were famous for outside of these pieces.  This exhibition was geared more for those who already know artists and what they are known for.  It is hard to half every little piece of information on display, but I think for the fanatic there could have been more in depth knowledge gained and for the novice it was pitched too high.

It did inspire me to go home and draw some patterns and look at all my 50's and 60's pattern books again.  I love the era and it reminded me why I love it.

The exhibition is open until Saturday 17th May and so you still have chance to go and see it.  If you do go, let us know what you think?  Or if you have been to see anything else like this, let us know in the comments below so we can check it out.