22 October 2014

Tuesday is drawing day (2 and 3)

Anticipating the start of the "drawing in museums" course today, I set aside the equivalent time on Tuesday mornings for the past couple of weeks and approached the task of drawing as a means of
- recording
- exploring
- experimenting
- communicating
... just about anything goes, it needn't be entirely observational ... which can make it hard to start!

The first week was "inky day" and I blogged about it here.

The second week was a continuation of the pen-and-ink theme. Some luggage labels had come my way, and over a couple of hours a handful received straight lines, applied with various pens.
Rotring art pen; Stabilo whiteboard marker; glass dip pen; bamboo pen
 My favourite marks -
Small and quick;  slow and deliberate;  quick, light, overlapping;  what happens with bamboo
 Least liked -
Tedious little circles;  energetic but chaotic;  horizontal=hard to control;  simply unsatisfying
 Also I tried a bit of piercing, not only on luggage labels...
Look what happens to the wodge of paper underneath!
... but also on other types of paper -
Inked paper folded and stitched by machine, without thread in the needle,
using an automatic embroidery pattern

Tissue paper folded and punctured with a dressmaker's wheel
The third week - today - was to be the first week of the five-week course, Drawing in Museums. But mere hours before the course was to start, yesterday evening in fact, came the email that due to low enrolment, the course had to be cancelled.

I had imagined being in a group that went to different galleries in the British Museum (nearest to the college) and at first thought I might go there anyway. But without someone else's schedule to follow, the whole city of museums was open to me ... where to go first?

My choice, the Wallace Collection, was influenced by needing to return something to John Lewis, and to do a little shoe shopping along the way... so it was after 11 before I reached the museum.

In the dim, quiet, carpeted corridor leading to the lecture theatre hang four wonderful cloths in a glass case. I sat down and got out my oil pastels and was working away quite happily when the place was invaded by a class of schoolchildren, being told to line up against the wall. I was a bit in their way. They were interested in what I (sitting on the carpet with back to wall)  was doing but I heartily wished they would hurry off to somewhere else ... which finally they did. Such are the perils of drawing in museums ...
Velvet applique and silk embroidery, with horizontal seams
The fabric was behind glass and about 2 metres away from my feeble eyes, so I did the best I could on a small scale with the garish colours, then had a good look with nose (and camera) pressed against the glass.
Views from far and near
The velvet is worn - indeed the background and floral decoration is very worn in places. At first I thought the red pile was woven in, confined to some areas, and on looking closer was surprised to see that is was applique, with decorative lines of parallel stitches.
Signs of wear
 And yet, it looked like the stitching had been done over the velvet, outlined with couched threads, at least in some areas -
Embroidery is more intact in this area
Information on this textile doesn't seem to be available online ... it's intriguing. I was originally drawn to the bird, invisible in the top of the first picture; the one in the photo above is a mirror image, much better preserved.

To escape the return of the schoolchildren I hurried to the nearby conservation gallery and got interested in how a boule casket was made, and the tools used to build, shape, and veneer it. The casket and tools were on a revolving display, which required quite a bit of patience to see properly ...
Spokeshave, gouges(?), gluepot, plane, clamps
Two hours of drawing passed quickly. You do it for your own pleasure and edification, but it really is so much nicer to be able to share the outcome of the session with others.

So ... I'd like to invite others (you?) to join me on one or another Tuesday, in one or other museum. Get in touch by adding a comment or via the contact form in the sidebar.

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