This weekend I was surprised to receive a phone call from the production team behind the ITV 2 TV programme 'The Only Way is Essex' (also known as TOWIE to its fans). The director was filming a scene in a local Newmarket women's clothes store, The Dressing Room, and asked to feature some of my headpieces. Look out for TOWIE regulars Billie and Lucy trying on some of my hat designs in Wednesday's episode (26 June 2013). Below are a few snaps taken from the day.
Last Monday I went to see Barocci 'Brilliance and Grace' at the National Gallery. I must admit that I had never heard of this painter before but the colours in the adverts for this show drew me in.
He was a sixteenth-century Italian artist much influenced by Raphael. He was a religious man and his work depicted this. He painted many gospel stories, his beautiful colour pallet giving them a warm appeal.
He and most of his work stayed in his home region of the Marches, Italy, on the altars for which they were made, so he did not get the recognition or the money he deserved.
I was fascinated by his rich use of colour and I loved the way he painted light; it really takes you to a different place.
I have never really taken much notice of religious altar paintings but you cannot ignore the beauty in this man's work.
It was a perfect Easter treat and if you appreciate brilliant drawings of which there are also many on show, and a love of colour, then see this show.
During the half term I took a trip to see the Light Show at
the Hayward Gallery with my 3 children. I thought this would be a show that
would interest them and we weren't disappointed. The Light Show had 25 completely different light artworks
and most of them could be interacted with. All used artificial light and
invited us to experience and explore our responses to the work.
The show opened with Leo Villareal's 'Cylinder II'. It is a
ring of beautiful LED lights which hand from rods. The intensity and speed of
the light changes form a ring of falling water. Anthony McCall's 'You and I, Horizontal' is a 'solid light'
installation. My children loved this as they walked through the endless beams
of light a bit like the light you see beeming down from a cinema. They were
totally fascinated at the effect the light had on their bodies, shining through
them. Conrad Shawcross's 'Slow Arc inside a Cube IV' plays on
moving light and shadows and his simple sculpture will make you feel very
dizzy. I left this room quite quickly!
I couldn't decide if Jenny Holzer's 'Spinning 35,000 words'
sculpture or Olafur Eliasson's 'Model for a Timeless Garden, 2011' was my
favourite. Two completely different works but both mesmerising. Eliasson used
strobe lights to illuminate flowing streams of water which appeared to look
like dancing ghosts.
My latest range of head pieces based on well-known fairy tales such as Cinderella and The Princess and the Pea are on show at the Cambridge Arts Salon until 17th January 2013. Why not stop by and take a look.
My good friend Jill bought me a fantastic book to read before the summer. I took this on my holiday and thoroughly enjoyed it. 'Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler' is a true story written by and about milliner Trudi Kanter.
It's a tale of a young and beautiful hat designer trying to keep her business afloat in Vienna whilst struggling against the beginnings of Hitler's oppressive regime, as Jewish people are humiliated and stripped of their dignity and finances. Her descriptions of fashion, trips to Paris and her designs are juxtaposed with the horrors of war. Trudi's collections reflected the new reality: she decided she would use more veiling to hide the sadness in women's eyes. She used her talents and position to attempt the escape of her family to start a new life in London.
Been away from my blog for a while- just busy busy sewing for the spring wedding and race season and when I'm not sewing I have been wrenching cloth samples from the jaws of my new dog Rosie.
I have been watching the brilliant progress of team GB from the comfort of my sofa but I braved the crowds in London this week to get to the outstanding new exhibition Metamorphosis at the National Gallery.
This is a unique collaboration between the National Gallery and The Royal Ballet combining the work of three contemporary artists, costumes and sets for three ballets all based on works by the Venetian artist Titian.
Chris Ofili, Conrad Shawcross and Mark Wallinger together with a group of choreographers, composers and poets have come together to create a response to three of the master's most famous works- Diana and Callisto, Diana and Actaeon and The Death of Actaeon, which were themselves based on Ovid's poem Metamorphosis. Each artists' work can be seen along side the paintings.
Chris Ofili response to Titian's work is perhaps the most traditional. He has created a series of large and colourful paintings, which concentrate on the master's curvaceous figures and echo the overtly sexual nature of the paintings, which comes through in Ofili's colour and shapes but he subverts the classicism of the originals by giving them distinctively Trinidadian backdrops.
Conrad Shawcross is a sculptor and produced a robot to represent Diana. In a glass case the robot can be seen moving seductively towards an antler it has carved.
The final piece by the conceptual artist Mark Wallinger was definitely the most unusual and uncomfortable. 'Diana is about watching and being caught in the act...' Wallinger explains, and he has created a locked room with tiny peepholes for you to view her if you dare. It's brilliant!
The exhibition also has a few costumes from the ballets and a wonderful series of films documenting the rehearsals for the performances.
I really enjoyed this show; I only wish I had seen the three ballets based on Titian's extraordinary and beautiful masterpieces.
"A hat is a flag, a shield, a bit of armour, and the badge of femininity. A hat is the difference between wearing clothes and wearing a costume; it's the difference between being dressed and being dressed up; it's the difference between looking adequate and looking your best. A hat is to be stylish in, to glow under, to flirt beneath, to make all others feel jealous over, and to make all men feel masculine about. A piece of magic is a hat". M. Sliter
"The hat is not for the street: it will never be democratized. But there are certain houses that one cannot enter without a hat. And one must always wear a hat when lunching with people whom one does not know well. One appears to one's best advantage." Coco Chanel
"When I am an old woman I shall wear purple, With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me. And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves, And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter." Jenny Joseph
"The hat I was married in, will it do? White, broad, fake flowers in a tiny array. It's old-fashioned, as stylish as a bedbug, but it suits to die in something nostalgic." Anne Sexton