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Thursday, 30 August 2012

A great summer read 'Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler' by Trudi Kanter

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.

A great read and an inspirational woman to all!

Friday, 3 August 2012


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.