Morris & Co: an outing

Friday, July 19, 2013

This month, the EEWI ladies made their way to Walthamstow for a little gallery outing. It's our monthly "coffee morning" which usually takes place in an East End coffee shop. This month was different. We were heading William Morris-wards; tea-time, pimpernel and glorious gardens awaited.

The gardens were just lovely. The sun was out, the flowers were looking fabulous, and we took tea on the balcony overlooking the garden where we discussed London buses, bags, patchwork, credit cards, bees and birthdays.

The inside of the gallery was appealing, but the outside. Oh, the outside! I could spend days in this garden. If it wasn't so hot, I daresay I would have happily taken my shoes off and worked in the sun instead of heading back to the office.

We wandered around the gardens with my gardening curiosity (and complete ignorance) echoing phrases like "and what's that?" and "what do you call this?". Of course I've forgotten almost everything, except for the distinctive Miss Willmott's Ghost, which I have since learnt is named after a 19th-century gardener who liked to seed-bomb gardens with her favourite plant when visiting. 

A pity I didn't get any of those on camera, but I've seen them before and I'm certain they'd be readily located if I put on my gardening hat and went outside.

There was plenty of inspirational and colourful eye-candy, destined to make its way to the tips of my watercolour brushes. But for now, while the sun's still out, I think I'll go in search of other lovely gardens.  

This weekend is set to be a scorcher, with temperatures increasing steadily up to 32'C. In London! In London!

We also managed to squeeze in a look around the Art of Embroidery exhibition where Nicola Jarvis was exhibiting her hand-embroidery alongside excerpts from May Morris's work and diary. Look at this planning detail! It looks as chaotic and messy and full of ideas as a leaf out of my sketchbook. 

I really enjoyed the way that Nicola Jarvis repeated the same imagery time and time again, and looked closely at the idea of medium; she painted stitches, stitched painting, and printed embroidery. She appliqued in silk and beaded details. She produced hand-sketches that were more akin to May Morris's work than to something out of this era. It was a lovely little exhibition, and I left full of ideas and confirmation. 

This was my absolute favourite item in the exhibition. A page out of May Morris's notebook with her lovely erratic handwriting. "Design:" the notebook page informs us. "Not to be afraid of trying."

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  1. Wow...thank you for those pics...inspiring. xx
    Jenny of Elefantz


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