Friday, 21 October 2016

Past, Present and Future



My present situation means that I have not been blogging lately.  Partly down to distractions in the past (ie, successfully finishing my degree) and partly as I was busy preparing for my future (studying for a higher one), something that is now my present.  It means visits to galleries and exhibitions have been severely limited.  I did manage a quick trip to Opus Anglicanum (V&A) but I'm hoping to return as it is an exhibition that needs more time.  I have also been to Bedlam at the Wellcome Collection which includes two interesting embroideries - again I hope to return so I will try and write something about both these exhibitions when I revist.

This week however, I did manage to get to an exhibition by my friend and fellow textile artist, Chris Spencer.  Chris is also thinking about the Past, Present and Future as that is the title of her exhibition.

Chris has put together a small retrospective and alongside pieces I knew, there were others that were new to me.  She is a talented felter and embroiderer.  It was good to see work made over the the last few years altogether.  It was also small enough for my mum to enjoy and made for a very pleasant afternoon.  We took our time and examined everything closely.

One set of work that was new to me was a set of six panels featuring the caps of the six wives of Henry VIII.  I have recently been re-reading Peter Acroyd's History of England, so I felt I knew the story of each queen reasonably well. This collection of panels illustrates how each queen was an individual with a different story to be told rather than just a set of wives.  Sadly their lives were often tragic but not all. The Tudor period is such a major part of English history.  The major repercussions of the need for Henry VIII to have a son or two (an heir and a spare), changed not just the lives of those involved but affected the lives of everyone.  Changing the church affected even the lowest of the people at that time. 

I also enjoyed revisiting Chris' 18th century work that relates to her research at Rainham Hall, and her bird pictures, which I had missed when Material Girls exhibited at the RSPB reserve at Rainham Marshes.  The sea, sea life and woodlands are also strong themes in this exhibition.  

Chris' work is on display at Gallery 50, Craft Arena, in Billericay Barleylands (craft village), Essex and continues until the 30 October 2016.  Based in a gallery within a craft store, a visit can be combined with a bit of retail therapy - what's not to like!

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