Thursday, January 03, 2008

V&A

A belated trip report: One of our favorite stops in London is the V&A. It's sort of perfectly Victorian. They have everything, and there's lots of it. We looked at locks and keys and iron grillwork. Unfortunately, the textiles section was closed. We don't go in for paying for special exhibits. (If you need us to pay, make us pay for the whole museum, or don't lodge the show. And I hate crowds.) So we missed the special couture show, but the dude knows I like to see fabric so we saw the regular fashion collection (and Princess Di's dress of pearls she wore in Hong Kong, a recent acquisition).

Then we popped into the gift shop where you could buy nothing for 4lbs (why don't we have the curlicue L on our keyboards?) "for the person who has everything." Right, eight bucks for packaging.

Prominently displayed in a glass case in the shop was a cross-stitch featuring forest animals over the words "Get Your Freak On," framed, for--get this--1175GB. I'll do the rough translation for you: $2350. We're that clever--and we stitch on linen. Get to it people.

The dude, convinced that picking pockets with your craft is easy, told me I should get in on this. "It's not even really subversive," I complained. So what is? Really, it's all in the context. So it's only subversive if you believe that stitchers aren't. Or weren't (please read The Subversive Stitch so we can get over the new craft revolution being particularly new and particularly revolutionary. You're just showing your lack of education.) I think I'm going to do a cross-stitch that says "It's not as subversive as you like to think." I just need to come up with a picture to go with it...

Edit: D'oh! I've already written about Westerholtz. And I've also written about buying expensive needlework. Have I reached the end of the internet?

10 comments:

Kim said...

I love the V&A, it's nice to see them getting a shoutout. I saw the fashion collection during my last visit (2 years ago). My favorite os the medieval england exhibit, they have some nice stitched things and the interactive screens to tell you what you're looking at. Back before the pound reached $2, the V&A giftshop was a good place to pick up Hertiage Stitchcraft kits with English themes.

Do you know who the artist/designer/whatever was for "get your freak on"? I've seen it before but can't remember where. I'm with you on the subversive cross stitch thing, I just think it's weird/rude. Really, who'd want to hang that in their house?

jo said...

Ah, Kate Westerholt did Get Your Freak On - you can read about her here:

http://www.crossstitchermagazine.co.uk/page/crossstitch?entry=kate_westerholt_interview

Kathryn said...

Ah, Kate Westerholt, the new media darling. The media does want to put a face on anything weird that they can call "hot". At least what she does is much more understandable than most of the modern art in Art in America. I read it, but I don't know whether to laugh or cry. See Wolfgang Laib

http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/exhibition/188

Redwitch said...

How much?!? Mental. I can be subversive for much less than that...

Love the V&A tho'

Kendra said...

To get a £, hold ALT and type 156 My apologies if you already knew this.

$2350...I'd glady sell any of my stitching for that price. :-)

Adrienne said...

A subversive picture? Bunnies and duckies? Tampons? Jungle creatures? Margaret Thatcher?

C in DC said...

Love, love, love the V&A. So does P. We also enjoy going to the creperie just across the street for lunch. Yum.

In response to Kim, I have to say while I like the patterns of the Heritage Stitchkits, I find the included materials dreadful. I've had the floss pull apart and the Aida do weird things. Now when I stitch them, I substitute materials from my stash.

Anna van Schurman said...

Kendra, I did not know that.

Adrienne, I'm writing to those British magazines and getting them to do a "celebrity cross stitch" of old Mags. It may or may not be subversive, but I just like to think of the Iron Maiden done up in such a feminine craft.

Adrienne said...

That would be awesome. Oddly, I can't think of another British politician who is equally deserving.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, the reason Ms Westerholt and other artists at the V&A and any gallery charge so much is because the industry standard is to take at least 50% of their earnings. Minus framing and materials and given they take about a month to make (I've been told) and that doesn't leave the artists with very much. Also I've never heard her call herself a feminist or "subversive"; I think those are convenient media terms for her.
In case you're wondering I am a buyer of hers, so maybe that makes me biased, but I'm pretty pleased with my purchase. I know how to cross stitch but really couldn't be arsed to spend the time she does doing it and it seems a labour of love to me.