This weekend was my mother’s birthday so we went up to Nottingham for an overnight trip. While we were there mum suggested that she would like to go to an exhibition at the Castle – the Robin Hood cash-in souvenir-drenched Castle. I really wanted an Alan Rickman style Sheriff of Nottingham handpuppet, and if I could have thought of a way to work it into a lecture, I would have bought one. But I digress.
The exhibition was on Chinese silk, and was a collaboration with the China National Silk Museum, Hangzhou. I don’t think it is a travelling exhibition, so a trip to Nottingham will be necessary to see it. It’s on until the 16 September 2012, though, so plenty of time. There were two other really interesting exhibitions on with it. One was a show of Chinese silk from the museum’s collection curated by the museum’s Young Art Collective, and a staircase exhibition called ‘The Styling Project 2’ which was a series of stunning photos of fashion and textile ‘concepts’ inspired by the show done by students from Nottingham Trent University School of Art and Design. These were very witty and made me smile which is a great way to approach the show.
I am not particularly inspired by Chinese artefacts for some reason, but this was a really lovely show, Living in Silk: Chinese Textiles Through 5000 Years. Quite simply, it had some gorgeous things. Some exquisite lengths of woven silk, some stunning embroidered robes, interesting pieces of very old fabrics, which reminded me a lot of the trend for distressing fabric and making it look like ancient fragments that you can see in most reasonably sized contemporary textile shows. It had a gorgeous ‘rooster’ cushion, which I thought I might be able to reproduce. I can’t find a photograph of it, but here’s my quick sketch:
The original was quite large and I thought it might be scaled down to make an ‘object’. Lovely shape, though.
I am not a connoisseur, so I don’t have that much to report, except that it was a nice thing to go to, and very imaginatively curated with great supporting activities. Nottingham Castle Museum seems to have a policy of supporting textile exhibitions, possibly because of the city’s long association with the lace and hosiery and lingerie industries. They are always quite small so you can get round in under an hour without being exhausted. There is a very nice cafe and bookshop. And you get in free with an Art Fund card. Highly recommended.