When I was twelve my Aunt Kay made me a corduroy jumper just like one I’d seen in my Seventeen magazine. I wasn’t surprised that she could sew, but I couldn’t believe that she did it without the help of a purchased pattern. It was like she was some kind of magician, like she had some special power because she could draft her own patterns. It made a big impression on me, and as I’ve grown older I’ve realized that knowing how to make things does give me a sense of power.
So I was excited to find this short Power of Making exhibition video at the Victoria and Albert website yesterday. The few minutes it took to watch was time well spent – less of an investment than a trip to London, anyway. One of the fellows in the video who was molding glass for some medical application said that some children who visited his shop thought they (the glass makers) must be poor because they made things with their hands. That says a lot about our times, doesn’t it? I thought the shoemaker had some interesting ideas. Then there was the lady who does crochet taxidermy and the charming flute maker. You should probably just take a look for yourself.
The London Design Festival begins in a couple of days with a number of special installations at the V&A, including that of the model shown above. You can read about and see actual photos of the Textile Field here. I wish I could visit it all in person. I made a short stop at the museum two years ago; I’d love to go back and spend more time there. I do wish they’d stop referring to themselves as the world’s greatest art and design museum though. My mother had a word for things like that – unbecoming. I wonder what Victoria and Albert would have thought about it. Perhaps they would have approved.