Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The picture, in case you're wondering, is of a lifesize crochet-dermy brown bear, for those occasions when taxidermy isn't an option. (Perhaps a convention of vegetarian Natural History Museum curators? Or a Save the Grizzly fundraiser? Well, let's hope it comes in handy sometime because somebody has devoted hours of their life to making this.)
I'm certainly not the V&A's target audience for its Power of Making exhibition - I don't knit, sew, crochet, quilt, make wickerwork coffins or unwearable ballgowns out of dressmaker's pins, and nor have I the slightest desire to learn. But I'd arrived far too early for last night's talk on Dickens by Claire Tomalin, and so I drifted in ...
And there were some ingenious things there, like the crochet snowflake that turned out to be a surgical implant for replacing lost tissue.
But in an exhibition that was like a Crafts Council end-of-season rummage sale, unfortunately there was all the rest of it ... the handmade lace G-string, made by lacemakers who make altar cloths for the Pope; the spun-sugar tiger, with ferocious teeth and claws, made by a pastry chef in the V&A cafe; the incredibly realistic and incredibly ugly marzipan baby; not forgetting the gorilla made out of wire coat-hangers and the Brobdingnagian Aran rug, made on giant needles from the wool of 18 sheep.
It made me wonder about all those clever people, and their extraordinary skills ... and the hours and hours expended on making such a complete load of old rubbish.
Still, the devil makes work for idle hands ...

10 comments:

Sue said...

You really made me laugh Mary. I was just thinking 'what's wrong with making a blanket?'

mary said...

Well, you should have seen it, Sue! And it was such a mishmash of different things that I'm afraid I took away a much more vivid impression of the truly appalling than the occasional lovely one.
I was much more taken by the Private Eye exhibition ... now that made me laugh!

Toffeeapple said...

But how was the talk Mary?

gudrunstights said...

This sounds like the type of stuff you find at a crummy county fair - some people find it fascinating, but I am more of your mind set!

mary said...

Anbolyn, I must say that there were lots of people there who seemed to be enjoying it.

And Toffeeapple, the talk started well but then spluttered out with some rather bizarre questions from the audience. But it did make me buy the book. Not, I hasten to add at £30, signed by Claire Tomalin, as it's only £9.99 if you buy it online.

Cait O'Connor said...

Our book group may be reading the Dickens book - what I have heard on radio has been great,

mary said...

I've read a few of her other biographies, Cait, and they're always very readable. Still waiting for my copy to arrive.

rachel said...

Phew, that was harsh! And made me laugh...

I'd like the marzipan baby, anyway. Num num.....

Gina said...

Hi Mary, thanks for your comments on my blog. I wasn't too sure about the Power of Making either. Some extraordinary craftsmanship but a real mismatch of objects (that baby was grotesque!)although I loved the dress of pins.

mary said...

See, Rachel ... look what Gina says, I'm not the only one! Actually, I must admit that the dress of pins hung beautifully, didn't it?