I hope you had a wonderful day yesterday – and are preparing to enjoy the last of the holiday weekend!
November nearly over!
Another week – a “flower brick,” a glove from the 16th Century, and a paper doll – who knew what flowers might decorate in the collections of the V&A Museum.
I’m wishing all of you the most wonderful week ahead – friends and family, food and festivities – celebrating thankfulness!
And thanks to all of you for reading!
Starting and ending this week with Vanessa Bell seems perfect. I am in the middle of reading Janet Malcolm’s delicious book “Forty-one False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers,” and included is “A House of One’s Own,” Malcolm’s story of the sisters Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell, and the circle around them more than a hundred years ago, known as Bloomsbury.
Published in The New Yorker in 1995, I have the paper copy of the article still, much thumbed and practically memorized, because it set me off on years of wonderful reading about the characters featured in what Malcolm calls the “Bloomsbury novel.” They were writers and artists, critics and an economist, people who liked to make things and write things, and the whole complicated tale of Bloomsbury can be joyful about work, heartbreaking about life, and very complicated.
So I loved coming upon Vanessa in the V&A collections this week I loved doing all the drawings, and I thank those of you who follow along in the daily form – it’s always a treat to see your “likes” or comments.
It’s been a real pleasure in the early morning darkness to tackle a drawing from the Victoria and Albert Museum’s web site – many objects with flowers to draw! Technology was trickier than the drawing materials and methods at first, but that’s becoming part of the routine now – familiar and quick to post to Instagram and Facebook (after waiting till daylight to snap a photo).
This fall it inspired me to watch the participants in The Workroom outline their projects and follow through – discovering power and energy from small steps as part of a bigger whole. And now November begins, a whole month at home, a month ending in favorite festivities – but inviting a project.
The mother of my young friend made drawings for her Workroom project, and those, combined with reading Martin Gayford’s book, “A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney,” put drawings on my mind even more than usual. Hockney has a complicated relationship with photography but an ongoing, long-lasting passion for drawing. He’d approve of drawing for drawing’s sake – not to illustrate necessarily, but to explore.
Then, on a recent Design*Sponge podcast, I heard ceramicist Molly Hatch say that online resources from museums around the world are amazing. So the thought occurred – I could spend November at the Victoria and Albert, London’s world-famous museum of art and design, full of objects from real life, beautiful things, interesting things, inspiring curiosities to draw.
The V&A website offers “subject hubs” for each collection from architecture and design to fashion and textiles. Many of the 1,828,876 museum objects and pieces of art are online with a photo and a written description. Without printing, I could draw from their photos just by browsing the collections. (I wrote to the Museum and received a polite email back, granting permission to use the photos in their collection for reference.)
Sometimes visiting a museum sets up an initial overwhelm, and I’m glad to discover some one area where things have a relationship. A similar experience happened when I began to wander the corridors of the online collections, clicking on individual images, considering categories. I’m always curious about flowers in decoration – both disparaged and beloved – so, in the end, I decided to limit my looking to objects with flowers.
Wanting both a goal (something The Workroom participants were good at setting and achieving) and daily practice, I decided on a post a day. But it seems a lot to dump an email a day into the inboxes of loyal subscribers – so I’ll post a week’s worth next Friday.
Or you can see what treasures I find by following me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/gilmorekaty), or here next week, whichever works for you. And thank you for helping me be accountable!