Lockdown week 7

I’ve been spending more time in the garden this week, where the sunny weather is definitely encouraging more growth, which in turn requires more weeding (as well as pulling out dead daffodil leaves to dry for cordage!).

Perhaps fortuitously, then, an email arrived from basketmaker Hanna van Aelst with a link to her video on how to make a Catalan tray from foraged materials.

It’s not that easy to get out and forage at the moment, but I did have a pile of prunings, mostly forsythia but also some bay, hebe, fuschia and an unknown plant invading from next door. So I used these instead.

Inevitably, it wasn’t as easy as Hanna makes it look! Forsythia branches, I have discovered, are mostly hollow, so they break quite easily. And my hoop wasn’t very level. The fuschia leaves have now died, so I will cut them off. But it was fun.

I also combined some of the dandelion cordage I made last week with the rhubarb cordage I made the week before into a tiny bowl – I love the colour combination here. And a week on, with everything dry, the colours remain vibrant.

dandelion and rhubarb bowl dandelion and rhubarb bowl

The rest of my creative time has been spent making yet more samples for my City Lit coiling project, which is going on indefinitely as we have still heard nothing about when or if the course will resume.

I will write a more detailed post, probably next week, about the process I’ve been going through, just in case anyone is interested! But for now I will tell you that the theme is animal markings. Here are a couple of the samples – I wonder if you can guess the animal that inspired them? Answer next week!

This week’s garment from the V&A kimono exhibition is an early example of recycling. In the second half of the 19th century, as Japan opened up to the West, Japanese items became very fashionable, including kimono. For some, it represented luxury and non-conformity, free of restrictive corsets.

However, this is an example of a conventional dress cut and retailored from a kimono imported from Japan. It was made around 1876 by the London dressmakers Misses Turner. The satin silk features hand painting in ink, stencil imitation shibori, and embroidery in silk and gold-wrapped threads.

As the V&A puts it, “the dress thus had a familiar structure but an excitingly foreign appearance”.

Stay well!