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Sharon Bill Author & Music Tutor

The V&A Museum

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Within the Victoria and Albert Museum (The V&A) is my favourite place on earth. I find William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, arts and crafts from the Medieval and Renaissance, tapestry and metal work - all that my heart can desire. I find that it both depresses me and makes me regret my laziness and the mediocrity that often surrounds us, but then it inspires me to do better and to raise my head from the mire and to try again. I always come away uplifted and encouraged.

The excuse for the day trip was to wave goodbye to my son as he left to fly to the Middle East to begin work as a musician. Not much excuse was needed to extend the day to take in the V&A and also the necessity to lift my spirits - I'll try any angle to get to the V&A!

I realise that, in all probability, the craftsman that created the wonders exhibited may well have been somewhat oppressed. Nevertheless, this in no way detracts from the incredible skill and superior workmanship that was invested - in fact it only adds to my esteem and gives all the more honour to their artistic integrity. I will not mar their expertise with social commentary - that is an entirely different topic. The wonder is that all of the beautiful creations within the V&A weren't created as exhibits but for the everyday world. They had function and purpose as well as beauty.

What particularly thrilled me on this particular visit was that I found that I have similar tokens in my own home. William Morrs and Edward Burne-Jones collaborated in illustrating Chaucer’s Canterbury tales. I have a modern copy of their book at home. Similarly have used modern printed fabric of Morris’s designs and I also have tapestry patterns to replicate many of his designs. When I saw exhibits of antiquated sewing machines and accessories I instantly brought to mind my Nana’s thimble, needle holder and her old treadle sewing machine, which I have (still in working order - or it was last time I tried). I also have a hand machine of my own which I have used since I was about seven years old - I still prefer the calm, tactile technique of the hand machine, and the stitch tension is so much neater than my electric machine. My daughter also has an old Singer hand sewing machine. Coincidentally all of these are so much prettier too! It was also fun to remember some mug and cup designs that my husband painted for a ceramics company based upon the Lautrec illustration featured in the V&A - next to one of my all-time favourites, Alphonse Mucha.

Now all that remains is for me to make good use of all that is around me to its fullest potential.

To see a full record of our trip to the V&A visit my Facebook page or watch my Youtube slideshow.
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