Thursday, 24 September 2015

York Museums: Quilts,Ceramics and Hoards

 Recovering from a long  yet stimulating day in York visiting  various museums. The object of my  excursion was seeing the exhibitions at the Quilt museum before it closes  at the end of October. I spent some time looking round  'Quilt Art - Dialogues' - I was loaned a copy of the catalogue  so it was interesting to read more about the work and artists at the time ( and good advertising, I bought one  later).  I'd seen 'Small Talk' at FoQ  but with so many galleries there competing for your attention, it was good to have a longer look ( although the light was rather dim).
After tea and a chat  in the members room , I  headed over to York Art Gallery and after buying  a YMT card  had  delicious lunch ( with discount!) in the café there with the view above.  It's  run by the team at Café no 8 ( of rhubarb  and custard pavlova  fame!)

Suitably refreshed,  I headed up to the 1st floor to reacquaint myself with  some of my favourite paintings  including Paul Nash 'Winter Sea'.  The refurbishment of the gallery included comfy, quirky sofas, books and catalogues to look through, drawing materials  and  mini guides to looking at art incorporating a view finder.  I ordered the books on Paul Nash and Wilhelmina Barnes- Graham  this morning!  

I spent most time however in the fantastic  newly opened Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA). The first thing that caught my eye was this installation  by Sara Moorhouse, the interpretation of landscape reminding me of the piece 'Around Here' by Elizabeth Brimelow that I'd  been absorbed by in the morning.    
 Another installation   by Clare Twomey represents the 10,000 hours it is said to take to become a master craftsman ( each bowl takes an hour to make). In the same, light, space there were cabinets devoted to individual artists: Bernard Leach, Lucie Rie, Ewan Henderson etc
 The gallery next to it on one side had a whole wall of 4 shelves organised by colour ( following, appropriately enough , the 'Richard of York.... mnemonic spectrum) , I could have spent days looking at these wonderful objects! They have dedicated touch screen computers   in front of them so you can identify what you're looking at ( and computers to search for particular artists)
On the other side of the room the collection donated by Anthony Shaw was displayed in domestic style space with furniture and other artwork and artifacts, inviting the viewer to share the experience of living with a collection 
In the shop I added to my own  collection   with a small bowl by Barbara Wood, saggar- fired after burnishing, it's so tactile,  and sits very well alongside my sphere by Elspeth Owen and my recent  'Upwey' purchases. 
In the hour before I caught my train back,  I wandered around the Yorkshire Museum,  so many hoards of silver and gold , with other galleries devoted to Richard III and to the  Romans. There were plenty of  screens around with video clips of  experts  talking  with passion about the archaeology and the conservation behind some of these treasures.   

Being  still in 'pottery mode', it was the prehistoric vessels which as ever drew my attention- the hand of the maker is so evident, a connection through millennia
And a hoard just as precious in my eyes as the silver and gold - a  huge quantity of partially made flint knives and scrapers.  I have a few myself among the 'small treasures' I'm recording through drawing.  


reensstitcher said...

The ceramics sound really wonderful. This week's book on Radio 4 has been Edmund de Waal's new history of porcelain. I listen while doing 'the chores' so have missed bits but I think you would enjoy it as it ties in with what you saw in York.

Margaret Cooter said...

oo, lovely, York is on my travel list!

Heather said...

Wow, incredible stuff. This reminds me how culturally impoverished we are in Canada, relatively speaking.