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On Friday, in an attempt to get away from the bathroom renovations we still have going on at home, I went to the Victoria & Albert Museum: the world’s greatest museum of Art and Design. It was fantastic. I spent four hours wandering, staring, taking photos, looking closely, looking from above and looking from afar at amazing pieces of art and craftsmanship.

Such a lot of what is in the V&A can be appreciated as pieces of art but it was never intended to be viewed as art. It was created to be used, and indeed it was, but it is so beautifully and skilfully made that we now exhibit it in glass cabinets and preserve it for future generations. Looking at hand embroidered carpets, dresses, tea cups, hand painted tiles and stained glass windows I couldn’t help but wonder what the craftsman of these pieces would think knowing that their skills were so extraordinary that it is now exhibited as an example of excellence. I love that there are places like the V&A which celebrate these craftsman and artisans, and inspire home crafters like me with extraordinary textures, scale, skill level and colour.

Here are a few photos of the pieces I loved most.

Fine Turkish hand embroidery:

 

Painted tiles depicting Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary. I stood in front of these tiles for 10 minutes just staring. I absolutely adore this.

The beautiful colours of these tiles:

I would wear that handbag now, and the Dior jacket is just perfect. The length of the sleeve, the turn-up of the sleeve, slight pleating over the shoulder, nipped in waist – everything is exquisite.

The 6th floor Ceramics department was amazing. I studied pottery in High School, blue and white ceramics pull me in like a magnet and I have a freakishly obsessive fascination with milk jugs so this was heaven.  The museum houses the world’s most extensive collection of ceramics – no wonder it needs a whole floor to itself.

If you have builders/family/unwelcome guests invading your home go to the V&A. It’s the perfect place to forget your troubles and immerse yourself in creative peacefulness.

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