Our trip to the Fabric of India exhibition at the V&A …
Friday was a brilliant day. I went with a group of staff and volunteers from Significant Seams to the Fabric of India Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum. Admission was via complementary ticket; it was a real treat, and meant a lot to me, as a tangible thank you for my volunteering. Don’t get me wrong, I do not expect something like this in return for volunteering, and that is exactly why it meant so much.
Even though I have lived in London all my life, this was my first visit to the V&A and it will definitely not be my last. It is a real treasure, and admission to all the ‘standard’ galleries is free, and there is nothing standard about the ‘standard’ galleries.
I loved the exhibition, from the beautiful colours, the amazing patterns, the lavish fabrics and adornments, along with interesting information. The people in India were using fixing agents (mordants) and vibrant dyes based on roots, bark and beetle juice as far back as 2500 BC and in the west we got to a comparable end product in terms of quality of dyes and fixing in the 19th century. So 4000 plus years later we got there. I am still massively impressed by the fact that they used to dye the warp and weft threads with the relevant dyes at the appropriate intervals, before weaving, and the end result were detailed and precise patterned fabrics. The calculations and skill involved is mind blowing.
Afterwards I spent time in the large courtyard garden at the V&A looking at the architecture, the beautiful colours of the bricks, and the amazing reflections in the large, shallow, water-filled stone-paved oval. We enjoyed hots drinks and some nibbles in this courtyard, before heading home.
It was a really great day. Many thanks to both the V&A and Significant Seams.