Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Week 28

Before I moved to London, there were a lot of things I had never really spent much time thinking about. . .for instance . . . what kind of socks are appropriate for welly wearing, how I feel about kids wearing school uniforms, morning/low tea vs. afternoon/high tea vs. cream tea and why do each of these refer more to what is eaten with the tea than to the tea itself.  When a friend asked me to join her at the Somerset House for some coffee and to see an exhibition on “Wonderful Wool,” I realized I had basically spent zero time thinking about wool.  An exhibition on wool?  Seriously?  “The Brits love their sheep . . .” she said.   I had been looking for an excuse to go check out the Somerset House anyway and she has lived here for over ten years and seems to know what she is talking about as far as cool things in London go, plus I enjoy her company . . . and . . . somewhat secretly, I was very interested in a photography exhibition going on at the same time so I figured after I got bored spent five minutes some time humouring my friend getting cozy with the sheep (what was this, a petting zoo?!), then we could go look at some real art for God’s sake.  Totally (mostly) kidding.  This didn’t really all go through my mind, I admit.  Actually, what I was really thinking was, “Go to a cultural arts centre in the heart of London in the middle of the week sans children with stimulating adult company?!  Count me in.  I don’t care what art we see OR what animals we are petting for that matter!”  At any rate, we agreed and I found myself at the hoof of the “Wool House.”  And boy am I glad I did.  Why hadn’t I spent more time thinking about wool?!  I had no idea.  It is absolutely, one hundred percent fascinating, amazing, beautiful and artful yet utilitarian and functional . . . not to mention warm and cozy (which felt perfectly appropriate in that moment because frankly, Hell might be a better option than this frozen spring we are all having . . . at least it would be warm).  Room after room, we saw countless and really beautiful objects made out of wool - blankets, hats, scarves, furniture, rugs, all kinds of high fashion apparel both women's and men's, art pieces, pillows, curtains, even a mattress.  It was all so very tactile and although I felt a bit sheepish (haha) touching items on exhibit, that was certainly part of the whole experience.  The culmination of the exhibition was a parade through seven stunning installation rooms in which individual designers had created entire cohesive interior designs celebrating this wonderful material.  The amount of diversity on display was astounding.  The designs were classic, simple, ornate, modern, sometimes old fashioned and homey, sometimes funky and surprising, always elegant.  By the end, I was sold.  On sheep.  On wool.  On the Somerset House.  We headed over to the photography exhibit, but ironically it paled in comparison and I quickly headed straight back to the Wool House to capture some of its fabulousness with my camera.  Baa.  
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