I just about made it to the Lost in Lace exhibition on Saturday. It had been on since October last year in the Gas Hall at the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery but I only learned of it quite recently. Curated by Leslie Millar MBE, it featured contemporary interpretations of lace as created by a selection of international artists. The materials used ranged from feathers to metal so we were surrounded by a plethora of innovative forms.
The ethereal quality of Annie Bascoul's Jardin de lit, lit de jardin stopped me in my tracks. Realised in white down and suspended in mid-air, her deconstruction of a bed was - without question - my favourite piece. Beneath it, she had laid out text from a Béroalde de Verville poem fashioned from gold wire.
Bascoul's second piece, Moucharabieh, was cleverly juxtaposed to give a tantalising view of the "bed".
Ana Holck's installation was spartan in contrast but riveting, nonetheless. I loved its pared down simplicity, its unspoken reference to lace as an almost skeletal form.
Reiko Sudo's Tanabata Lace was equally beautiful and greatly enhanced by soft backlighting. Rather astonishingly, it was made by slit-melting polyester using a handheld heat cutter.
The most unexpected thing about the exhibition was the thoughtful addition of Touch and Feel stations around the room. I thought they were an ingenious way of making what could have been a static run-of-the-mill affair, a multi-sensory one.
This was perfect for our little girl who is at that wonderful age of discovery. She loves to know what everything is called and what it feels like so she had a marvellous time running her fingers over the array of textures provided.
Sometime in the spring she will be starting school and one of the things we loved about the one we have chosen, is its passion for introducing young children to art in galleries and museums. As parents, it certainly feels gratifying being responsible for her first forays into this new world; watching her little face as she drinks it all in.
She was particularly taken with Atelier Manferdini's Inverted Crystal Cathedral. Below is a slide show of how it was all (very carefully!) put together.
Needless to say, I am already excitedly planning our next art excursion.
What's on your wishlist? I welcome any recommendations or tips you may like to share!