On Friday, Dorothy and I had a day out in London to see two exhibitions which were both first rate. The first one was at the British Museum on Sicily , full of beautiful Greek carving and sumptuous 11th century silks.And we treated ourselves to lunch in the BM restaurant. Also we got there a bit early so looked at the Japanese rooms. I was there only 8 weeks ago - and they have changed everything! There is a note saying what is shown is only a fraction of their holdings. I wonder how often they change the displays. Lovely things. An Ainu robe, a modern kimono of bashofu from Okinawa, Some wonderful modern ceramics. The BM seems to have commissioned quite a lot of the modern stuff.
After lunch we walked round to SOAS (= School of Oriental and Asian Studies, part of the University of London). They are having an exhibition of ikat. Now I had assumed that this would be an affair of a few pieces. Not a bit of it. There are 200 pieces from all over the world. One room has half the room devoted to Japanese kasuri and the other half devoted to Uzbekistan. There is a substantial collection of African ikat and an even bigger section on South America. Not to mention Laos, Thailand, Malaysia. I recommend this exhibition: it is on till June. No photography allowed and no books available which is a pity. On May13th, they are setting up a patola demonstration and I intend to go back for that and to see the main exhibition again - and take notes.
Not content with that excursion, we went into Reading to do some shopping on Saturday. We have been here since September and this is the first time we have had such an expedition. The other attraction was a Schezuan restaurant which I wanted to try. I have to report that it is really good. It is in Friatr Street and is called Memories of Schezuan.
Today I intend to do not very much energetic. Things are not well in the operation region and I probably ought to go to bed for several days.
By the way, the SOAS exhibition had two verses of a very odd poem written up. Looking it up on the web, the author is unknown and it is a little twee on the whole but the last two verses are worth quoting.
The Masterweaver's Song
Not 'til the loom is silent
and the shuttles cease to fly
will God unroll the canvas
and reveal the reason why
The dark threads are as needful
in the weaver's skilful hand
as the threads of gold and silver
in the pattern He has planned
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- I am weaver and - -. I dye my yarns with acid dyes, I paint my warps, put fabric collages and stencils on my weaving. I have three looms, a 12 inch wide, 12 shaft Meyer for demos and courses, a 30 inch Louet Kombo which is nominally portable but has a stand, two extra beams and a home-made device containing a fan reed. And last a 32 shaft Louet Megado which is computer controlled, has a sectional warp and a second warp beam and I am the proud owner of an AVL warping wheel which I love to bits and started by drilling holes in. I inserted a device for putting a cross in. I have just acquired an inkle loom and had a lesson from an expert so I can watch TV and weave at the same time. I am interested in weaving with silk mostly 60/2 although I do quite a bit with 90/2 silk. I also count myself as a bookbinder with a special interest in Coptic binding.