was great fun and despite the vagaries of travelling by (delayed) train I enjoyed the day, not least for the enjoyment of the wonderful views over London and the beautiful building that is Alexandra Palace.
First task on arriving was to sit in the Palm Court and have some lunch and I couldn't resist taking a few photos of the reflections in the huge mirrored doors. Also in the collage above is the amazing Great Hall which towers above you. The stained glass window at the far end looks beautiful and I'm sure would inspire many a quilter.
The first thing that greets you as you hand over your ticket and walk into the exhibition is the Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry.
The tapestry was created by more than 250 embroiderers from across Scotland and tells the story of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. It is over 104m in length. The tapestry was designed by Andrew Crummy who designed each one metre panel which would then be brought together to form the whole tapestry. My photograph shows only part of the tapestry.
I had decided to concentrate on the textile hall as my time was limited and there was plenty to see. Immediately on entering the room I was stopped in my tracks by the Textile Study Group. This group of artists produce exciting and inspirational work and this exhibition is accompanied by a postcard from each artist's personal collection and an explanation of how it has influenced the development of their art practice.
This beautifully delicate piece titled 'In Decline' by Shelley Rhodes spoke to me with its subtle colours and variety of marks. If you click on the photo you should be able to read about her inspiration. Ruth Issett's work needs so introduction and was as brilliantly colourful as Shelley's was delicate.
I didn't make a note of the title of this piece but love it for its colour and vitality. It should be on prescription!
Gwen Hedley's piece was close to my heart:
This is just a part of the piece which as you can see is bound parcels of found objects from beaches. Gwen's statement says that 'mark and message are more significant than medium'. It is titled 'Excerpts from a Visual Diary'.
The Textile Study Group exhibition was accompanied by a book 'Individual and Collective' sponsored by an Arts Council grant and at £5 it is an absolute steal!
(Oops! Is that shopping I see there?)
After a chat with Mary Sleigh (no photo sorry) I went in search of Dale Rollerson and spent a very happy time indulging my shopping gene!
Dale's stand was very busy so we only had time for a very brief chat but I enjoyed the beautiful colours that abound in the fibres she had on sale.
Prefelts, beautifully dyed scrim, sari silk, threads, inspiration pack, silk weaving ends and gorgeous copper buttons all came home with me, not to mention a pack of sponge letters and numbers for printing. I think I benefitted form the exchange rate Dale was using. Thank you Dale :-)
The cornerstone of the exhibition was dedicated to the memory of Beryl Dean who was an exceptional ecclesiastical embroiderer. Photography was not allowed of the main part of the exhibition but I did photograph a piece made in collaboration with Alice Kettle which was allowed.
Do go and Google Beryl Dean and have a look at the images for her as her work is amazing and timeless.
Chungie Lee's beautiful and diaphanous Pojagi (Po-jah-ki) fascinated me and I loved Jilli Blackwood's wonderful layered and hand embroidered clothing and hangings. I wish I could be as free and expressive.
There was much more to see in the exhibition and I did manage to get round all the Halls but I kept well away form the majority of the trade stands as I didn't want to exhaust myself.
The final highlight of the day was the walk back to Alexandra Palace railway station on a crisp and sunny autumn afternoon. The view from the terrace of Ally Pally is wonderful with the whole of London spread before me. I was particularly struck by the contrast of urban habitation set against the modern skyscrapers in the background.
Also to be seen in the distance was the skeleton of the 2012 Olympic stadium.
If you click on the image above you will see the triangular shapes of the stadium. Not long now till the Olympics!
This was my first visit to Ally Pally and it lived up to expectations and helped to give me a lift. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the exhibition and the enthusiasm of the young students who were keenly gathering ideas and inspiration and interviewing the exhibitors with much more confidence than I had at their age.
It was interesting to see the impressive Victorian building that is Alexandra Palace and to be reminded of its history in the pioneering days of British Broadcasting.
Thank you, everyone, for your lovely messages of support and encouragement. I appreciate the support of this wonderful community and I know we will get through these trying days. We are making progress and I have a lot to be thankful for, not least that my Mum is safe and we can spend time together. Small steps will make progress and my mood will improve I'm sure.