Friday, February 15, 2008

Quilts at the Imperial War Museum North

First, thanks for the pantograph votes. We too picked Pashmini, so we are reassured... although Brenda as a fellow lawyer I loved the way you were able to argue both sides just as I was doing in my head!

Today I took a day away from quilts ( sorta.. OK, not very much, as you will see) to visit the Imperial War Museum North with Dennis. Now a warning - this is a long post with lots of photos but if you are interested in design and lines I think it will be worth your time. The main reason for going was my current interest in this man

The great Daniel Libeskind, architect extraordinaire in my book. His buildings are not just cases for exhibits but are themselves symbolic, quirky, imaginative and plain clever. Oh and great inspiration for the Quilts UK special category this year which is architecture! I will spare you most of the 117 photos I took but you have to see these ... and bear with me ... there is quilting and patchwork for real at the end of the show.

This building is created from three great shards - Air (the vertical one) Water, which overlooks the Ship Canal and houses the cafe and Earth, the main exhibition space . These are the three arenas of war. The design came from an idea he had when he was blocked and frustrated and threw a teapot from the window of his studio (as you do!) Running downstairs he found three main shards. He turned this into a factured globe,

reconstuted after war - different, but healing into something new.
You can however take design too far. Mr Libeskind wanted the entrance to be hidden like a bunker, with no signs so that vistors had to expereince the disorentation of displacement to get in. The museum pointed out that as a charity with a public purpose it was rather important that patrons could find the door. So there are signs - to his disappointment apparently!

The building is full of quirky lines. It is meant to slightly disorientate as war does. The floor of the main space slopes and few if any angles are straight. The air shard has a walk way 29 meters up this shaft. You can see the black flooring way up high in this shot.

the solid flooring leads to this window whch appears straight.

but from outside is not.

then when you walk back to the life the floor is such that suddenly you can see through it way way down to the ground. Quite dizzying even though I am not afraid of heights.

The outside of the air shaft is verticle concrete slats with gaps. However, when I photgraphed it the light created these concentric lines on the picture that were not visible to my eye at all. Quilting lines wouldn't you say?!
This one I took becuase it reminded me of the stripey quilts made by Brenda and Anne which I had seen on their blogs yesterday Even the cubicles in the ladies have been offset so that the lines as you enter are curved and displaced.
The museum is the otherside of the Manchester Ship Canal from the Salford Quays which houses this Lowry Arts and Theatre centre - designed to look like a ship coming out of the water. The two are connected by this bridge.

And coming back over it you get great reflections in the office complex. Isn't this vaguely Hundertwasserian?

Anyway, this building does house a museum concentrating on how war affects the lives of people. In amongst the exhibits I found this crazy patch apron made during World War one in Sumatra
and this quilt ( hung way way up on a wall sadly) made by the Asian Ladies group in Preston with an artist, Lynn Setterington, in 1997 -8. It commemorates 50 years of independance in Pakistan and India . The quilt shows the countries before partition with the word "azadi" meaning Freedom in Urdu embroidered in the centre.

We had a great day spending far longer than planned. (Thanks in part to a very piggy lunch at an incredibly cheap (£6.99) four course chinese buffet on the Quays! They did chocolate cornflake cakes on the desert table. And banana fritters with sweet, sweet syrup. And fruit salad. And cookies. And I had all of them. Oink. But I didn't have any of the cake so that's all right!)
But sadly, all good days out must eventually come to a close...

If any of these photos on this post inspire you to design, feel free to copy them onto your computer for your personal quilting use only.

1 comment:

Erica said...

What an amazing design! Thank you Helen for showing your photos of this building of which I have never heard. Thanks also to the authorities for approving its construction!