From Swinging Monkeys to Dachshunds.........

Having spent almost a month sitting at the kitchen table creating a website, and then a 'half term' week spent thinking up every indoor, wet play game imaginable, meant that on Tuesday, I awarded myself the day off and top of the list was a trip to Pallant House Gallery in Chichester to see the John Piper exhibition.  

Headed straight to the cafe for a cappuccino you can imagine my delight when I found out that the exhibitions currently on show extended to the cafe courtyard too AND they were knitted!


I've always felt there is something quite magical about putting pieces that are normally reserved for inside - on the outside.......and vice versa. I love bringing in a real Christmas tree for this very same wonderful reason. This yarn bombing was a real treat, titled The Octopus' Garden by Julia Oak, it was very pleasant to share half an hour with a swinging knitted monkey and copious brightly coloured Pom Poms. It felt like sitting within children's story book and confirmed that life in an art gallery is never dull. 

After coffee I ventured upstairs to the John Piper exhibition. John Piper was one of the leading Modern British artists/designers of the 20th Century, best known for his paintings but also noted for his work as an accomplished designer of theatre sets, stained glass windows and textiles.* It was the textiles work I was so keen to see, especially the tapestries of which I have dabbled and am aware of the complexities and painstaking labour involved!

This group of tapestries were commissioned for the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford by a group of surgeons in 1986. Aren't the colours so vibrant? Most of the weaving work was executed at West Dean Tapestry Studios near Chichester. All these places are so familiar it seemed wonderful to think of John Piper wandering around West Dean gardens perhaps.  

This piece of fabric, screen printed cotton satin, designed in 1955 for David Whitehead Limited would seem very at home in any house today. I particularly liked this design. 

It was a small exhibition, just 3 rooms but well executed and displayed and such a treat not to have to go to London to see work of this quality. 

Ever since childhood the 'shop' at the end of an exhibition visit has always been something to look forward to and the Pallant House Gallery shop did not disappoint. It is a real treasure trove of amazing books, cards and interesting gifts.  This year my New Years resolution was not to leave all my Christmas shopping until the last minute and so upon seeing these quirky kits to 'make your own pet'  I swiftly purchased two for my own little monkeys. ;) 

So now,  'knitted work' at Kate Box HQ cannot be put off any longer - I have no more excuses and it will be hands to the needles for the foreseeable future! 

*Pallant House Gallery website.