Friday, 14 September 2012

Flowers and firearms

Our week has been a little wobbly. Tiredness and the realisation for Monty that he is is really away from me when he goes to Kindergarten has left us more emotional than usual. We're trying to be gentle with ourselves, but it isn't easy with two boys who find it hard to be anything other than maximum strength. 

Despite our disarray we did manage to visit a little local museum this week. I'd spotted in a flyer that Bankfield museum in Halifax was holding an exhibition of textiles on the theme of gardens which I was keen to see. I imagined conversations with Eli about the artist's processes; materials and techniques used. I thought we might marvel together at the stitches used liked brush strokes and hoped it  would inspire us to run home and start our own creative project...






I pointed out the journey from photographs, to sketches and finally stitches. We looked at how some of the pieces were layered with sewn fabrics behind screen printed transparent cloth. I enthused over the botanical motifs and impressionistic effects...








Meanwhile, Eli was tugging on my arm, desperately trying to stay patient...because what he was interested in,  what he really wanted to look at...was the Duke of Wellington's regiment museum.

Dutifully, and with little enthusiasm I allowed myself to be lead to look at cases filled with uniforms and weaponry. Along with my discomfort at us being surrounded by the apparel and apparatus of war, I realised my knowledge of battle history was severely lacking. Now I was on shaky ground. I didn't have answers to the questions being asked of me. Waterloo? What was all that about again? American wars? Erm...let me see...




I did manage some vague mutterings about the trenches and we both enjoyed looking at various soldier's personal effects - what they ate from, the bags they carried - the everyday objects that remind us of their humanity rather than the violence they were embroiled in.

Learning together may not always be what I expect it to be. Although I set the agenda for our museum visit, and had my own expectations about what we might explore together, Eli had his own ideas. Those ideas meant that I looked at things I wouldn't otherwise have looked at. I found I was interested in some of those things and I found that when it comes to history I am pretty much clueless.

Time for a trip to the library I think...

4 comments:

Rob_Shaw said...

Beautiful photographs of the textiles.

You stick to the arts and crafts. I'll do the war! ;-)

Selina Gough said...

Or I learn too...truly learning together. You could find us a good book though!

Anonymous said...

maybe big grandad can help out with First World War poetry next time we see you

Selina Gough said...

Could possibly be a bit more graphic than we need at this stage - does he know anything about the battle of Waterloo?