Friday, 1 April 2011

There and back again

I have been away in New York City on a study visit with my students, and thus, off the radar. So now I feel I have a massive catch-up to record my experiences, images and ideas. Here goes!

We took a group of 20 undergraduate students from Bradford School of Arts & Media for a 5 day trip across the big pond. They all loved it and everyone was exhausted when we got back (and most of us still are). So here I am going to post some of my highlights, rather than bore you with all the hundreds of photos I took...

Garment district... dribbling over oodles of fabulous fabrics, trimmings and buttons. We also had appointments to visit a couple of wonderful design studios; Tom Cody in the garment district and Eyedazzler in Brooklyn. Both were truly inspirational and we were so grateful for their generous time.

Having never visited Brooklyn before we spent a short while perusing some great little vintage and antique stores and funky gift shops in the Williamsburg area. The vintage shop below did not seem to have a name but has lovely staff! We also went in MeMe Antenna, a little music and gift shop with some  really unusual design-led items.

A trip to Habu textiles was a treat of delicious yarns and exquisite artisan fabrics. Some little bundles of joyful textures and fibres have accompanied me home. 

Just around the corner The Museum at FIT was showing some beautiful Japanese fashion in 'Japan Fashion Now'. Oddly most of the pieces I found most interesting were pieces from the 80's and even an exquisite patched and darned 'Noragi' jacket from Meiji to early Showa period.

Opposite the museum, students had created a stunning exhibition to commemorate 100 years since the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire which killed 146 garment workers in the worst industrial accident in New York.

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art I was so overwhelmed with the scale of the museum and the numbers of visitors (a million at a time, so I was told), I crept into a little corner and spent over an hour sketching small fragments of precious Byzantine Egyptian textiles. I watched so many people frantically trying to scan as much as possible, but I really enjoyed taking the time to really LOOK at something in depth.

ABC Carpet & Home showed me that department stores can be palaces of beauty and serene femininity. Although I didn't have time to explore properly I fell in love with the luminous, lustrous and tactile effect of the ground floor. Chandeliers like dripping dew drops, delicate cobweb knit throws, embroidered cushions and kantha quilts - yummy!

Hells Kitchen Flee Market was a great rummage: old brass stencil numbers bought for my house number, a silk souvenir scarf from Florida and an old celluloid button for free! I also loved the old type blocks in their printers trays.

This blog post seems to veer from the sublime to the ridiculous, from tasteful design to kitsch and over the top. Macy's Flower Show on Sunday was part beautifully designed garden and stunning botanical specimins, and parts theatrical overstaging. All the same it was a spectacle and as for the accompanying dog show the phrase 'only in America' springs to mind!

There seemed so much to mention I feel I need a whole post to discuss my favourite event of the trip. So 'watch this space'.


  1. Loved looking at your pics. I love NY, used to travel there for work, so many inspirational things to look out for. ABC always was the jewel in the crown for me, even when I had little money, I managed to spend it there! Macy's flower show looks fun and sounds it with the added spectacle of four legged friends!

  2. Looks fantastic, lovely inspiring pictures.

  3. Hi Hannah, wow very jealous a cornucopia of experiences and images absolutely wonderful, thanks for sharing. I am particularly fascinated by the Shirt waister work and wondered if there is anywhere else to access images of the studnets exhibition? I am looking at Engels' study of Needlewoman in 1850's and this has a similar poignancy. Hope all is well with you Sharon xx

  4. If anyone is interested in more information on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire you can visit this website:

    I can't find any further coverage of the exhibition yet but I have more photos so perhaps I could post them here?



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