Le Musée de l’Hospice Comtesse – Hospice Comtesse

Posted: October 3rd, 2012 | Author: Kathryn | Filed under: Uncategorized, travel | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

In Vieux Lille (old Lille) there is a yellow and terracotta building that just about everyone who visits Lille will walk by. Although it sits amongst the main shopping area and is very large, it is surprisingly easy to walk past. I knew the building having walked past it so many times and had assumed it to be private but got struck with curiosity one day and stuck my head in. As it turned out, the site had belonged to Jeanne de Constantinople, the Countess of Flanders who founded a hospital in the original buildings in 1237. In 1468, a fire completely destroyed the original buildings but it was rebuilt immediately. Another fire in 1649 destroyed part of the site. Between the years of 1649 and 1657 the current buildings were built and it seems to be in the same condition. The inside is impressive, it has an authentic feel of life and living during the 17th Century, I was enthralled! Unfortunately I didn’t get many great photos but these will give you an idea of what it is like. The dorm on the first floor houses a museum containing decorative objects, architectural fixtures and paintings. It is concise and illuminating.

The Hospice from inside the courtyard. Access is through a gate to the right that opens onto Rue de la Monnaie, a wonderful shopping and eating street:

The medicinal garden that houses a very old rosemary tree with a thick trunk like none I had seen before:

The kitchen, tiled floor to ceiling in hand painted tiles. You will notice two doors above the file place. This large cavity was used to store food, flour and cured meats for example:

There were many different tiny scenes throughout the room but they are arranged in groups of the same image or theme, on the wall below you can see fish, turtles and boats in the lower group and men and women standing on a bank in the upper group:

The walls are covered in art that appears to hang as it would have at the time, not simply for exhibition. Many of the walls are paneled in wood which cleverly camouflages the large and bulky wooden furniture used for storage:

Wooden building fixtures on display in the museum:

There are two huge astrological globes that are unlike anything I have ever seen. The surface of each globe has been covered in paper that has been lithographed (I guess). They are exceptional, beautiful works. Each panel of paper is shaped so that the images come together when adhered to the globe:

Detail of the globe, exceptional:

As I understand it, parades were held where all of the groups and trades were represented by these very large wooden, I’m sorry, I have no idea what they are called, but they are used in the same way as a flag. On the top of the pole, a carved sculpture would symbolise their trade or group:

An example, possibly traders of bulk goods?:

The Museum voor Industriële Archeologie en Textiel, Gent, Belgium

Posted: March 8th, 2012 | Author: Kathryn | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I treated ourselves to an afternoon off and we spent it at MIAT, The Museum voor Industriële Archeologie en Textiel in Gent. I was busting my side in anticipation. For years I learnt to weave, have my own looms and spent many hours weaving but I had never seen a jacquard loom in real life. I didn’t know for sure that the museum would have one on display but I thought surely they must. I was thrilled to find not one but three jacquard looms and literally floors of exciting weaving machinery and equipment.

The museum is housed in a huge brick building which, from the early 1800′s, housed the former Desmet-Guequier cotton mill. Some of the equipment in the museum belonged to the mill allowing visitors to see some unique equipment that they wouldn’t normally see, unless visiting a working mill of course. The building has huge floor to ceiling windows that let in an extraordinary amount of light and has high ceilings resulting in a beautiful, dynamic space. As visitors move through the building from the top floor to the bottom, the curators want them to feel as though they journey through time. This is done by successfully using huge life-size images to set the scene, time and place. The exhibit begins with early hand operated looms and moves through to steam operated machines and then on to high powered, electricity run mass production machines, some that are meters and meters wide. Not all looms, there are warpers, carders, combers and winders, a brilliant array of equipment to help visitors understand the evolution of woven cloth production.

We spent five hours milling around ooh-ing and ah-ing at every single piece of equipment, each of us constantly calling to the other to get over and look at something else.

Above, a tapestry loom.

Above, a very old, small jaquard loom. Magnificent!

Above, a piston from a steam engine which operates a drive shaft which in turn operates all of the weaving machinery.

Above, the drive shaft runs above all of the machinery and each machine is connected to it by way of a wheel and belt.

Above, along with giant over-sized prints on the walls, the museum uses dummies which give a brilliant sense of time and place. Some of the dummies are quite realistic!

Above and below, a braid loom that can weave multiple braids at once. All with the same pattern but using different coloured warp and weft.

Above, they also run classes and various educational programs alongside the exhibition including a functioning paper printing press workshop that has a vast array of presses in normal working order.

And I leave you with this final message …. be extra careful around industrial equipment! Oh dear …..

choosing a zip.

Posted: March 29th, 2011 | Author: Kathryn | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Look what I got in the post. Six full pages of beautifully clean and straight placed woven nylon zipper ends. Now to choose ….

a map.

Posted: March 26th, 2011 | Author: Kathryn | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

This map is printed on fabric. It lives in the museum at La Coupole, the unfinished German installation that was designed and built to launch V2 rockets at London during World War Two. It is a unique facility having been designed to withstand heavy fire from the air and so was built as a dome, its walls 5 metres thick and positively threatening when viewed from below.

As I understand it, British pilots were given this finely woven and printed cloth to aid them in the event that they were shot down or crashed in the troubled zone. The map, being that it was made from cloth was easily concealed in the foot of a boot or any such other place of hiding without being damaged or made unreadable. It doesn’t crease or break upon the fold and you certainly don’t loose the print over the bend. Unfortunately you can see only what is visible in the photographs but I suspect there is a closer view on the reverse side of the cloth. It has not been hemmed but has raw edges that have been treated I suppose in an effort to prevent fraying. I have not been able to find a great deal of information about them but there must be many in circulation. The most striking quality is the detail of print, exceptionally fine and beautifully printed. The red and orange still vibrant. I was so pleased to see it on display!