Day 28 – Tuesday, May 22nd

Mike & Mark’s beautiful flower garden

One of the wonderful greenhouses at Kew Gardens

A view from the top of the tropical house

One of the MANY cases displaying needlework in the V&A museum…..each of those vertical drawers contains specimens.

A favorite piece of Iron Work!!!!

After a wonderful breakfast with Mark and Mike which included some of Mike’s prize winning jam, we headed back to Kew Gardens. The scientists entered through the “research” gate and I was going to walk to the main gate and enter the gardens when they opened about 30 minutes later. Mark and Mike told me that I could go in early using the back entrance, so I had about an hour in the gardens before I ever saw another tourist. I had a delightful time walking through several of the greenhouses and taking tons of photos of the beautiful flowers and foliage. As I made my way to the main entrance area, I saw at least 15 school groups coming in the front gate, so I decided that it was time to go elsewhere. I know that I only saw about 20 percent of the gardens but hopefully I can return soon.

I phoned the V&A museum and confirmed that the Fiber and Ironworks galleries were open and then made my way there. Since I had already seen most of the V&A, I made my way straight to the Fiber gallery. It was an amazing mix of weaving, crochet, tatting and embroidery. Besides the items that were displayed in the large showcases, there were 15 or 20 large cabinets that were filled with pull-out vertical drawers that contained many, many more examples of the fiber arts. There were only a couple of quilted pieces….both were forms of white work and were very small. There were tables along the wall of this gallery where you could stand up one of these drawers and spend time examining the work. The Embroider’s Guild in England has a huge influence in the arts community and this was evident by the size of this display.

I then moved into the Musical Instrument gallery and enjoyed seeing many examples of instruments, both old and new. I saw two “Hurdy Gurdy’s” but am still not exactly sure how they work. They also had pull-out vertical drawers, but these were huge (from floor to ceiling). They contained additional instruments that you could examine.

The final gallery that I viewed was Metal Work. It was full of examples of wrought iron, from practical stair railings and “locks and keys” to some magnificent works of art. I think that some of these designs may work their way into my quilts.

I crossed the street and looked briefly at the Science Museum, but was really too pooped to enjoy it much, so I found my way back to the tube and to the Kew Garden station. I found a small café to eat a late lunch and waited for Michael to arrive at the station after his talk. We both fell into our train seats and relaxed for the trip back to Oxford. When we got there we splurged on a taxi to our house rather than a 1 mile walk!!!!

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