In September I’ll be moving up, up, up to Glasgow, to study textile conservation. It’s a two year MPhil course combining historical and scientific research with hands-on skills; it involves everything from learning how to display and store fragile textiles, to gaining an understanding of the ethics and compromises involved in conservation projects. This broad and challenging mixture is exactly what I want out of a career, and after visiting the studios on an open day, I finally took the plunge and applied last year. Having bitten my nails through the last few months, I’m still slightly delirious after recently being offered a place on the course. Some big changes are afoot!
I’ll be sad to move out of London, and away from family and friends, but can’t wait to make a start towards a career as a textile conservator and get to know a new city. I’ve only visited Glasgow for five days altogether, so there are many things I’m yet to explore. Lately I’ve been simultaneously reflecting on the places I know and love in London, and the places I’m yet to discover and fall for in Glasgow, so here are ten of each.
(in no particular order)
Ten places I’ll miss being able to stroll down the road/ hop on the Underground to visit:
1. William Morris Society and Emery Walker Trust, Hammersmith. I’m trying to make the most of the time left helping at these two gems, making lino cuts for workshops (in previous blog posts here and here) and learning how to use Morris’s original press.
2. Leighton House. The recently re-opened house of the Victorian artist Frederick Leighton – worth visiting just for the ‘Arab Hall’ decorated in tiles from Syria, Turkey and Pakistan.
3. Golders Hill Park, Hill Garden and Pergola
4. Queen of Sheba Ethiopian restaurant, Kentish Town. Wonderful curries and fresh roasted (in front of you) coffee.
5. Victoria and Albert Museum. My favourite museum to wander/ wonder around.
6. Walthamstow marshes and the Lea Valley
7. Yildirim Bakery. This little place on St James Street, Walthamstow, does excellent freshly-made Turkish breads filled with cheese, lamb, spinach or potato.
8. International Supermarket, Walthamstow High Street. I sincerely wish I could take this well-stocked, well-priced little Turkish supermarket with all its fresh tomatoes, coriander, mint, fennel, pointed peppers, birds eye chillis, scotch bonnet chillis, lemons, water melons, sweet mangoes, quinces, plums, pomegranates, olives, cous cous, pistachios, flat breads, orange blossom water and rose petal jam with me to Glasgow. I realise now how spoilt I’ve been to have it on the doorstep.
9. Camden Arts Centre. Good for an interesting variety of contemporary art and working or lazing in their peaceful garden. Just round the corner from the Freud Museum too.
10. I can’t decide. The William Morris Gallery, The Windmill Portugese Restaurant in Walthamstow, British Museum, Somerset House, National Portrait Gallery, Alison Jacques Gallery, both the Tates, the Hayward..
Ten places in Glasgow I’m looking forward to visiting for the first time:
1. House for an Art Lover. This house was designed by Charles Rennie Macintosh, who also designed the beautiful Glasgow School of Art which sadly suffered fire damage in May.
2. The Mackintosh House. A reconstruction of Charles Rennie and Margaret Mackintosh’s house.
3. The Modern Institute. A contemporary art gallery mentioned in a recent article on Glasgow’s generally fantastic art scene.
4. Centre for Contemporary Arts. The programme includes exhibitions, film, music, literature, spoken word and festivals.
5. The Burrell Collection. I’m particularly interested in (surprise surprise!) the textiles in this enormous and varied collection gathered by the shipping magnate Sir William Burrell.
6. Botanic Gardens
7. Bibi’s Mexican restaurant. I’ve never been to a Mexican restaurant, so I’m looking forward to trying a new cuisine at a highly-recommended eatery.
8. Tenement House Museum
9. The Yarn Cake and all the other Glasgow wool shops I will soon be happily foraging in.
10. Orkney and Shetland. Not in Glasgow, I know, but after moving 400 miles, another 200/400 to visit these beautiful islands shouldn’t be too difficult.
The Textile Conservation course at Glasgow has its own blog here – textileconservation.academicblogs.co.uk and Hannah Sutherland, who will also be joining the course in September, has an excellent blog that can be found here – hannahsuthers.com.