Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sketching the Masters - A Time-Honoured Tradition

On our way home from Ghana and Uganda, Joan and I stopped in London for a couple of nights. As on past journeys, we made a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum our first priority. This marvellous museum was the first of its kind in the world - built to showcase and for the study of design. Students of design, both formal and informal, go to the museum to sketch the masters, in fields as diverse as architecture, sculpture, ironwork and textiles, to name just a few. Most come equipped with their own sketchpads, but more are available in the gift shop if you come without one. Many come with collapsible stools on which to sit while they sketch. Then there is their book store, with books on everything from fashion design to furniture design. For those of you who have never had the opportunity to visit the V & A, this will give you some idea why we like to return there so often. Sometimes in these days of concern over copyright, particularly in quilting circles, it is forgotten that this method of studying the work of the masters is time-honoured and incredibly valuable, in honing one's own sense of design. So
much can be learned this way, about one's preferences for line and shape, texture and colour. The art in it comes from putting all that learning together with skill and practice and experience in learning a variety of techniques, to create one's own work.

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