Every heroine must follow a secret recipe to become a legend; such a person should embrace stamina, talent, creativity, strength and wits, to name a few. After overcoming a number of challenges, victory makes her a legend. At least, that is how I would describe a heroine,, and how pleased I was when I got the chance to meet one; Pat Albeck, whose prolific career was celebrated at the Fashion and Textile Museum last Thursday evening.
The lady took to the stand as part of the Designing Heroines’ lecture series that the Museum is hosting for three Thursday evenings staring 17th May. As a volunteer tour guide for the Museum, I offered my assistance for this event and was lucky enough to get involved with In Conversation with Pat Albeck. The atmosphere in the fashion studio was warm and welcoming, and you could detect a sense of familiarity within the crowd, almost as if you were caught in an inside joke; I suppose orange (Pat Albeck's favourite colour, which she was wearing that night) really does transmit enthusiasm - the minute Pat Albeck started talking I couldn't stop smiling.
The lecture was mediated by the Museum curator Dennis Nothdruft. As he presented Pat's designs on the projector, she commented on the detail behind each design she had created. There was a story to each one, and I grew even more fond of my favourites when I heard these stories from her, like Venice Fish market with the floating roses (Horrockses,1953). The iconic tea towels with lobsters and vegetable themes weren't forgotten either, and as I came to understood the humour behind her work, I saw her personality present in the stroke of every brush.
The artist's style is free and organic, very organic. Motifs vary so much, and for Pat everything was considered as an inspiration, even if it meant hours of dedication. I consider her work very refreshing in comparison with her contemporaries, and I believe she mentioned that other artists were very much influenced by the Bauhaus school. I consider this influence rooted in the designers of this era, due to the Second World War and political climate at the time. However, it is very interesting to see how individuals found creative opportunities in such critical times. The motivation to recover from the devastation to create new things and progress into the future was high.
It was very inspiring to meet the woman whose work celebrates an anniversary in this Diamond Jubilee year. I truly admire her versatility as an artist, and the way she created so many different patterns while managing to stay true to her essence. It doesn't matter if your love for flowers has made you trace million of them through your life; what truly matters is the passion that went into making them. - so when you go back and read the stories behind these iconic designs, the flame burns bright once again.
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