I had a day in London yesterday visiting the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the V&A. It was super popular and quite crowded but I was thrilled to have finally got there at last. Nothing could have prepared me for how emotional I would feel actually being so close up to all her paintings, clothes, photos and belongings. I’m a sensitive soul even at the best of times and being there felt such a privilege but also rather sad and strange as the items on display were so incredibly personal to her and I felt a bit like I was intruding in her personal life. I saw her perfume bottles, her silver rings, her nail varnish and little dolly. To also see her hand painted corsets close up was almost too much for me and I was holding back my tears. To also see the work she produced after her many miscarriages was also hard to see - in fact, I felt very sad indeed and at one point wanted to leave the room. (Did anyone else feel such sadness too?) I’m not sure many of us would have had the gritty courage she had enduring 32 surgeries. I’ve known about and been fascinated by the life of Frida since my student days - ( her tenacity and strength to continue through the most painful of circumstances after her horrific accident, her open marriage to Diego Rivera, bohemian lifestyle, bisexuality, friendships with Josephine Baker and Trotsky) so I guess finally being so close up to her clothes, necklaces, photos, letters and artwork felt quite like a dream.A few days before Frida Kahlo died on July 13th 1954 she wrote in her diary: "I hope the exit is joyful - and I hope never to return - Frida". I can honestly say that this exhibition has been the most powerful and moving exhibition I’ve EVER been to and a memory I shall treasure for the rest of my life.
I had such an overwhelming response on Instagram when I posted this photo that I wanted to share a bit more of the process.
It’s our routine to have a family trip out every Saturday for coffee and cake - time to spend away from social media to chat. I always have a pens and paper in my bag as my daughter and I often like to doodle together. This time I took some fabric for a change and we doodled little faces. It’s always fun as our daughter always draws me and my parter first and then our cats. I then usually do the same in my style. (And we all agree that her style is far the best!!)
I always use fine line Muji pens (0.5 or 0.38) as they don’t smudge and you can get a great fine line.
While our daughter sleeps, I stay up till late sewing making the fabric into little lavender bags - first I cut the little illustrated panels into little squares and rectangles, place them face down onto plain cotton and sew around three sides. The tricky part is turning them inside out. I then iron them (don’t use any spray as the ink will bleed!) folding the un-sewn edges under. I the stuff them with lavender and sew up the gap. (When I’m not wanting to surprise my daughter, she’ll usually love to stuff them too!)
Not only are these little treasures visually, they’re also special memories of happy family times when we have quality time together. The little chats we have when doodling are like no other. I can honestly say that these little creative moments spent with my family are amongst the best snippets of my week!