TextileTopia, Part Two

In my last post, I introduced you to the perfect textile study destination, as I imagine it.  I hope you join us for Part Two.
Good morning!  I hope your room was to your liking.  Isn’t it amazing how you can stay up half the night working on a project, and yet feel fully rested the next morning?  More TextileTopia magic.
This morning let me take you down to the east end of our location; that is where we have our main food court.  Of course there are all kinds of choices and they are presented as little works of art.
Sometimes we gather here for special event dinners, like a 1905 Football Dinner, or The Feast of Seven Tables.
While you are eating, you can view the exhibits in the galleries all around the food court —  we may be displaying Mexican textiles from the 1930s, or raffia cloth from Africa, or work by a current online art group called The Endeavourers.  Quite often we exhibit dolls, or textiles shown in other media, such as painting or sculpture.
And while you’re taking all of that in, let me also mention that this eastern end of our complex offers every supply and sundry you could wish for — extending in both directions from the food court, we have quilt shops, imported textile shops, yarn shops, florists, bakeries, bookshops, coffee shops, and so on, even a shipping center so you can send off any donations or show entries.
Now that you’ve had some food for thought along with your breakfast, you may be ready to see more of the study options available.  Leaving the food court, you will see that we have large class spaces.  One is an amphitheater, where you may hear from a cross stitch designer, a sailmaker, or an internet security expert warning us about fake fabric merchants.   This space also hosts art performances such as an opera about a handkerchief and a 1917 Broadway musical about working women.
The other class space is for hands-on classes, but we haven’t used that space as much as I thought we would.  Whenever I try to teach anything myself, the lesson is always “I failed to think about this detail, and that resulted in this problem.”  There are some guest teachers I rely on, including Mary of ZippyQuilts for the foundations of quilting, Melanie McNeil for precision piecing of medallion quilts, Kerry Sanger for the irresistible fusion quilt, Joanna Mack for art quilting, Kate Chiconi for the quilt-as-you-go technique, and Doreen for gorgeous free-motion quilting.  The beauty of TextileTopia is that those teachers are available whenever you need a tutorial, a tip, or an inspiration.
We are now coming to the central crossing.  To the north is a section I always love to visit, the Living History Area.  Right now we have a reconstruction of a medieval European town, complete with market place, guild hall and chapel. We show what materials and technique were used in a given era, and this is where we also highlight ceremonial and display textiles — textiles whose main function was to demonstrate power or devotion.

A Netherlands tapestry, from the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

The tapestry detail is interesting in its own right.

The dappled leaves look very modern.

So, like I said, right now we are exhibiting a medieval town, but from time to time we redo the whole wing, and you might also find a reconstruction of a Minoan weaving shed or a World War II resistance refuge here.  We have plans for future exhibits on the Silk Road and a Pre-Colombian village.
Outside, the Living History theme continues, with a large pond where we can test out sail designs on scale model sailing ships.
Crossing back through Living History, we have one more wing to visit, the south wing.  This is our Life Balance Area.  No one can be creative all the time, without doing things to stay healthy and replenish their systems.  Craftspeople tend to do small repetitive motions, so to help you stave off muscle cramps, this wing has a gym, a pool, and a sauna.  I am partial to indoor cycling and yoga myself, but I am sure we can arrange for whatever kind of exercise you like.  Getting your blood circulating will help you break through any artist’s block, too.
In this wing there are also all kinds of places for Artist Dates that will encourage your muse, including a movie theater that regularly shows The Muse, as well as art and fashion documentaries, and wonderful old films like Fashions of 1934, Roberta, and Casablanca There is nothing like seeing these old masterpieces on the big screen.  Costume designers who can make fashions look fabulous in just black and white, are masters who deserve to be studied.
And through the magic of imagination, Golden Age movies that never really existed (but that should have! and I can’t stress that enough), can actually appear on the screen as well.

Other non-textile galleries we offer are an aquarium, an architectural salvage warehouse, a butterfly pavilion, a glass gallery, and a mineral display.  I hope you find them inspiring!

Outside the building is our transportation area, where we leave to go on great field trips to places like the Texas Quilt Museum, or to see the murals of Fort Smith, Arkansas.
I think that gives you plenty of information to start you on your explorations.  Enjoy your time with us!
Okay, now is where we come back to reality.  You may think that I have spent a lot of time on daydreams here, but it really has served two practical purposes.  I dabble in a lot of different topics in my blog, and structuring my thinking this way helps me to see how best to present a topic, and to evaluate whether I am balancing topics, or emphasizing one direction too much.
And also, this is almost my 500th post!  (Right now it is my 498th, but I think I am going to remove some old off-topic posts, so it will probably drop in number.)  So this is my version of a TV clip show, where the characters look back at where they have been. Most of the links in these two posts are just to my own work, but in those previous posts, you will find a lot of links to amazing sources on the web.  (I have even been interviewed by a newspaper columnist because he wanted to know how a hobbyist found herself doing so much research.)
I have enjoyed revisiting topics, and I have lots of ideas about where I would like to go in the future.  Thank you all so much for reading and commenting, and a special thank you to those of you who also blog, and give me lots of information and ideas!