Anyone fancy soaking up some costume artistry? Gazing long and lovingly at some historic fashion, in particular? I’ve volunteered to co-ordinate a small group of enthusiasts to visit the Fashion Museum here in Bath for a great little initiative called Slow Art Day on the morning of Saturday 16th April.
Founder of the event, Phil Terry, set out to break the common cycle of exhibition overload, whereby an average visitor (spending an average 8 seconds looking at an average exhibit) emerges from a museum tired not inspired. By slowing things down, he reasoned, one can learn the secret understood by experts, curators, artists and educators everywhere: that looking slowly can transform your experience.
Well, I’ve spoken to the publicist at the Fashion Museum, and she’s keen on the concept. All I need to find is a few costume/needlework/dressmaking/sewing/clothes-wearing enthusiasts to pad out a little group. All welcome! You don’t need any expertise at all, just an interest. We’ll be looking at a handful of items (5-10) over a couple of hours, allocating 5-10 minutes per item, hence the ‘slow’ tag. We don’t need to go around in a group; in fact, it makes sense not to as we’d clog the museum. But we’ll gather somewhere close by afterward (probably the nice cafe within the museum) for a light lunch and to compare notes on what we’ve seen. Hopefully, we’ll all emerge with new insights.
The downside, if there is one, is that we all pay for our own entry tickets and lunch (now you see why the publicist was keen!). But the big upside is a gathering of like minds and the glorious sense of confounding our hurly-burly culture for a couple of hours.
Looking at the Slow Art Day site, I note that this may be the only Slow Art event happening in the UK. What began in New York in April 2009 with just 4 people staring hard at items in the MoMA appears to be growing into a global phenomenon. It seems perfectly fitting – given the laid-back, leisurely reputation of Bath – that we should spearhead this initiative here and show the UK how to decelerate effectively to a dawdle. If you’re reading this from somewhere else in the UK (or indeed the world) and can’t or won’t get to Bath, please consider hosting your own Slow Art Day event. It’s really very simple to do.
If you feel inclined to drag your feet with me at the Fashion Museum, do get in touch by leaving a comment below, emailing me (eirlysATscrapianaDOTcom) or just sign up direct here. You’d be very welcome to suggest items for the group’s scrutiny, otherwise I’ll scour the museum’s collection and send out a little list the week before. Hope to see you on 16th!
Photo by kind permission of Your Wardrobe Unlock’d and the Fashion Museum, Bath & NE Somerset Council