Thursday, June 26, 2008

In......'the Devil's Workshop.'

I visited the Hawke’s Bay Museum & Art Gallery this morning and was very taken with their giant word – museum (no surprises there) emblazoned across one side of the building. I could hardly use the excuse that I was late because I couldn’t find the place. No surprise either, that I wasn’t allowed to take photographs inside, which is a pity because I’d love to show the set of works that I was spellbound by. They were on display as part of “Idle Hands are the Devil’s Workshop” – and were a series of large suspended banners by the late Lilla Esam, a widow who lived in Hawke’s Bay, raising her family and running an orchard until her death in the 1940s. Beautiful in their subtlety and detail, they depicted a wide range of scenes and images and…wait for it….. they were made entirely of postage stamps stuck onto linen banners to create a mosaic of image and pattern. They give stamp collecting a whole new meaning! I adored them and a walked away wondering how many other ordinary New Zealand households are repositories for astonishing feats of creativity. The show is on until July 20 so if you’re in Napier and you fancy yourself as a philatelist – or even if you don’t – make sure you see them.

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