You may be out and about in Germany, and find it too warm to be outdoors too long,
If so, check out a few museums while you’re at it. If you’re in Frankfurt, check out the Museum of Applied Art’s exhibition (above) on Jil Sander.
If you’re in Dusseldorf, pop in to have a look see at the Anni Albers (master weaver who started out in the Bauhaus) retrospective at the K20 museum. Runs til September 9, 2018.
If you’re in Hamburg, a leisurely stroll through the Museum of Art and Design’s (MK&G) current exhibition: Mobile Worlds,
…exhibition concept … questions the Eurocentric order of Western museums: Rather than classify objects according to epochs, geographies, art and non-art, the exhibition focuses on the global movement of objects, people and ideas past and present and the associated intertwining of cultural forms and worlds of life. This perspective reflects the social, cultural and political complexity of post-migrant society.
And if you’re in the South West, consider visiting the Jewelry Museum in The Goldcity, Pforzheim. Not only does their collection take one through five thousand years of jewelry, but they currently are showing “Jeweled Splendors of the Art Deco Era. The Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan Collection.” Who can say no to looking at Art deco? Runs til January 2019.
Keep cool and stay hydrated!
If you see this symbol on shop or café windows, it means you can fill up your water bottle for free.
When it’s as warm as it has been last week in Germany, it’s great museum weather. Well, so I thought. A few days ago, I took part in a Museum night (buy a ticket and have entry to museums, events, tours between 6pm and midnight). To celebrate 20 years of Museum nights, many museums dug deep into their archives to come up with something related to 20. The Natural History Museum for instance had an exhibit about hippos in the Rhine back when the Rhine was 20 degrees Celsius (68F). Very fitting considering the temperatures today.
We went to the City Gallery, the Baden State Museum and the museum of Applied Art in Karlsruhe. While textile museums can be few and far between, Applied Art museums (Angewandte Kunst) will often have a few textile pieces, and are generally great at putting art and design into context.
We caught a tour called ‘The 20 years that influenced Art History- 1890-1910’ and saw this lovely tapestry by Edward Burne-Jones.
KAZAN, RUSSIA – JUNE 27: Mesut Oezil of Germany reacts during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group F match between Korea Republic and Germany at Kazan Arena on June 27, 2018 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images, )
In honour of France’s triumph, winning their second star at the FIFA World Cup Football championship, I thought I’d take a look at knitting in my neighbour country! But then the Trevor Noah thing happened. And then the Mesut Özil thing happened here in Germany. So I went from “Yay!” to “Yeah!” to “Whaaaat?!”
Apparently, Trevor made a joke on his New York based comedy show, The Daily Show, about the win being a win for Africa. The French Ambassador took offence, and wrote him a strict letter, which Noah read on-air and replied to.
At that point, I wasn’t sure I would post here, even though I believe Trevor hit the nail on the head about immigration and the fundamental question each immigrant faces: assimilation vs integration, and what that really means in practical terms. It is not only France, that feels more comfortable if an immigrant sloughs off his/her previous identity to adopt that of the new homeland. Germany does too. And now, that balloon has popped: Mesut Özil.
Of course, I could be cynical and point out the famous Summer news hole (Sommerloch – slow news cycle), where there’s not much going on, so strange topics fill the news in late July-early August, but it’s an important point.
While most folks think Özil shouldn’t have been hanging out with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, his scapegoating for Germany’s poor World Cup showing was uncalled for. And he’s thrown in the towel. He feels discriminated against, as is clear from his Twitter statement.
Which brings me back to a film about the same topic: life for immigrants in Europe, “The African Doctor”/ Bienvenue à Marly-Gomont. The film is about a medical student from Zaïre, who tries to open up a practice in northern France in the 1970s and the difficulties of integration he and his family faces. The happy ending is ONLY secured because the villagers don’t want to lose their most talented footballer.
The film is based on a true experiences of French-Congolese musician Kamini. It’s billed as a comedy and was fairly popular in both France and Germany. Although the film probably won’t be released in UK or US cinemas (please correct me if I’m wrong) due to racial sensibilities, it has been reviewed positively.
What struck me, was what the family, especially the wife (played by Aïssa Maïga) had to give up to follow her husband to France. This of course was glossed over and left uncommented on in the movie: she left her family behind, her comfortable upper middle class existence in Zaïre only to be confronted with people’s backward stereotypes.
On the upside, the 1970s was full of brightly coloured knits and crochets. Emmanuelle Youchnovski did a lovely job capturing the vibrancy of the cosmopolitan world citizens of the 1970s and telling the story of the clash of two worlds through the textiles.
Now, thanks to the Sommerloch, we now have a #Metwo tag and moment, where people with diverse backgrounds can talk about racism and discrimination in Germany. Things won’t change overnight, but it’s a start in the right direction.
This year, it seems I’ve done quite a bit of knitting and thinking about knitting, colour, yarn, and fashion… Oh, I’ve just finished up my twisted stirrup socks in time for autumn. Now, I just have to decide which of my WiPs to finish up next…
My kids absolutely hate the thought of doing anything remotely school-related during the summer. And that includes reading anything that could possibly be edifying or remotely educating in any way. I, on the other hand, like to stock up on books throughout the year so that I have something nearby to read, when the days get too sticky and muggy for me to even contemplate taking up a knitting needle.
Here are a few books (fiction and non-fiction), that I’ve read in summers past, that I can recommend, and what’s on my ‘reading now’ part of the bookshelf… What are you reading this summer?
Books to Change how we see People
Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. The reading of this taught me that gender does not have anything to do with love, friendship and heroism. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. Fascinating what behavioral scientists learn about us humans. Going, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck. Recently translated German bestseller about Germany’s attempt to come to grips with what immigration really means.
Books to Change how we see the world around us The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. Another translated bestseller written by a forester about how trees grow, form friendships, raise their kids and have a different sense of time than we do. The Swarm: A Novel by Frank Schätzing. Packed with research and action, bringing science fiction and environmentalism together. I would love this to be filmed.
On My Bookshelf Limit by Frank Schatzing. My son gave this to me as a gift, and it’s a bit of a doorstop. Book of Knitting Patterns by Mary Thomas – I jump backwards and forwards trying to envision these timeless patterns in modern yarns living in my stash at the moment. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat. Because it’s lovely to laze somewhere in the shade and read about food and look at the gorgeous illustrations.
As I wrote earlier, the german title pretty much gave away the idea that they were trying to make an Amelie film, but I was looking forward to the knitwear. Which was a bit of a letdown, but I started thinking about why people love gardening, gardens, and what the film has tried to say about life.
Bella is an orphan, who was abandoned in a box in a park. That would make anyone anxious, I‘d imagine. Bella attempts to control her life by imposing extreme order on every aspect of her life. She doesn‘t want to let in any chaos, which brings us to gardens. Nature can be chaotic, unpredictable and well, wild. That‘s why humans developed order and culture to tame Nature in its various forms: none more lovely than the garden.
A garden is the creation of order from chaos. It’s the creation of a little paradise, or eden. A refuge from the wild or hectic hustle and bustle of daily life. A chance to centre oneself and reconnect with nature and one‘s self. In fact, it is only when Bella is able to reconnect with Nature through her garden, that she is able to connect with her own creativity and attain her goals of becoming a writer, making friends, finding love and overcoming that anxiety.
Although the garden shots were lovely (although whose point of view were the out of focus flowers supposed to represent?), there were too many references (the story in the story brought ‚The Little Prince’ to mind) to other works for this to shine on its own merits. It was predictable, but that can be comforting at times. If you want a little more excitement, look into how many instances of twinning or doubling you can spot throughout the film.
From gardening, it‘s a short jump back to crafting and knitting, because it‘s all about taking that „chaos“ or undefined potential and making something out of it. And that’s why I love knitting.
I ran into this Vogue cover today, and of course had to take it home. Not just because it is simply stunning, but also because it is actually quite rare for a black model to get the cover of Vogue Germany. While Vogue in the US and the UK are considered quite groundbreaking in pursuing diversity in Fashion, Vogue Germany hasn’t so much.
After a bit of digging, I found out how rare this is, and yet, there’s still a ways to go.
Iman for Vogue Germany June 1982
Naomi Cambell for Vogue Germany October 1994
Lois Samuels and others for Vogue Germany September 1997
A Brief History of Diversity of Vogue Germany Covers
Vogue Germany existed briefly toward the end of the Weimar Republic (1929-1930). It came back to Germany in 1979, following the brand’s acquisition by Conde Nast and the following worldwide expansion. The German language edition serves German-speaking Europe: Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Iman (above, left) was the first black model to grace the cover in June 1982. Of the fifteen times a black model has been on the cover (alone, in a collage or a group of models), Naomi Campbell (middle) is the clear winner, with 5 covers to her name. Special mention to Jamaican model Lois Samuels (right), because although she appeared with a group of models, she actually indirectly influenced the Cover title!
Every few years or so, Vogue Germany will have a black model on their cover. After Iman, came Jennifer Beals, Beverly Peele, Naomi Campbell, Lois Samuels, Kiara Kabukuru, Alek Wek (though sadly inside the fold), Arlenis Sosa, Lais Ribeiro, Liya Kebede, Yasmin Wijnaldum and now Nigerian Mayowa Nicholas. The first asian cover model was Ling Tan (November 1998). Not a lot, still nothing to sneeze at.
I’m hoping future covers of Vogue Germany will show how diverse German society has become in the last few years…
Have you seen the Guardian‘s article about the sustainable future of fashion? What practical developments are we likely to see in the knitting world in the near future?
Lucy Siegel lists among other things that new fibres will enter the market. Natural colours and dyes are on the upswing, recommerce and reusing will be more common, development of self-mending fibres, and garments made of organic materials will be treated like heirlooms.
Knitters are already doing many of these things. I for one, am looking forward to trying out pineapple fibre!