In the summer i went to the Picasso exhibition at the Tate Liverpool. It was amazing! It is always a great experience to stand and look at something that has been created by someone who was so talented and so famous, and i did feel that i was looking at individual pieces of history, each painting telling a story, having a meaning, making a difference.

There is something quite nurturing about ‘looking back’, and re visiting our youths, or even times that have preceded us by many years.It’s as if we feel reassured to know that all this has gone before us? In our critical studies lectures we have discussed whether or not the important times are here and now, and the future, or whether or not there is anything to be gained in looking back into the past.Two lecturers delivered the talk, both with totally opposing views, one lecturer had just spent the summer running ‘lost skills’ projects where people attended and learned a skill that wasn’t used as much as it used to be like crochet,crafting in felt, hand set type faces etc, and she was greatly in favour of using skills that we have already learned and keeping them alive , where as the other tutor was very much a futurist, and believed that there was no point in looking back ,that life was all about progress and moving forward, and that we were constantly creating a better and better world for us to live in. He poked fun at the other tutors opinions as if she was being ‘twee and out of date’, and yet to my mind he was just ‘missing’ the point.

My opinion on the matter is that if we think that the decisions we make today are not based on decisions we have made in the past then we are totally deluding ourselves.It is a natural thing for us to want to progress in life, maybe this comes from a feeling of dissatisfaction or a curiosity as to whether or not we can make life even better, i’m not sure, but what i do know is that quite often in our bid to create the ‘instant society’ that so many of us seem to crave we often do this at the expense of quality and create a much inferior product.The quick, rushed job often results in a product that often only has, at the most, half the life of the previous models.We seem to sacrifice quality for speed and lower costs, and yet as a lot of products now become obsolete so quickly, we seem to now be living in a disposable society!

Is it wrong to have pride in our skills, and to take pride in our work? Would we be quite happy to pay for beauty and quality as well as usefulness? Everything seems to be going faster and faster, food is served in minutes, people eat at the same speed – and then we suffer with indigestion and ulcers, should we be surprised? Cars are designed to reach speeds that are not allowed on our roads, motorways emerge everywhere to get us to our destination quicker,but maybe it’s not all about getting it quickly…..

 

maybe it’s about keeping it as well?

 

When we came out of the exhibition we called in at a little mini exhibition which was a building that had been recreated as a ‘war time’ house. There was something quite wonderful about this house, the homeliness that was created just by the fixtures and fittings, and the memories that were brought streaming back as i envisaged walking into my Grandmas front room years ago,i felt a definite twinge in my heart. I remember her house being like that when i went to visit on a Sunday, where the only noise was the ticking clock or the sound of tea cups clinking in the kitchen whilst she got the tea ready. I know i would pay to have just one more day with her, and maybe thats part of our affinity with the past, but even if it is it is enough to not ignore it, and dispose of it into the nearest skip as some of us would have us do!!

 

drying underwear over the stove!

 

 

 

The kitchen

The 'best' room!

Life before duvets!

 

 

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