After years of planning, months of preparing, and weeks of installing, the last Fabric of India case has officially been closed . Two-hundred-odd objects were successfully installed over 14 straight days, by a team of dozens of people. Exhibition coordinators, contractors, technicians, textile conservators, designers, and curators all worked tirelessly to ensure everything came together in time. And now, after two weeks of frenzy, the exhibition is ready and waiting for next weekend’s first visitors.
Having spent so much time with the exhibition’s objects, it was really only natural for us all to start picking favourites; objects we found excuses to visit again and again (is that another smudge on its glass?), and took extra delight in seeing mounted and lit in all their glory.
All this week, in recognition of the people who worked so hard to make The Fabric of India so beautiful, we’d like to share a few of our favourite things with you. Who knows, maybe one of them will end up being your favourite too?
Elizabeth-Anne Haldane, Senior Textile Conservator
Favourite object: Embroidered child’s dress
“I have lots of favourite objects but I’ve chosen this little green dress with red embroidery because I love the vibrant colour combination, and if it was in my size I’d want to wear it!”
Gitta Gschwendtner, Exhibition Designer
Favourite object: Bundle of madder roots
“I love the ordered chaos of the twigs, and the fact that something so brown and ordinary-looking can produce such vivid colour.”
Rachel Lee, Assistant Conservator
Favourite object: Elephant patola
“It’s been a labour of love – a really challenging treatment. About 300 hours of conservation treatment has gone into conserving it, and many of those hours were spent underneath the table checking the alignment of the support fabric and that the stitching was on grain. But to see it now displayed, it feels like it was a life-saving treatment because it never could have gone on display without it. So seeing the elephants in their full glory makes it all worthwhile.”
Richard Ashbridge, Technical Services Team Manager
Favourite object: Tipu’s Tent
“It’s that real team effort and the real expertise of everyone pushing what’s possible to the limit. It’s a real sense of a achievement.”
Roisin Morris, Senior Textile Conservator
Favourite object: Wall hanging
“The shapes are simple, the colours bold and being surrounded by it just makes you smile.”
Rohit Kotecha, Gallery Attendant
Favourite object: Bollywood costume
“I like this type of costume because of the weddings I attend. It reminds me of my son’s wedding.”
Marit van der Gevel, Graphic Designer
Favourite object: Shrine flag
“I like it because it is very expressive and therefore very different from most of the other objects that are more detailed. It’s a very nice contrast to the other objects in the exhibition.”
Favourite object: Manish Arora ensemble
“I think it’s a masterpiece.”
Sophie Manhire, Technician
Favourite object: Poppy floorspread
“It was the first object I installed on my first day as a V&A technician!”
We’ll be revealing more of our favourite things every day until Saturday, when the doors finally swing open and you are free to come and pick your own favourites!