This week I had my early birthday present - two days on my own in Melbourne. I flew down this time (it is less than an hour's flight) early Wednesday morning and came back Thursday night after two days of eating, shopping and doing exactly what I wanted whenever it took my fancy!! Heaven.
The main reason was the Making the Australian Quilt exhibition at the NGV. It was excellent - I don't get to see historical quilts, mainly because there aren't many around in Australia - and this was beautifully displayed and very informative. And not many people there, so I could get up close, and peer at them for as long as I wanted, and mutter to myself about how they were made.
I also went to the 200 years of Australian Fashion exhibition which was on the floor below, which was also very good. Much more crowded, but still fabulous. They had some unbelievable clothes from the very first years of European settlement - on proper mannequin forms, not behind glass, and mostly you could go right around them and get a good look at the construction and the materials. Of course what I really wanted to do was pick them up and turn the hems over and turn them inside out ... but no. I kept my hands in my pockets for extra safety. Same as with the quilts ... too tempting.
Other than that, I just did a lot of wandering around, poking around shops, eating at little cafes at unlikely times and walking slowly, staring at the buildings. I went down Bridge Road to visit the outlet stores (and bought a completely unnecessary pale pink wool winter coat, so frivolous but so pretty), and down Brunswick St for breakfast. I stayed at the Windsor, which has spent the last 150 years happily accommodating middle-aged ladies who come into town for an exhibition and some shopping. It has old-fashioned decor, high ceilings, hyacinths on the hall tables and a nice man in a top hat and frock coat who opens the door and helps you find a taxi. I took a photo of the hyacinths.
I also went to the Degas exhibition which is the current big one at the NGV. There were heaps and heaps of works, and lots of information, and it was very comprehensive and Degas is obviously a wonderful artist ... but it did leave me a bit cold. Lots of shapes and form and movement and colour ... but not much personality, of either the artist or the subjects. An odd kind of portraiture, I think, to perfectly capture the shape of an arm (or a bum, so many bottoms) but leave no idea of the person the arm belongs to. I'm glad I saw it, but it didn't grab me the way others have in the past.
It was a wonderful two days and I must do it again. Maybe Sydney next time? Adelaide? Hobart?