I’m a fan – of fans!

3 Feb

Fan Museum Little Miss Married 3

After signing up to it at the end of last year, today was finally the day when I returned to the wonderful Fan Museum in Greenwich for my fan-making taster class. I’d been feeling a little silly all week when I told people what I was going to be getting up to at the weekend because surely fan-making is just pleating a piece of paper, which anyone can do, right? Wrong! The course began with an introduction by Helene Alexander, the museum’s founder, to the history of the fan, its different styles, and the varieties of materials used to make them over the years and then it was over to us (a group of six) to try and replicate the traditional Chinese and Fontange shapes ourselves. I’d treated myself to two beautiful papers from Libertys, especially for the course – one a vintage-looking map of central London; the other an intricate Oriental-themed pattern. What I hadn’t realised it that when you print paper, it distorts the image meaning straight lines become curved and colours richer and more intense. There’s also a real skill required in attaching the spokes of the fan to the paper, and ensuring it opens and closes correctly; there’s so much more to fans than meets the eye. After three hours, we all had two fans to take home. If you look closely, mine aren’t perfect but, for a first attempt, I’m pretty pleased with the results. I’m planning to frame them and put them on display. Fans are works of art, after all. Check out these examples from the museum’s latest ‘The Fan in Europe: 1800-1850’ exhibition – stunning.

Fan Museum Little Miss Married 1

Fan Museum Little Miss Married 2

thefanmuseum.org.uk

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