Our first appointment of the week was bright and early Monday morning. We once again boarded the coach and headed to Bernard Thorp. This was a textile design and print factory. While there we learned the basic background of the company and how it was established. They produce textiles for many interior design firms. The company has grown tremendously since its establishment to a major producer of textile designs for home furnishings and also the printing of these textiles. Currently they produce textile designs with up to fifteen colors and can do custom color mixing. It only takes three to four weeks for an order. Color and fabric determines the price of an order, but on average it is about $70 per yard.
The best part of the appointment was being able to see the process of the textile printing with the stencils and paint being used. I had no previous knowledge of this process and was very thankful they were willing to demonstrate it for our group. The showroom was so overwhelming to me with the high volume of textiles it supplied. I was amazed at how many different stencil designs that this one company had produced. Overall after attending of the other appointments, this was by far my favorite. I feel that I learned the most because it was an area that I knew little about. It was also very informative due to the fact that we were able to “see them in action”. Needless to say, I left Bernard Thorp very educated.
That afternoon was spent visiting Kensington Palace in which we walked through with an audio-guided tour. There we also saw a special exhibit dedicated to Princess Diana. The exhibit showcased a collection of dresses that she wore to events. Each dress was specially chosen as to show a different side of her personality. The exhibit also included photos taken by photographer Mario Testino. These photographs were taken during the very last photo shoot that Princess Diana attended before her tragic death. Testino wanted her personality to shine through, so she was dressed in simple attire, with no jewelry and minimal makeup. The photographs were also meant to represent her as “normal” person without authority and high status. She had overcome her divorce and Testino wanted to represent her as the free soul and independent woman that she was.
Afterwards we walked across the grounds to the Orangery. There we were served traditional English breakfast tea, which is my true love! I have never liked coffee, nor do my parents so I have grown up on hot tea. In London I discovered that the tea is ten times better than in America, even the tea from the gas station was surprisingly great. At the Orangery we were also served scones with jam and fruitcake, which were so rich that I couldn’t manage to eat all of it.
Later that afternoon during our free time a group of us went to explore the shops along Bayswater Road and ended up shopping around Whiteley’s Mall. Afterwards and in search for dinner, we had our first experience on the Underground. This was my first time being on any type of subway system to my surprise it very easy to quickly get the hang of it and learn my way around it directionally.