Pattern Treasure #1

Wall inside Palau de la Musica
Carrer de Septimania, close to Pl. Lesseps.

This is the first post of a new fixed section in this blog, the Pattern Treasure, where I'll share the very inspiring patterns I come across in the city. I'll try to provide the exact address, so you can see them in person too!


Palau de la Musica: patterns to die for

Pattern lovers be aware: you might die of happiness when visiting Palau de la Musica.
Both the outside and the inside of the building are filled with the most colorful and bizarre decorations in mosaics, stained glasswork, ceramics, stone and woodcarvings. Even if you don't want to pay for the guided visit that would let you into the splendid auditorium, I recomend that you enter the foyer anyway to have a peek, and then go to the cafè situated on the ground floor, which is a beautiful space too.
The Auditorium
Restaurant and Cafè


Museum Frederic Marès

If you like nineteenth century paraphernalia you'll love Museum Frederic Marès. Located just behind the cathedral this museum shows the collections donated by sculptor Frederic Marès, who spent his life collecting all sorts of curious objects. So be prepared to get lost among myriads of women's accessories like fans, gloves, stockings, jewellery, hairpins, bouquet holders, dance cards, beaded bags and pouches... and endless photographs, dolls, dioramas, miniature theaters and tiny pop up cards, just to name a few... 
For the textile lover this is indeed an interesting place to visit. Many of the objects shown incorporate some needlework and one of the rooms shows a beautiful collection of embroidery samplers. There are also examples of bizarre crafts like human hair embroidery.

The museum also houses an important collection of sculpture with great examples of medieval wooden imagery. Browsing all the collections is fascinating but also a bit of an overload. After that you might want to relax in their outdoor cafe, open from May to September.
 (Remember: free entrance every Sunday after 3 p.m and all day long every first Sunday of the month!)


La Barcelana yarn shop

One of my favorite yarn shops in Barcelona is La Barcelana. It's definitely one of the first places I go when looking for yarn. They carry the Argentinian brand Yanabey. The yarn is sold in skeins that usually weight around 200 grams and prices are really convenient. 
They also sell hand woven items and teach weaving classes. If you are a weaver in Barcelona this is a nice address to take into account. 
(pictures from website)


Els Encants, the flea market

Els Encants is probably the most popular flea market in Barcelona.
Located close to Jean Nouvel's Torre Agbar this market attracts thousands of visitors, specially on Saturday morning. It's quite a big place so allow at least a couple of hours if you want to visit it properly.
All sorts of things are sold in this market, so expect to find a very messy mix of everything old and new, in good condition or totally ruined, nicely displayed or just thrown on the ground... But that's the good thing about flea markets, isn't it? You never know what you can find. In this post I'm going to point out its potential as a source for cheap fabrics and trimmings, but of course it's also a good place to go if you are looking for furniture, books, flamenco dresses or 80's porn.

If you get there from Els Encants metro station you'll see a street closed to the traffic right ahead of you (Carrer Dos de Maig). This is the central walkway of the market where most of the stalls sell new things. There are four or five stalls selling fabric from as cheap as 1 euro a metre. Quality varies a lot, but chances are that you'll find some nice pieces. Some of them also carry haberdashery items and one of them is specially indicated for self-made belly dancing dresses or anything that requires lots of sparkle.
On the right hand side of the street you'll probably see people queuing to buy churros, a typical fried pastry snack. Get some too and ruin your diet! :-)
Just past the churros stand there is an entrance to the largest area of the market. Here the stalls sell everything old and new. I would point out a few places for crafty purposes: a patchwork fabric stall with prices ranging from 5 to 17 euros a metre and another stall selling scraps of leather and suede. Apart from that you'll find other stalls selling buttons, yarn and trimmings. Occasionally you might find some art materials too. 
Opposite this large area there is a smaller one with narrow alleys where most of the furniture shops concentrate. One of them is specialized in old sewing machines. Both areas have accesses from Plaza de las Glories too. 
The market is open on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 7 to 17 h. So, keep an eye on your wallet/bag (pickpockets love this place) and enjoy browsing the thousands of objects!
If you go, let us know what you found in the comments section! Last time I went I bought some Polish folk art.



A place you shouldn't miss in your trip to Barcelona is Vinçon. Located in a heritage building dating from the turn of the century in Passeig de Gracia, next door to Gaudí's stunning Casa Milà and not far from Casa Batlló, this shop sells contemporary design products for the home. Over the years they have been expanding their premises and today the shop has a huge floor sales space with entrances from different streets. But probably the space that will impress you more is the first floor, the former residence of a well-off family, now housing the Furniture department. They a massive and bizarre fireplace you won't forget.
The shop is also known for their original window displays. Inside, you'll also have the chance to visit an exhibition space, La Sala Vinçon and their nicely decorated outdoor space, from where you can see the back of Casa Milà.
(images by Vinçon)


Textile and Fashion Museum

The third museum housed in Pedralbes is the Textile and Fashion Museum. What you will see on display is a permanent exhibition called "Dressing the body”. Through a collection of mannequins and both female and male outfits from the 16th century to the present day the exhibition explains how clothes modify the image of the body with certain actions that have tended to either restrict or liberate it. Their website also offers an interesting database of contemporary jewellery design. 
*Don't forget: admission is free every Sunday from 3 p.m and all day long on the first Sunday of the month*

Museum of Decorative Arts

Another museum to visit if you go to the Palace of Pedralbes is the Museum of Decorative ArtsThe permanent exhibition presents a chronological itinerary in two parts. The first part shows the evolution of decorative art objects from the Romanesque to Romanticism, and the birth of product design with the Industrial Revolution. The second part focuses on the development of industrial design in Spain.
An useful tool on their website is the searchable database of the industrial design collection where you can see every object in detail. Some of those objects are not displayed in the museum
*Don't forget: admission is free every Sunday from 3 p.m and all day long on the first Sunday of every month*