The Textile That Is Barcelona

Never have I seen a city that is more like fabric, or specifically, like art cloth. Shimmering with light and sparkle, layered with pattern upon pattern. Of course, much of that is due to the master, Antoni Gaudi, architect magician, who somehow imprinted much of the city with his spirit, an influence that lasts to this very moment of street graffiti and orange and black taxis that zip around like shiny beetles through the otherwise reserved for pedestrians streets of Born, the old Gothic city where we are staying.

From street patterns to walls, to layers upon layers of light, color and texture, I think no textile artist could leave this city of wrinkles and weaves without a trunk of ideas and inspirations. Much of the iconography is itself inspired by nature, a string strand in the work of Gaudi and his collaborators and disciples.

Then add to the mix the many stalls and storelets selling trinkets and beads, baubles and tiles, Indian gauzes and cotton pareas, Thai pantaloons and touristic renditions of shawls and fans and polka dotted flamenco shoes. And then in a twinkle of the eye, you come across a solemn plaza of stone and citadel, or make a turn onto the human river of La Rambla, walled with flower stalls and cafe chairs.

Crowning the entire affair is, no doubt, Park Guell, Gaudi's home garden project for 20 years. Here are the tiles and mosaics, "practice" columns (I think) for Sagrada Familia, and layered gardens that flow in bands of color and texture as far as the eye can see.