After a quick lunch we then moved on to Carrow House Costume and Textile Study Centre. We were treated to a wonderful array of historical textiles from dresses to pin cushions and a huge range of samplers such as this school sampler dating back to 1832.
One of the most fascinating exhibits was this unusual sampler completed by Lorina Bulwer around 1900. It is a pieced work about 1 foot x 12 foot that contains a hand stitched letter worked while she was imprisoned in the workhouse at Great Yarmouth. I think this made an impression on all of us there and we were particularly struck by how contemporary it looked.
It reminded me of the work of Arthur Bispo do Rosario, who spent fifty years of his life in a Rio de Janeiro psychiatric hospital. He would use unravelled threads of his hospital uniform to embroider onto blankets and sheets, often including passages of text as in the piece below.
We were then shown some of the items from their handling section including a huge Norwich shawl. To demonstrate why the shawls were so big Ruth asked for a volunteer to don a crinoline skirt... well someone had to do it! (Thank you Miriam for the photo!)
We finished our day with a lovely meal and then on Saturday morning made our way to Dragon Hall for the conference. The subject was Concepts and Meanings and we were treated to a fabulous day of inspiring talks and lectures as well as some interesting exercises from Les Bicknell designed to unleash our creativity (my students be warned... I'm planning some of these for you and they involve a wire coat hanger!) We got to see some fabulous work including that of Debbie Lyddon who uses music to inspire her work.