Monday, 15 November 2010

Days Out

On the days that I am at home and not out teaching I'm spending about 4-5 hours a day stitching the lace pages of my book so it made a welcome break to go to Norwich for a couple of days at the weekend for an ERTF study day and conference. On Friday we spent the morning at Norwich Cathedral with a member of the Broderer's Guild who showed us the fabulous range of ecclesiastical work carried out at the workshop. There was a combination of new commissions as well as restoration work.

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.

Two days full of inspiration for the "Concepts and Meanings" exhibition next year. But for now its back to the next couple of weeks... and an hours more stitching before bedtime!

13 comments:

  1. Embroidered work from this past always amazes me. How did they manage, especially with the lack of good daylight and perhaps eye sight in their later years.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It was a good weekend, your students are in for real treat. I think the coat hanger exercise trumps drawing with spaghetti...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Norwich Cathedral is so inspiring and so welcoming. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The sampler by Lorina Bulwer is amazing & thanks for the link about Arthur Bispo do Rosario - such fascinating work!

    ReplyDelete
  5. A wonderful couple of days by the look of it. Am saving the links you put in for later. Shall get in from work, make a coffee, grab a biscuit and sit and enjoy them........

    ReplyDelete
  6. That must have been a wonderful weekend. Thanks for the links and super photos. Lorina Bulwer's sampler is so humbling and very thought provoking. I am curious to see how a wire coathanger fits in to an exercise and have mine at the ready!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Lorina Bulwer's embroidered letter shocks and inspires me. Thanks v much for that.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a great post once again Gina. that embroidered letter is unbelievable and as you said, so very contempory in style.
    There was no way you could know that I live just a stone's throw away from Llan Rhos. I promise you that I'm not quite that old yet, but it's such a coincidence isn't it? Margaret Roberts :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow -- it looks like you had a wonderful weekend. I love seeing old needlework. That "prison" piece is amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sounds like quite an inspiring trip. Wish I could have come along!!
    Sometime when you get a chance, I'd love to know how exactly you incorporated the text into your textile pieces.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a fascinating weekend - thanks for sharing the great pictures :o)

    xxx

    ReplyDelete
  12. Such beautiful stitches...some in the midst of adversity.

    Thanks for posting.

    Susan

    ReplyDelete
  13. what a delight to see and the hand stitched letter is amazing. You look very fetching in your outfit:) Happy stitching - Judy x

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for leaving me a comment. I love to read what you have to say and try to reply directly by email when possible... although it sometimes takes me a while!