Wedding dresses through the ages

The Pump Room in Harrogate is always worth a visit, although I have never managed to sample the “health giving” waters. The smell is too much for me.

At the moment, there is another reason to visit. Until 15th September 2019, they have an exhibition of over 35 wedding dresses.

Grouped so you can see the back of most of them, they make quite an impressive display.

As ever with these sort of exhibitions, they have to have something arty included. In this case, that is two items: We fade to grey bra-ra dress, made of 59 white and cream bras that hav  faded with use, and To know a veil, which speaks for itself.

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A group gardening project

Members of the Richmond and Leyburn branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild are working on a project together. They are selecting typical pictures of Harlow Carr gardens, known as the Wisley of the north, near Harrogate, dividing them into squares, and embroidering one each. The first three panels are on display in the library of the gardens until 30th June. If you can’t make it before then, it is worth keeping an eye open for the next exhibition, which will surely follow, as they are currently working on the fourth panel.

They have printed the picture onto a finely woven fabric, and used that as a base. It is always interesting to see the different techniques people use to interpret their subject. As the pictures chosen show large flower beds, there are plenty of opportunities to compare the result of fine machine stitches, hand embroidery, and applique. Each photo is displayed beneath the embroidery.

Any artist will tell you that in is important to look carefully at your subject and then simplify what you see to show the important elements. This is another thing that can be seen in these panels. I particularly like the buildings on the skyline on the one with the orange flowers. One square shows the top of a greenhouse, because it is the main feature of that square. The neighbouring embroider had the corner of the greenhouse roof, a feature so minor in that square that it has been simplified out.

Here are WinterSpring, and Summer.  Autumn is on the way.

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Tie dye scarf

This scarf has a history.

In about 1986, I was in a production of The Boyfriend with the now defunct Moseley Operatic Society. I was issued with a costume for the fancy dress ball scene: a seriously bright yellow peasant top, with a matching yellow and black striped skirt, to represent a Mexican bandit. No headgear. In the 1920s? I don’t think so.

So one lunchtime, I rushed round Birmingham city centre and managed to find a lovely soft cotton scarf in exactly the right yellow. It was really cheap in the sale (nobody else needed such a loud colour), and tied round my head with the long ends trailing it was just what I needed.

I kept it, because the cotton was so nice, but it just wasn’t my colour. So I never got round to wearing it.

Then in 2001 I was in the chorus for La Traviata with West Riding Opera. Could we provide our own gypsy costume? I had one of those multi tiered skirts which I never wore, because white skirts just attract muck when I wear them. So the skirt and scarf went into some bright red Dylon to make the costume. I expected a red skirt and a toning orange scarf, but they both came out the same bright red.

So now I have dunked it in the indigo vat. I might just wear it now!

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WW2 silk escape map dress sold in Harrogate

Now I know I’m a bit slow, but I’ve only just found this on Twitter. A silk map designed to help prisoners of war to escape, made into a dress.

How would you like to have a silk map dress?

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The myths and meaning woven into Norwegian sweaters

Here is a fascinating article about the Sweater Detective, a lady who knows practically all there is to know about the myths and meaning woven into Norwegian sweaters.

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Nine days a week

Another collection of pictures from the National Centre for Craft and Design in Sleaford, Lincolnshire.

This time it is Nine days a week by Jane McKeating, a project based on found handkerchiefs, using a mixture of fibres and pigments.

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The history of knitting

This post gives an excellent summary of the history of hand knitting.

As you would expect from the V&A. One of my favourite London haunts.

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Crayon colours

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Hand in hand: The artistic and spiritual life of Dame Werburg Welch

If you get the chance, I can really recommend a trip to Ushaw, near Durham, to see this exhibition of church vestments, decorated with bands embroidered and woven by nuns under the supervision of Dame Werburg Welch (1894-1990).

You can really see the influence of William Blake and Eric Gill in these fabulous pieces of textile art. If you can’t make it before 29th June, at least have a look at the web page, which has pictures and a video.

Unfortunately, they don’t allow photos, so I was limited to sketching. The best bits were the simple saints and angels, some in repeat patterns. As I’m not very good at sketching people, I’ll leave you to look at the originals…

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Rolling out a carpet for hope

Here is more from the National Centre for Craft and Design in Sleaford, Lincolnshire.

This installation by Sian Martin was inspired by a project to re-hydrate the desert in Africa, where they plant a corridor of saplings to draw water to the surface and stop the desert encroaching more. The story of the change is told here using dyed cane and wire, silk and scrim fabrics, and acrylic sheets.

 

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