Posts Tagged ‘England’

Fashion, wheat weaving, yarnbombing and more in England

I’m back!  I was in England for two weeks with four days in London, a week in Cornwall, and two days in Salisbury.  I wasn’t looking for fiber art in any serious way, but some very interesting things came my way.  To wit:

1.  Fashion and Trade at the National Maritime Museum

London was, most unusually, stifling hot.  So we took a boat down the Thames to Greenwich.  We just happened to be in the National Maritime Museum when these elaborately gowned women swept by.  I asked one of the women who seemed to be part of the entourage what was happening.  As part of a celebration of a new permanent gallery, Traders:  The East India Company and Asia, fashion students had created ensembles with Gavin Fernandes, London stylist and photographer. Each ensemble represented a facet of the trade conducted by the East India Company   There was a short lecture followed by a fashion shoot.  I’m the most unfashionable person in the world, but I love that kind of thing!

The woman on the left represented the spice trade with actual spices sewn to the bodice as decoration and the one on the right represented the tea trade with quite obvious tea bags forming part of the trim of her overskirt. The construction and detail of these garments was amazing.

2.  Chairs in St. James Park

Cutting across St. James Park in London, we came across these chairs which were printed as part of an art project.  There are many plain chairs available, but you could make an afternoon of just walking about the parks of central London searching for different chair art.

3. Traditional Wheat Weaving

It was a harvest festival at the Eden Project near St. Austell.  I gave traditional wheat weaving (really plaiting, I believe) a try and managed to bring my little piece home in one piece.  I’m reading a book about the making of the Eden Project which is, I would have to say, more interesting than the place itself.  Tim Smit is a man with a vision, as he also drove the restoration of  The Lost Gardens of Heligan which was my main reason for going to Cornwall.

4.  Knitted Graffiti

These were bike racks at the Eden Project covered in colorful knitted sleeves.  The far one was stitched with “Ode to the bicycle.”

This was on a pole at the bus stop at the Eden Project: “Ode to the bus.”  I like how the colors match the trees behind it.  A woman at the bus stop said knitted graffiti had been the topic of a BBC radio item just that morning.  This is the first “yarnbombing” I have seen, but the tradition is alive and well in the UK and around the world.

5.  Salisbury Cathedral Hangings

No surprise that there were a lot of embroidered artworks in this Cathedral whose foundation stones were laid in 1220.  But in Trinity Chapel there is an emphasis on prisoners of conscience throughout the world with an Amnesty International candle always left burning.  This embroidery was worked in mainly silver thread and is a small part of a large installation.   I didn’t see any sign about the artist(s) although other artwork did have attribution.

(UPDATE on October 20:  Leonie Hartley- Hoover sent the very useful message about attribution for this artwork:

When I saw the Salisbury hangings in your newsletter, as an embroiderer first and foremost, I recognized the work of Jane Lemon, MBE.   She is a very well respected embroiderer who is held in very high esteem and she is an absolute master of metal thread work.  She worked in costume for BBC television for some years and prior to that she worked in costume at the Sadlers Wells ballet before turning her hand to ecclesiastical work which is her first love.  Jane has had a long association with Salisbury cathedral and created The Sarum Group of embroiderers whose work is featured in the Cathedral.  You mentioned you could not see any artist’s accreditation on the pieces which is not surprising in that Jane often defers to the group rather than take a bow herself.  It was timely indeed that you mentioned her work as Maggie Grey had a post on her blog regarding Jane’s Prisoners of Conscience exhibit the day prior to your newsletter coming out.  Both Mag and Jane are former Presidents of the British Embroiderers Guild, which I am affiliated with.

Maggie’s blog with a similar photo is here.
A photo of Jane Lemon and a brief bio are here.

Thank you Leonie, as I hate to feature artwork sans attribution.

5.  Fiber Alive

This was a vine trellised on a restroom wall at Stonehenge.  Nature’s weaving.

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10 2011

And the sublime – It’s England!

I wouldn’t want Maggi (thanks to you and Melanie for the comments) to think my last post was all that I appreciated about England.  Every day out walking brought new delights:


The joys of being a little bit lost.

A fine place to stop for lunch.


The beautiful stone walls (Andy Goldsworthy explained)

And now my thoughts (and efforts) turn to Trip #15 to the Boundary Waters.

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06 2010

Textured, accumulated, graphic, quirky – It’s England!


Dry Wall Top and Sky

Travel is always good for the mind, body, and soul.  Just back from a glorious trip from England.  I was captivated, as always, by the textured, the accumulated, the graphic, and the quirky.  To wit:


Unbelievable layers of paint gone pale.


Ancient and new juxtaposed without care.


One of my favorite phrases.


Curbside self-service egg delivery.

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06 2010