Janette Bright


Janette has lived her whole life in Essex. She joined EAST in 2003 and is currently the group's secretary, web designer and web manager.

As well as being a member of EAST, Janette is a member of the Chelmsford branch of the Embroiderer’s Guild where she has, in the past, held several committee posts, including chairman. She is a longstanding member of the Billericay branch of the Essex Handicrafts Association.


As well as an interest in textiles, Janette has a lifelong love of history and she always combines these two themes in her stitching. She regularly uses the archives of the London Foundling Hospital as a starting point for her textile work - particulraly the records of the eighteenth century. However, women's history for a much wider period can also be a source of inspiration. Treasure, Hope and Friendship was the result of research into the war time work of Lady Smith-Dorrien and her Hospital Bag Fund. Click HERE for a brief history of Lady Smith-Dorren's Hospital Bag Fund.


As a result of Janette's historical research she began first volunteering and now working at the Foundling Museum in London. She has assisted in the research of several historical exhibitions at the museum - Foundling Lives (2007), Threads of Feeling (2010-11), Fate, Hope and Charity (2013), and Basic Instincts (2017-18). This in turn led to her beginning a course of study with the Open University to take her interest in art history and heritage further. One module which focused on the Age of Enlightenment to the Age of Romanticism, even inspired a body of work in the form of a miniature imaginary museum.


Janette has co-authored a small book on the subject of the tokens, Introductory Guide to the Tokens of the London Foundling Museum and contributed essays to the book Fate, Hope and Charity, which accompanied the exhibition of the same title (2013). She has also contributed to the latest edition of the Foundling Museum guidebook. All these booklets are available for sale through the Foundling Museum.


Janette's studies with the Open University, resulted in her obtaining a first class BA (Hons) Open in 2016. Janette then wen on to continue her studies in historical research studying, successfully obtaining a Research Masters degree in 2017 at the Institute of Historical Research, part of the School of Advanced Studies, University of London. In January 2018, Janette will began part time MPhil/PhD study at the Institute of Historical Research.


Her textile work is almost always hand stitched - using techniques available in the eighteenth-century but in a contemporary way. Many of her pieces are 3D. She also has a passion for beadwork.













An Introduction to the Tokens of the Foundling Museum - by Janette Bright and Gillian Clark is now available through the Foundling Museum in London. Visit the museum or contact them by phone/email to purchase a copy - www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk.


The Miniature Imaginary Museum of the Enlightenment - by Janette Bright. To accompany work from the Making a Point! exhibition. This publication was available for sale at exhibition venues - Braintree, Cirencester and Snape. Copies are still available on request - contact Janette for details.


Contributor to Fate, Hope and Charity, the book to accompany the exhibition of the same name at the Foundling Museum. Copies of this book can be obtained through the Foundling Museum (details as above). In April 2013 Janette, along with the museum curator, Stephanie Chapman, were interviewed for a podcast for Londonist OutLoud. Their interview by N Quentin Woolf is still available via this link. Janette has also worked in an advisory capacity on foundling token history for various art, TV and radio projects, such as Messiah at the Foundling Hospital, (Reef TV, first shown on BBC2, Easter 2014 and repeated in 2015 and 2017).


Work in progress - detail of sample

For The Power of Stitch


In this work I am considering the stories of three individuals or groups of individuals – a milliner (Mme Pignerolle) in London 1765, a group of 30+ girls apprenticed from the London Foundling Hospital in 1766, and two girls listed in the 1780s as having no work and therefore committing suicide. Interestingly two of the foundling girls also came back to the Hospital at around the 1780s because they could not find work; and it was suggested they contact their parish poor officials. All were involved in the same technique of tambour embroidery.


Based on the archives of the London Foundling Hospital and contemporary newspaper accounts, the stories of these women's lives shows how embroidery had the power to "make or break".





"The Tokens and Textiles of the Foundling Hospital Archives" - a talk about the 18th century tokens and how they are used to inspire my own contemporary work; this talk can be adjusted so that it has either a more historical or textile bias.


"The Tragic Tale of Margaret Larney" - a talk about the true story of one woman who left two children at the Foundling Hospital in 1758, whilst awaiting execution at Newgate Jail. The story is mainly historical but does include some textile inspirations that relate to Margaret Larney and her life.


"Fashioning the Foundlings" - how the children of the Foundling Hospital were educated during the eighteenth century - reading, writing, stitching, darning. All was considered suitable education for a typical foundling child turning him or her into a 'useful citizen'. This talk is based on my master's degree dissertation research, a copy of which is available on line from the School of Advanced Studies website - click here.


"The Rise and Fall of the Tambour Hook" - based on research for The Power of Stitch, this talk looks at evidence as to how and why tambour embroidery arrived in London in the mid-eighteenth century. It quickly became fashionable before being replaced by new techniques. Did it make one woman rich and others poor? Did the foundling girls learn a useful trade?


Workshops -


Beginners beadwork - off loom beadweaving and/or bead embroidery


Contact: Janette@easttextile.co.uk for more information




In March 2015, E.A.S.T were asked by Just Hands-On TV to be interviewed while their exhibition was displayed in the Corinium Museum in Cirencester.


To view the interview - visit Just Hands-On TV.


Copyright © EAST Textile All Rights Reserved