A couple of years ago I joined the newly re-formed branch of the Suffolk West Embroiderers’ Guild. During this year (2017-18) the branch is running a project where each member embroiders a square in a specified colour – “Rainbow Squares”. The colours progress in the same sequence as the rainbow so the first square was red.
I wasn’t very excited by the prospect of decorating a square with red stitches but I soon realised that I could make an eight square centimetre, four page booklet and attach that to an appropriately coloured square.
I made the cover from torn scraps of fabric bonded to some felt, then integrated them with machine embroidery. I covered this with a piece of muslin which I had coloured several years ago when EAST had a weekend with Ruth Issett. I folded the cover in half, then added four pages inside which had a love poem, “Echo” by Carol Ann Duffy, embroidered on them.
The next square, for November, was to be orange. I made a list of orange things – a colour, a drink, a fruit, a principality, a butterfly etc. – and embroidered these onto scraps of orange silk which I applied to a zig-zag book. This I put inside a cover which had been made as before except with scraps of orange fabric.
The December square was yellow. I didn’t realise until I began to sew what a difficult colour yellow is to work with and how few fabrics and threads I owned in that colour. Nevertheless, I had decided that the book was to have images of shells inside so I raided my supplies.
The square to make for January is green so, hopefully, I will have more items to play with and the book will probably contain leaves – unless I get any better ideas.
I wish you all a very happy, healthy and productive 2018.
Producing work for an EAST exhibition is not just about research, trials and samples, making the item and putting it on display. Sometimes the work can have a life after the last exhibition is packed away. I find it particularly gratifying to hear that something EAST created has become the inspiration for someone else. For the work made for Between the Lines it is particularly pleasing to hear that the research itself continues to be useful.
This has been the case with regard to the information sheet I produced on the Lady Smith-Dorrien’s Hospital Bag Fund. I had used this to make my work, shown above when the exhibition visited Landmark Arts Centre, Teddington. Now the research is going to be part of a museum display.
From 4th December this year, and for six weeks only, Bath Medical Museum will be recreating a WWI war hospital – looking at how the inpatients (soldiers) were ‘entertained’ over the Christmas period. Instead of focusing on the grimmer aspects of war the exhibition will use anecdotal stories on the themes of food, entertainment, gifts, decorations, celebrations, etc. They will look at how local people provided plum puddings, knitted goods and filling crackers.
In addition, on the opening day (6.12.17) there will be a lecture by Dr Roger Rolls on the history of the Bath Mineral Hospital during the war. The exhibition continues until 6 January 2018.
For more information visit the Bath Hospital Museum website. Please note that the museum, which is run entirely by volunteers is open Mondays to Wednesdays (2pm to 4pm) and Fridays (10am to 12 noon).
More information about Lady Smith-Dorrien’s Hospital Bag Fund can be found by following the link from my page – HERE.