A rebuttal of Gregory ‘Monk’ Lewis.

“…..the needle not the pen is the instrument they should handle, and the only one they ever use dexterously.”

Gregory ‘Monk’ Lewis (1775-1818)

In several earlier blogs, I’ve reported on the development of The needle and the pen, the research behind my initial idea, the embroidery techniques I used to highlight each period and how the exhibit came to have its title.

At the beginning of June several EASTies set up the exhibition, Bridging the Gap, at Babylon Arts, Ely, and I think this is an appropriate time to blog about my exhibit as I turn my thoughts to a new challenge inspired by a workshop on design led by Caroline Bartlett, a member of the “62 Group of Textile Artists”, last weekend.

In The needle and the pen, I was able to illustrate how over three hundred and fifty years, from the Restoration to the end of the twentieth century, society has become more accepting of women as authors. 

I used two cases and a trunk to show this development

The first case covers the period from 1649 to1799 and four authors are highlighted: Aphra Behn, Eliza Haywood, Hester Lynch Thrale Piozzi and Frances (Fanny) Burney.

In the second case, 1800-1899, I show eight authors: Jane Austen and George Eliot with Harriet Martineau, Maria Edgeworth, Elizabeth Gaskell, Emily Bronte, Mrs. Henry Wood and Margaret Oliphant.

As might be expected, the trunk holds many more and I was lucky to find one with an inner layer which could be removed to help to showcase twenty-one books from the twentieth century.

On close inspection of the trunk, two embroidery techniques can be seen: machine embroidery for authors whose books were published between1900 and 1949, and applique for those of the second half of the century.

The exhibition at Babylon Arts continues until the thirtieth of June where you can view the work of another nine artists spotlighting influential women.

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