If you are able, spend a day in London before Sunday 5th February 2017 and visit the Opus Anglicanum exhibition at the V&A. It celebrates a time when English work (Opus Anglicanum) was sought after by popes, churches, wealthy families across Europe and as diplomatic gifts. Techniques which are still in use today, split stitch and couching, were employed by professional artists (skilled women and men) in workshops behind St. Paul’s Cathedral and in Cheapside from the late 12th to the mid 14th centuries. One misconception was that nuns were responsible for the work but recent knowledge has shown that towards the end of the period, workshops led by men were the norm.
Much of the needlework on display was on linen or silk cloth lined with linen. The silk was imported from China or Italy along with threads which had been especially dyed. Copes, chasubles or orphreys were stitched with scenes from the life of Christ, interspersed with flora and fauna, for use in ecclesiastical ceremonies.
Over half the exhibits in the exhibition are from the V&A collection whilst the remainder have been borrowed from various establishments across Europe and North America. Some of the items are for secular use – for example, the surcoat worn by Edward, the Black Prince, along with his shield, two seal bags, a pair of Episcopal shoes from the tomb of Archbishop Herbert Walter (1170-1200) in Westminster Abbey, and horse coverings. You can also see a large wooden chest which was used to store copes.
One of the most fascinating exhibits was a piece which showed both sides of the work. This had been executed on velvet so it was easy to see the relief. Also, a couple of copes still had seed pearls as part of the decoration, intact.
The images below show a detail from the Jesse Cope, 1310-25, from the V&A collection and a musical angel on horseback from the Steeple Aston Cope,1330-40, loaned by the church wardens at Steeple Aston in Oxfordshire.
I urge you all to go along and be stunned (and humbled) by textiles which are over seven hundred years old. I had a lovely day.
Returned last evening from an exhilarating if tiring Group weekend workshop with wonderful Diane Bates. Almost all of us were there including our mentor Anthea Godfrey, just Ellen and Janette missing the fun, although Janette managed a visit yesterday afternoon.
Anthea and Susan during the Saturday evening discussion.
|A 3d piece by Lorna
|Work by Melinda
|Another 3D piece this time Anthea’s
|Libby, Anthea and Lorna and above some of Libby’s work.
|Tricia and felicity hard at work and to the right a piece if Felicity’s work.
We all had a great time and maybe some of the work will feature in future exhibitions. Also our thanks must go to the Zinc Arts Centre in Chipping Ongar (Essex) for the use of their excellent facilities andfriendly staff.
When storing work for other members of the EAST group it is important to have good security – a guard dog is a good method, or as here a guard cat!
E.A.S.T members – Felicity, Janette, June, Lorna, Melinda, Susan and Tricia held three workshops at Landmark Arts Centre alongside the Between the Lines exhibition on Sunday.
Many of our visitors chose to take their identity tags home, but we were pleased that others were very happy to share a selection for the gallery’s installation.
Some of our visitors started on the printing table before adding stitch or paper to their completed tag, and it was particularly nice to see visitors from the very young to adults joining in – several staying more than an hour enjoying a moment of creativity.
Thanks must go not only to the E.A.S.T members that made the journey across to Teddington, the E.A.S.T members who collected together ideas and materials to prepare for the day, the staff at Landmark, but also to the visitors who participated.
When Janette, Carol and I went to the Landmark Arts Centre on Tuesday to give a talk about the research behind “Between the Lines”, I was able to take some more pictures of the exhibition.
Lesley and her right hand man, Tim, had wrapped “barbed wire” around the pillars and hung from it the identity tags the EASTies had made as examples for the workshop “Ready, Steady, Stitch” which will be happening at the Arts Centre on Sunday as part of the Teddington Fair.
So if any of the images below spark your creativity, come along and have a go. Melinda, Janette, June, Lorna, Tricia, Felicity and I will be there, so it will also be a good time to quiz us about our exhibits as well as adding your own take on identity to the new installation.
Caroline Bell and I are very pleased with how the exhibition, From the Earth at Mardleybury Gallery [Datchworth SG3 6SG] has been going. The Exhibition is on for a few more days.. it closes at 4 on Saturday. The Gallery has been a very good setting for the Exhibition.
We have three guest artists, above is the work of Fabienne Dorsman Rey, who also led one of our workshops at Art Van Go. We also have work by the India Flint who I feel is the initiator of the current re surge of interest in natural dyeing and eco leaf printing, as well as Alice Fox’s great work.
It has been great to be able to include work by some experienced UK artists above is Reef Marks by Shelley Rhodes.
There is also work by local artists and artists who are just setting out, this wonderful piece is by Rebecca Robins.
It was good to have Margaret Talbot’s Petrified Trees, East textiles were well represented.
Jenny Dean author of many books and very experienced natural dyer gave us a very encouraging introduction at the Private View last Friday.
Yesterday, as a representative of EAST, I gave a workshop at the Landmark Gallery called “Lines of Communication” which was based on techniques used in some of the pieces in our exhibition. The Landmark has a lovely studio upstairs where we had nine students who had booked to do the workshop.
June (who was my excellent driver and gofer for the day) set off from home to pick me up at 7 o’clock and we arrived at the Landmark before opening so we nipped down the road for coffee before setting to with unloading and setting up.
We started the day loosening up with printing using print blocks that I had either made or had been purchased or lent and also I had taken along such things as a set of French polishers combs, a fork, a bit of old hose and an umbrella handle to see what interesting marks could be made on paper and fabric. After this we did some scrunching and distressing of papers and I also took along some samples for students to use which they would not have time to do that day.
After lunch and after clearing up the messy bit, we selected and deselected pieces, layered them up and arranged. I then demonstrated how to add stitched text to the pieces either directly or on silk organza that could then be overlaid. Students also made envelopes from fabric – I had prepared several templates of different shapes in different sizes. I had taken along an old tablecloth that could be used for this – some students made their envelopes from shear fabrics so that the contents could be seen.
Below are a few photographs of the results.
Welcome to the new East Anglian Stitch Textiles blog.
In the next few days there will be information regarding our latest exhibition.
While our blog is under construction please visit our main website – EASTtextile for information about the group and our current exhibition and activities.