Seems a while since I posted about a Textile Jaunt then along come two in a row!
Last Monday I was privileged to make a visit to Gressenhall Museum of Rural Life and Workhouse, www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk/visit_us/gressenhall_farm_and_workhousewith members of Jane-Ann's textile group. Nadine had contacted the museum to ask whether we might view the collection of rag rugs which are not normally on display, and we were warmly welcomed and given 'every facility' as they say.
Megan, who curates the collection, took us up to the archives and there were two tables set out for us, with printed sheets for us to make notes for ourselves, and to add to the museum's data base.
First we were able to view and examine some rugs which are out on display. We didn't see those which are in the 'houses', these are rugs which,shall we say, can stand up to being walked on and man-handled by the public.
Yvonne and I get to look closely at some of the rugs out on general display. This is a prodded rag rug onto rug canvas. Below you can see a close up of the detail. We spotted wool, tweed and many man-made fibres in the rags used.
Then we donned gloves and proceeded to look in detail at a selection of rugs which were not on display, some of which were so delicate they were falling to pieces. For someone such as myself, who is a complete rug-hooking novice, the knowledge and expertise of some of the group members - notably Jane-Ann and Nadine - was astonishing and I learned so much. We were able to estimate roughly the decades in which the rugs were made, the materials used, and sometimes where they might have been used in the home.I know Megan was very pleased to be able to tap into their extensive knowledge, and has invited the group back to see more, and to help catalogue the archive. One small disappointment was the fact that most of the rugs we saw were prodded wool rugs, there were not many actual rag rugs, but I believe there may be in the archive.
This is a hooked rug, made with recycled clothes. You can see the reverse, very neat, where it has been turned back.
This is a wool rug, probably an early Redicut kit, in a typical sunburst pattern. Hooked into rug warp.
Another wool prodded rug, in a chequerboard pattern, a detailed close up of the header photograph. It is Jane-Ann's favourite and mine too. That colour-scheme wouldn't be at odds with a contemporary quilt.
And here is a shot of the sort of storage system used by the museum. There are many more rugs hidden away waiting to be catalogued!
These photographs were taken by Jane-Ann as I had - astoundingly - left my camera at home, for goodness' sake! Many thanks for sending them to me so that I could produce this post, Jane-Ann!
And thanks to Megan for all her help and enthusiasm, I know there will be more collaboration between the Museum and the group.
All in all a splendid few hours, fascinating to examine and investigate the rugs; also I might add, the museum is a jolly interesting day out if you live in or are visiting mid-Norfolk. Children are well accommodated and will love the exhibits too. And of course there is a great little cafe serving snacks and meals - what more could you want! I was there last year with the Ouse Washes Molly Dancers for Apple Day, and as well as performing some dances, we played for the Wassailing which was great fun.
My second Jaunt was to the Fenland village of Cottenham, to the College which each year hosts a textile exhibition of the work of the City and Guilds students, Textiles in Focus. To further entice you along, there is the Traders' Hall. All I can say is I am very proud of the fact that I did NOT buy any more books! To be fair, Yvonne and I decided that between us we probably had most of them, and could probably have written a few of the rest!
We enjoyed the 'professional' exhibition by The Material Girls, and I do have permission to take these photographs, but obviously they preferred that I didn't take detailed shots. Some really lovely work and the standard was very high.
I am told the person to contact is Chris Spencer at www.chrissythreads.com
We did treat ourselves to a wander round the traders hall, chatting to some old friends as we went.
We LOVED this stand:
A small sum was parted with at 21st Century Yarns - as usual, then we moved on to see very old friend Magie from the African Fabric Shop.
Managed to sneak up and catch her unawares! I have SO MUCH African fabric in my collection. If you get chance to hear Magie giving one of her talks do go, she is incredibly knowledgeable about the cloth she imports, having started out collecting it when she was cook for a Safari Holiday company (years ago!) and came upon the cloth in the villages they passed through. Magie takes her stand to all the big quilt and Knitting and Stitching shows and to local guilds and Regional days too.
Some of the smaller quilts made by Magie using these wonderful fabrics.
And some of the beautiful baskets she imports. I resisted this time, but I do have a couple. I find there is always room for another basket in the home!
So there you have it. Two jolly interesting days full of textile wonderfulness. I hope you've enjoyed the photographs and the stories too. Catch you next time - I AM trying not to leave such big gaps between posts!