Thursday, 24 September 2009

Sampler at Shipley Lates

HI everyone
Quick reminder that I will be giving a performance at Shipley Lates at Shipley Museum and Art Gallery in Gateshead tomorrow evening - Friday 25 Sept. I hope some of you good folk in the north east will be able to make it along.
Me. Nervous? Yes!

for more info visit:


Thursday, 17 September 2009

On the clothesline. Romanian Dowry

Quick post to let you know about an exhibition taking place over the next couple of weeks at the Romanian Cultural Institute in Belgrave Square in London until 25 September.

"On the clothesline", features a selection of textile artefacts from the amazing Museum of the Romanian Peasant, a collaborator on the sampler project. It explores the twice yearly ritual of cleaning the precious dowry textiles.

To quote directly from the website:

"Romanians keep their treasures indoors. Having a treasure room, the good room, the ruda room, filled with hand-made textile, clothes, carpets, items that are always displayed yet never used, is a must for any well-off Romanian peasant. This is the dowry of the woman and preserving it is a matter of pride and hard-work. Twice a year these treasures are taken outdoors to be cleaned and freshened up. They are washed at the river or at the water whirlpool, they are hung on the clothesline, ironed, treated for moths and arranged again on display in the good room. All these procedures can last as long as a week; as they say, it takes hard work to have a good room.
The good room, the ruda room in Northern Romania, is in itself an exhibition. An exhibition of the best and most beautiful items the family possesses. The exhibiting technique, if one can speak of it, is crowding. All the more crowded the good room is, all the more beautiful it is considered: carpets, pillows, tablecloths, linen, towels, icons, decorated plates, the more, the better!

This exhibition borrows from the village a form of display that the peasant does not consider as such. Hanging the precious family dowry on the clothesline is not a form of exhibiting it; it is only a necessary annual ritual. Still, the foreigner, the ethnographer, is fascinated by the display of textile on the clothesline. There (s)he can see and feel the fine details, the thread, the coloured models, the hand-made linen. It is only once a year that the treasures of the good room can be thus observed. For the rest of the year, they are hidden, one on top of the other, in the crowded museum that is the good room.

This is your chance to admire them from a close distance. Don't be afraid to touch them if you feel the need to, but bear in mind their beauty is also their fragility and old age. "
(Romanian Peasant Museum)

I hope to make it along in the next few days, and will let you know what I think, and if you're in London please go along to support the project and let me know what you think too. x

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Pixel Piano Players

Well, I finally received the four music boxes I ordered, so we can use them in future workshops and performances. Today I got around to trying them out.
I took one the pixel drawing samples from one of the collaborative drawings we created. This sample was chosen by Gill, one of the embroiderers working on the project.

I then cut the sample into three strips and joined them together and made a hole in each of the black drawn squares with a hole-punch. Here's a short film of the result as the piece is played through the music box. The music box is in the key of C and plays both the bass and the treble clef. I like the parts where the pattern is stepped and plays single notes either rising up or down the scale and then suddenly plays a whole chord as the pattern changes.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Cut 'n' paste Umea

As part of the Open Source Embroidery exhibition, we invited visitors to create their own versions of two samplers from the Vasterbottens Museum's collection.
The two samplers are Sommad ar, 1820 and Miriam 1964. We're trying to find out more about their origins.

We put out colour copies of the two samplers and visitors used cut 'n' paste techniques with scissors and glue (very high tech!) sampling sections of the originals to create their own pieces.

Here are some of the beautiful results. It's amazing to see how images can be transformed using such simple techniques combined with the person's creativity and imagination. I'd love to hear from any of the creators and find out what they were thinking whilst they made them.