The Cape of Clouds – covered with embroidered messages from women around the world – will be at the heart of a special event celebrating Arts and Crafts textiles from 1850 to the present.
Arts & Crafts Textiles Celebration – nature, beauty and community from 1850 to the present day, takes place at the magnificent Marchmont House in the Borders on 1 February.
It brings together a remarkable mix of speakers from art experts and curators to contemporary artists and makers – alongside a social enterprise founder who trains women in textile use and design.
The accompanying display of work will feature not only Louise Gardiner’s cape but an Arts & Crafts kimono, mixing modern and upcycled 19th-century material, created by Dumfries and Galloway textile designer Morag MacPherson. There will be two contemporary quilts by the internationally renowned designer and maker Pauline Burbidge whose work is in major museum and gallery collections worldwide. The display also includes pieces by Naomi Robertson, Master Weaver at Dovecot in Edinburgh and antique textiles by Ernest Gimson and now belonging to Barley Roscoe.
The event – which connects to the landmark exhibition May Morris: Art & Life currently open at Dovecot Studios – is part of Marchmont House Director Hugo Burge’s drive to help nurture a new Arts & Crafts Movement, promoting hand-crafted work, a sense of community and an appreciation of nature.
He said: “The original Arts & Crafts Movement embodied a purpose that could not be more important for today – celebrating nature, craftsmanship, community and a sense of purpose. Arts & Crafts textiles are at the centre of this crucible of interests, replete with hidden stories, inspiration and raw beauty. It couldn’t be more timely to dive into this field, seeking a new sense of purpose in craftsmanship.”
These ideas are deeply embedded in the work of speakers such as the contemporary embroiderer Louise Gardiner, from Bristol, whose Cape of Clouds will be seen in Scotland for the first time.
Louise invited women from around the world to stitch “story clouds” reflecting their hopes and dreams for a peaceful world of equality and love. Contributions have come in from as far away as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Hong Kong.
She said: “I was overwhelmed by the response, with clouds arriving by post from places far afield and often accompanied by poems, moving letters and photographs.
“The project resonated with so many women and became a collective voice from an international community of women exploring a traditional craft and connecting with each other with hopes for peace and equality. Even if you can’t see your fellow stitchers, you’re connected by an invisible thread.”
Another speaker, Hazel Smith (2019 Social Entrepreneur of the Year), hopes to include the cape in a graduation ceremony for women who have attended textiles courses run by her organisation ReTweed. The organisation trains women facing barriers in their lives and careers, teaching them new skills they can use to find jobs, set up their own businesses or enjoy as a hobby.
She said: “Re-Tweed is founded on a philosophy very much aligned to the Arts & Crafts Movement. It brings people together into a community of makers, through an arts and crafts industry, giving them a sense of self-esteem and achievement and creating new opportunities for them.
It has been the catalyst for 11 women setting up their own businesses and has helped 33 to secure jobs – contributing to efforts to revive the great tradition of fashion and textiles in the Borders. Re-Tweed members are also contributing to the Great Tapestry of Scotland whose designer, Paul Crummy, is also delivering a talk at the event.
Looking to the original Arts & Crafts Movement, there will be a special focus on the contribution of May Morris (daughter of William) who was responsible for some of Morris & Co.’s most iconic designs. Dr Margaretta Frederick, Chief Curator of Delaware Art Museum will speak about May Morris, Her Passion & Her Legacy.
Kate Grenyer, Curator at Dovecot Studios, who will be talking about Dovecot as A Living Arts & Crafts tradition, said: “Dovecot Studios are currently celebrating the life and work of May Morris in our exhibition, and this extraordinary event at Marchmont House continues to a long tradition of which May would have been proud. Dovecot grew out of the passion for reviving traditional skills that also inspired the Arts & Crafts movement and we continue to champion textile craft to this day.”
The event is sponsored by Edinburgh fine art auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull.
John Mackie, Head of Decorative Arts & Design at Lyon & Turnbull, said: “We are delighted to sponsor the Arts & Crafts Textiles Celebration at Marchmont and look forward to an exploration of stitching and textiles, which had such an important part to play in the Arts & Crafts Movement, and its relevance to our lives today.”
Among the other speakers is Paul Reeves a collector and dealer renowned for his knowledge of Arts & Crafts textiles. Earlier in his career Paul was an interior designer whose clients included Elton John, Freddie Mercury and members of Led Zeppelin and Wings.
- Tickets are available from https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/arts-crafts-textiles-celebration-marchmont-tickets-77640808749
- Picture by Colin Hattersley.
Notes for Editors
- Pictures are available from the DropBox at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wuotrsb8ndhc8k2/AACZ_dNnkLG9MR1kBbxQgzuqa?dl=0.
- For media information contact Matthew Shelley: Matthew@ScottishFestivalsPR.Org or 07786704299.
The event is sponsored by Lyon & Turnbull (see www.lyonandturnbull.com) and supported by Arts & Crafts Tours (www.artsandcraftstours.com). It is being run in partnership with Dovecot Studios and the William Morris Gallery.
The speakers are set to include:
- Margaretta Frederick – Chief Curator, Delaware Art Museum
- Kate Grenyer – Curator, Dovecot Studios
- Dr Lynn Hulse – Embroidery expert
- Paul Reeves – Collector & dealer
- Mary Schoeser – Honorary President, The Textile Society
- Joseph Sharples – Curator of Mackintosh Collections and Applied Art The Hunterian
- Local Textile Stories in the Borders:
- Hazel Smith – Re-Tweed – using textiles for social enterprise
- Pauline Burbidge – artist – stitch & collage
- Andrew Crummy – Designer of the Great Tapestry of Scotland
- Marchmont House is an imposing ‘Grade A’ listed Palladian mansion built in 1750 and contains some of the finest Georgian and Arts & Crafts interiors in Scotland.
- Situated at the heart of the Marchmont Estate near Greenlaw in the Scottish Borders, the house is only open to the public for a limited number of days each year, for tours and special events.
- Following the recent completion of award-winning restoration, the goal is now to bring the house alive as a home for makers and creators, celebrating innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship
- Visit www.marchmonthouse.com for more information.
- Hugo Burge is a Director of Marchmont Farms Limited, owner of Marchmont Estate and House.
About Hugo Burge
- Director of Marchmont Ventures which is building sustainable creativity in the arts, crafts and purpose driven business. See www.marchmontventures.com.
- Director of Marchmont Farms Ltd., which operates Marchmont Estate, with a focus on restoring Marchmont House and bringing it back to life after a period of institutional usage.
- Former CEO of the Momondo Group which powers pioneering brands that shape and inspire global travel search.
About the speakers
Pauline Burbidge: Take one person who, at the age of 25 was moved when viewing an exhibition of antique quilts and mix it with her art school practice of drawing, colour, line, and abstraction. Stir in a passion for cloth, stitching and making, together with a love of the rural landscape, the natural world and the spirituality of a special place, and you begin to get a picture of my textile artwork now. Many influences have come and gone, however, over the forty plus years, quilt making still moves me! I make unique, special, “one-off”, individual quilts, wall hung textiles, creating my own visual language in fabric. I have exhibited worldwide, and my work has been purchased by the major museums of the UK and major USA collections.
Andrew Crummy: Born in Craigmillar, Edinburgh, my introduction to art was through the Craigmillar Festival Society. I trained as an illustrator at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee, then on a MA Design course at Glasgow School of Art. My professional life started off in London working for Everything But The Girl, New Musical Express, The Observer, Timeout, Goodhousekeeping. Through Design Agencies developed into large scale murals in busy High Streets across the UK. Since then I have been involved with many mural projects around the world. Recently I have been the designer for The Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry, The Great Tapestry of Scotland and The Scottish Diaspora tapestry.
Margaretta Frederick: Dr Frederick is the Annette Woolard-Provine Curator of the Bancroft Collection of Pre-Raphaelite Art at the Delaware Art Museum. She has been integral to the Museum’s Bancroft Collection for over twenty years. She is responsible for organising Waking Dreams (2005-6), the two year tour of the Delaware Art Museum’s Pre-Raphaelite collection as well as the reinstallation of that collection which opened to the public in the fall of 2007. Dr Frederick is co-editing the collected letters of May Morris with Anna Mason.
Kate Grenyer: Kate Grenyer curates Dovecot Gallery’s exhibition programme. She has a background working in gallery education and outreach as well as diverse experience working in exhibitions and programme coordination, art handling, and installation at a number of arts and heritage organisations. She completed an MFA in Contemporary Art Theory at ECA in 2012 and has since worked as an independent curator and writer. She joined the team at Dovecot in 2013, where she has responsibility for planning and coordinating the exhibitions programme in conjunction with the Senior Management Team.
Lynn Hulse: Dr Hulse has focused on embroidered textiles since 2004 and founded Ornamental Embroidery with Nicola Jarvis in 2010. Former Archivist at the Royal School of Needlework and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Lynn is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and Chair of the Trustees of the Brangwyn Gift at the William Morris Gallery. In addition to designing embroidery and teaching historic hand stitch, she is researching the development of Art Embroidery in the second half of the 19th century.
John Mackie: John is a specialist in Decorative Arts: Design from 1860, European Ceramics & Glass, and Fine Furniture & Works of Art. He has 25 years’ experience in the auction business. In 1999 John was instrumental in the regeneration of the long-established auction house Lyon & Turnbull and is a founding director with responsibilities for brand management. Initially running both the Antique Furniture department and the Decorative Arts departments for Lyon & Turnbull, John now specialises in the Decorative Arts from 1860 to the present day. He is an enthusiastic visitor to country houses, museums and galleries and exhibitions wherever he finds himself.
Paul Reeves: Paul began collecting furniture and related items over 50 years ago at the age of 15, opening his first antiques shop in Battersea Bridge Road in 1976 dealing in objects from the 19th and 20th centuries. He was previously a successful clothing designer with premises on London’s Fulham Rd. Until the opening of the gallery on London’s Kensington Church Street in 1981 (now closed), he also designed interiors for select clients, echoing the decorative philosophy of the design movements which he admired.
Mary Schoeser: As a predominantly freelance historian since 1991, Mary Schoeser MA FRSA has written 26 books, over 50 essays in books and over 120 shorter pieces, which include Textiles: A concise history (T&H: 2003), Silk (Yale University Press, 2007), and Textiles: The art of mankind (Thames & Hudson, 2012 and 2013). She has carried out restoration work with English Heritage, the National Trust and other historic property owners. President of the Textile Society, she is also Patron of the School of Textiles, Coggeshall.
Joseph Sharples: Joseph is a curator and architectural historian specialising in the 19th and early 20th centuries. He was lead researcher on the acclaimed University of Glasgow project, ‘Mackintosh Architecture: Context, Making and Meaning’. The Hunterian at the University of Glasgow houses the world’s most important collection of the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) and his wife Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh (1864-1933). It is also home to the Mackintosh House, the reassembled interiors of their Glasgow home. Joseph is currently working on a new introductory display which will tell the history of the House and relate it to its Glasgow context.
About those with work on display
Louise Gardiner: A designer-maker from Cheshire, producing unique embroidered artworks. Drawing freely with a sewing machine needle and thread, conveying complex organic designs and drawings onto linen with energy and precision. Louise’s dynamic embroideries showcase the highest levels of craft and technique, layering appliqué with intense stitching and hand-sewn beads. The works shimmer with magical depth and catch the changing light, every piece is meticulously made, labour-intensive, intuitive, and unique. Installations include ‘You Blow me away’ at Collect – the Saatchi Gallery and large scale commemorative textiles for Liberty- London.
Morag Macpherson: At Morag Macpherson Textiles and Wallpaper, we are inspired by our surroundings and travels. Based in Kirkcudbright, we are full of gratitude for nature’s beauty, so abundantly present on a daily basis. Galloway is an enclave for artists, and we delight in being a part of such rich artistic heritage, whilst remaining contemporary in our technique and approach. We also take influence from our travels and different cultures, with hybrids of multi-culturalism finding their natural home in our patchwork creations. A combination of art, design, craft and digital technology make our luxurious and unique fabrics, wallpapers, accessories, wearable art and interior pieces a joy to create and appreciate.
Naomi Robertson: Naomi Robertson is Studio Manager and Master Weaver who joined Dovecot after graduating from Edinburgh College of Art with a BA (Hons) degree in Tapestry in 1990. Naomi has worked on some of Dovecot Studio’s highest profile projects, both designing for and weaving commissioned projects. These have included the R. B. Kitaj tapestry in the British Library, the Butterfly tapestry created in collaboration with Alison Watt for the Theatre Royal, and The Large Tree Group Tapestry derived from a painting by Victoria Crowe, and woven entirely from undyed wool, which now hangs in the National Museum of Scotland. Robertson is a member of the Incorporation of Weavers of Glasgow.
Barley Roscoe: Her mother was a great-niece of Ernest Gimson, the Arts and Crafts architect, furniture designer and maker and Barley grew up with the Arts and Craft tradition. Having graduated from Bristol University in History of Art, History, Archaeology and Ancient History she went on to study woven and printed textiles at West Surrey College of Art and Design. Barley set up the Crafts Study Centre within the Holburne Museum of Art, Bath where she was Director from 1986-1999 and was awarded an MBE for her work there. She is an associate of the Museums Association and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.