So here is the information on my pieces made for TheMaterial Girls project with The National Trust property, Rainham Hall.
Each of The Girls were asked to produce three pieces of work, all based/inspired by the first occupant of the hall, John Harle, so our researched centred on the first half of the 1700s.
A whole variety of themes sprung up, from costume to trade, people to decor, gardens to my choice, documents/writings.
So here is the last piece I made, but I'm showing it to you first....
you won't find it on display within The Material Girls 'A Studio in Action' - this is because its on display in the Hall itself.
So my last piece, what can I make..... mhmmm. Then suddenly it occurred to me, I know I will stitch out the Will of John Harle. The original exists, I have a transcript. So following on from previous technique used, I machine stitched it in one continuous piece. At a rough measure its 20m long!!! It was only when presenting all our work to the National Trust, to give them an idea of everything, that they asked for it to go on display in the Hall, in the same room as the original Will on display. I certainly never made with that intention.
The first piece looked at letters, how paper was folded, the salutations and signatories. I found letters which are extraordinarily polite and yet highly insulting at the same time, formal business letters and family exchanges. These were machined on strips of paper. The opening and closing format hand stitched on paper which was folded to become its own envelope. With a nod to wax seals, these were dipped in wax.
The second piece I decided to make an 'Essex Girl Will' - a tongue firmly in cheek joke. A parody which nods back to the letters which raise such a smile to our modern reading.
Thinking of letters being opened and refolded, potential cracks or holes which might appear, informed the construction, this time, the whole piece is dipped in wax. You will have to visit 'A Studio in Action' and look in my notebook to read the transcript, words all of my own making.
I challenged myself in all sorts of ways with this work, and am very satisfied with my efforts. 20m long..... OK less than 2cm wide, but the 'biggest' piece of work I've ever done. Mhmmm wonder if it will be like bookbinding, where I keep making successively longer books.
A Studio in Action continues to be available from
Wed 24th - Sun 28th Feb. 11am-3pm
In the Hall itself you will find my piece and also one from Miriam.
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