An event celebrating Arts and Craft textiles is to showcase a unique cape embroidered with messages from women around the world.
The Cape of Clouds by Louise Gardiner 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 Marchmont House in the Borders on 1 February.
It brings together a rmix 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 McPherson.
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.”