Due to the popularity of the “Stitch like Lorina” workshops during the Frayed exhibition at Time and Tide, Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse are pleased to announce that Lisa Little, Curatorial Assistant, Costume and Textiles, will be running the workshop at the museum on Friday 28th March to coincide with Letters from the Workhouse exhibition that opens on the 9th March. Bring along a quote or use your own words to hand stitch your own Lorina Bulwer inspired sampler.
At the beginning of November I held my first stitch workshop in the salt store at Time & Tide in response to the objects displayed in the Frayed exhibition. There were 16 busy stitchers from Cromer, Great Yarmouth and Norwich Castle Study Centre’s Costume & Textile department who came together to sew. All attempting either their own prepared text or beginning with the alphabet in the style of Lorina Bulwer and to enjoy looking at the exhibition. Some stitched song lyrics, others used proverbs or sayings but all developed their own style.
The public workshop last week saw a diverse assortment of text being used too, such as poems, personal memoirs and letters and quotes from some of the contemporary artists books whose work is in Frayed were also used. One participant experimented with automatic writing based upon the theme of friendship and stitched the largest quantity of words of anyone during the session!
We also had words stitched in rainbow colours, and text not only going horizontally but vertically too in an acrostic style.
My humble attempt during the session translated into random jumbles of letters of the alphabet and at the opposite end of the fabric the beginnings of a recipe for chocolate cake. I thought I would stitch another recipe as a Frayed Facebook follower messaged me and told me they had printed out the apple cake stitched recipe I had stitched earlier and hung it on her refrigerator and she had made the cake from it- and very tasty it was too, but she wasn’t able to share a picture of it as it was all eaten!
Volunteers from Cromer, Norwich and Great Yarmouth Museums’ stitching groups met at Time and Tide for an exclusive Frayed workshop where they learnt how to Stitch like Lorina.
After tea, coffee (and lots of chatter) the Stitchers were given a guided tour around the exhibition led by Ruth Battersby Tooke, who revealed the sad and inspiring stories behind many of the exhibits. The museum Stitchers were very impressed with the detail and intricacy of the designs and were intrigued by the messages in the Bulwer tapestry.
Lisa Little then invited the volunteers to ‘Stitch Like Lorina’ and delivered an excellent workshop where the Stitchers turned their own phrase or quote into a Bulwer-style tapestry.
Fortunately, for those involved, the messages sewn by the Stitchers were more coherent and less angry, although the passing of time, frustrations of life and men in general featured in several of their samplers!
If you’d like to try stitching in the style of Lorina Bulwer, you can download Lisa’s guide to forming the letters here: Stitch like Lorina
On Thursday 13 June, Ruth introduced the project to the audience at the Museums Showoff, an open mic night for ‘everyone who works in or loves museums’, which, for one night only, was held at Open in Norwich.
To accompany her 9 minute slot, Ruth took with her a full-size, 12 feet long, double-sided print of our Lorina Bulwer embroidered letter.