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Hatched, Matched, Dispatched – and Patched!

Exhibitions Historical textiles Selvedge shows and workshops

There was a great deal of excitement in the selvedge office last week as Clare's sister in-law gave birth to her first baby, a girl Ella.  The need to mark this occasion has been overwhelming and her stash of hand crafted gifts is already substantial. Evidence of the way people commemorate family milestones can be found across the globe in all cultures and is the focus of this Summer's exhibition at the American Museum in Britain. Stitched memories on display include finely detailed quilts made in response to a marriage, birth, or death, including mourning quilts dating from the American Civil War.  Two of these come from New Jersey: a Darts of Death or Widow’s Quilt (a striking arrangement in black and white) and an Album Quilt featuring a formidable Lady Liberty bearing the Union flag. Particularly moving in the wartime connection is a tablecloth from 1945, embroidered with the names of friends and colleagues of an American soldier who took part in the D-Day landings.  His British fiancée pinned the needle into the cloth the day she heard that he had died in combat.  The stitched decoration remains unfinished.2014.4 det 2 Throughout the season there will be a series of talks and workshops supporting the exhibition, starting with a talk on 16 April by Edwina Ehrman, Curator of Fashion & Textiles at the Victoria & Albert Museum who curated their hugely successful exhibition of wedding dresses. 1958_89_01-copyAll of these quilts can be viewed during a visit to the Selvedge Fair, Sat 28 Mar 12-5 Hatched, Matched, Dispatched – and Patched! Until  1 Nov, Tues– Sun, 12-5 The American Museum in Britain, Claverton Manor, Bath, BA2 7BD americanmuseum.org  


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