1st Oct 2016 - 15th Apr 2017
Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, Ditchling, East Sussex, BN6
An exhibition of knitted work by Level 4 Fashion and Textiles students will run in conjunction with the exhibition 'Dyeing Now: Contemporary Makers Celebrate Edith M Mairet’s Legacy'.
The exhibition coincides with Wool Week and features a student design project which was run in collaboration with Ditching Museum of Art + Craft in the early Spring of 2016. It features a curated selection of sketchbook design developments and hand knitted design samples all inspired by the Museum’s Edith M Mairet archive and other artefacts from the collection.
In addition to the exhibition, the students will also run a drop-in hand knit workshop for visitors to the Museum entitled Celebrate Hand Knitting on Saturday 15 October. The relaxed and friendly workshop invites participants to bring their existing knitting skills, or come and learn the basics of knitting to start them on a new journey of creativity. The aim of the workshop is to create one large celebratory piece of knitting from pieces made during the day and inspired by the museum. A selection of needles and yarns will be provided, but please feel free to bring your own knitting along and knit (or crochet) with us during the day.
Edith M Mairet was an enthusiastic teacher, dedicated to ensuring that her lifetime of experimentation with natural dyes and textiles was passed on to future generations. A pioneer of the 20th-century modern craft revival in Britain, Mairet’s arts and crafts affiliations began alongside her first husband, Ananda Coomaraswamy, at C R Ashbee’s community in Chipping Campden, before moving to Ditchling and befriending the Guild of St Joseph & St Dominic. She was visited by Gandhi in 1914 and became the first woman Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) in 1939.
Mairet shared a view common with many of her Ditchling contemporaries that the sustainability of craft lay in communicating with a new generation of practitioners, and to this end she taught at Brighton Art School between 1939 and 1947, favouring experimentation rather than technical expertise. Mairet’s ‘A Book of Vegetable Dyes’ was first published in 1916 and was so successful that it ran to five editions (including a version published by Hilary Pepler’s St Dominic’s Press)
Today the book is still regarded as the definitive text on natural dyes and it remains an enormously influential text for weavers, natural dye and textile artists. Reflecting both Mairet’s ambition to pass on her knowledge and the book’s continued influence, the Museum has invited contemporary international weavers, artists and dyers to respond to the book in a live research project. Participants in the project will create their own natural dyes based on Mairet’s recipes and advice and their dye samples will be incorporated into a display alongside examples from Museum’s collection of Mairet’s dyeing and weaving and all five volumes of the original book. Find out more about this project and how to get involved.
Samples of hand dyed yarn will continue to arrive throughout the exhibition, and the display will evolve throughout its run to accommodate new contributions. Individual pieces are labeled and charted with notes commenting on different techniques and ingredients, and the museum’s Parlour has become a place for visitors to relax and view hand crafted yarn work and equipment.
Accompanying the exhibition is a series of workshops, events and drop-in sessions with the aim of encouraging visitors to try their hand at creating their own textiles and natural dyes.