Friday, 28 January 2011

Home again

I've had a great break on the Isle of Wight.  My father has a retirement flat in West Cowes and is a sprightly 88. I stay with him as he has a spare room, whereas my sister's bungalow is filled with a couple of teenage nephews! She lives a mile or so along the coast at Gurnard. I spent Wednesday at my sisters and I am sure you can guess we spent most  all of the day talking. We did manage to walk down to the sea front and have short walk on the beach, it was rather chilly. Here's my sister, Janet.

It was wonderful to fill my lungs with sea air and hear the waves breaking on the beach. The island faces the mainland across the Solent so crashing breakers are not so likely on this sheltered shore, but for those of you who miss the sea too, here's a watery shot...

... and a view along the beach in the other direction.

The only good thing to be said was the cloud covered sky did have a bit of variation in tones of grey rather than the uniform milky grey that we have been experiencing lately.

Janet showed me a few copies of her magazine "Selvedge" which is beautiful publication for anyone interested in textiles, art and design,  but what she wanted to share with me was an article about an exhibition at The Foundling Museum called Threads of Feeling.  I will give you a brief outline of the story behind the exhibition, but you should really look at the web sites.   
In 1739 the Foundling Hospital was founded by the philanthropic Thomas Coram to care for abandoned babies.  When mothers brought their babies to the hospital a meticulous register was kept of each child taken in.  However no record of the mothers' names was kept, so to identify the child in the unlikely event of the mother returning to reclaim her child, a token was taken from the mother.  This was  often a piece of fabric cut from the child's or the mother.s clothing. These registers have been meticulously preserved and now form an exhibition at the museum.  The Thomas Coram Foundation is still a leading children's charity.

Flowered all over with cards’. Cotton or linen printed with a playing card pattern © Coram

Not only are these tokens a heart rending record of the tragic separation of mothers and their babies they also form the most extensive collection of examples of 18th century fabrics. Do follow the links, but have a few tissues on hand.  The exhibition is open until March, so may be I will get it together to visit.

Meanwhile back at the Isle of Wight, the weather changed and the cloud broke up Wednesday evening and I was able to get this shot from Janet's front garden  before the light went - then it was really chilly.

Back home to Mr T and Marvin I was pleased to find one of my 'Scribble Boxes' had sold.   
Have a great weekend,

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