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Modern day Bayeux Tapestry opens in London: 7-18th August 2017

Modern day Bayeux Tapestry opens in London: 7-18th August 2017

Quaker Tapestry roadshow at The Light, Friends House, Euston Road.
A Free exhibition including workshop, demonstrations and shop.

Quaker Tapestry

Part of the famous Quaker Tapestry, a modern stitched masterpiece in story-telling, is on show at Friends House in London. It was last in the capital over 20 years ago.

Begun in 1981 and completed in 1996, the 77 panels which make up the Quaker Tapestry are the work of 4,000 men, women and children from around the world. Some of the panels made journeys of thousands of miles as they passed from one group of embroiderers to another.

Now 20 panels, from their Lake District home – the Arts Council accredited Quaker Tapestry Museum in Kendal – will form a FREE exhibition accompanied by demonstrations, workshops, audio guides and a shop. It is expected to be of great interest to embroiderers and crafts people.

The design was heavily influenced by the Bayeux Tapestry including the use of three horizontal divisions to tell a story, embroidered outlines for faces and hands and solid infilling of clothing and buildings. The tapestry is worked in crewel embroidery using woollen yarns on a handwoven woollen background. In addition to the five historic and well-known stitches and techniques of split, stem, chain, Bayeux Point and Peking knot, tapestry founder Anne Wynn-Wilson invented a new cord or rope-like stitch. Known as Quaker stitch it forms the distinctive curved lettering on the panels.

Using these stitches the embroiderers overcame the challenges such as depicting glass windows, New York skyscrapers, reflections in puddles, dramatic perspectives and convincing chains and ropes.

In one panel, the skeletal outline of a weeping tree in winter, with its solid trunk, allows for the bones of a building behind to show through. In another panel Peking knots, used to make leaves, are worked in different tensions to create texture. Glass is achieved using a smooth wool split stitch and other stitches, like Bayeux Point, produce fine, almost translucent clothing.

Each of the colourful tapestry panels measures 25” (635mm) x 21” (533mm).

“Since the dawn of recorded history, craftspeople have used their skills to tell stories” explained Quaker Tapestry Museum manager Bridget Guest.

“Such a record is the Quaker Tapestry. As with the famous Bayeux Tapestry, it is a hanging with a compelling historical narrative, 350 years of social history from a Quaker perspective. A reminder of the contribution these non-conformists have made to the modern world, it is also testament to the imagination and craftsmanship of the global community who made it.”

“These colourful and vibrant tapestry panels will interest people who love embroidery and social history. There are stories about scientists, engineers and ecologists and others. The embroideries also deal with subjects as diverse as prison reform, peace work and anti-slavery initiatives” added Bridget.

Described by world traveller and writer Alexander McCall Smith as one of the ‘six best tapestries’ to see, the travelling roadshow is at the Friends House from Monday 7 August until Friday 18 August.

Since its first public exhibition, the Tapestry has travelled to more than 160 venues in the UK, Europe and America. This year a roadshow went to Taunton in Somerset. Previous London venues include the Royal Festival Hall (1990) and the House of Commons (1991).

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Please contact Emma Dewhurst on the details below, or Bridget Guest for further information or images. 01539 814860/722975 or 07580 631604.