"We Stitched" exhibition at The Folk of Gloucester
By David Wood
Gloucester Civic Trust has unveiled the latest and final exhibition of its exciting heritage project Rebirth of The Folk of Gloucester; What, Where, When, Why?
"We Stitched" is a celebration of Tudor creativity inspired by the medieval wall art uncovered when the Trust moved into The Folk of Gloucester.
Using a £57,890 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund last autumn, the Trust has been able to work with medieval wall coverings specialist Dr Andrea Kirkham, who has trained 30 volunteers and three artists in the history, significance, and general care of the paintings, as well as looking at the restoration and conservation of these pieces of Tudor art.
Through this engagement, and other activities, the project has broadened the experience of Gloucester Civic Trust's and The Folk of Gloucester's volunteers and encouraged a new, wider audience.
The Rebirth of The Folk of Gloucester; What, Where, When, Why? project has also provided opportunities for local community members to train, learn new skills and participate in various workshops. From creative techniques to catering skills, "We Stitched" is the final creative piece from this project.
Ally Goff, Halima Malek and Lou Spira co-ordinated "We Stitched". They engaged with diverse communities who printed and stitched pieces inspired by elements of the found medieval art. The individual hand-crafted pieces were all stitched together, creating a fabulous wall hanging.
This was unveiled by the Right Worshipful Mayor of Gloucester, Councillor Howard Hyman, and the Sheriff of Gloucester, Cllr Joanne Brown, last month and is now hanging as part of a large exhibition in The Folk of Gloucester.
Alex Cooke, manager of The Folk of Gloucester, said: "We've had many projects and exhibitions since last November and this wall hanging is a snapshot of how the Tudor art looks today and it is a celebration of contemporary art and community. People have been working really hard since January to make this."
Gloucester Civic Trust took on the lease of The Folk of Gloucester with the aim to create a community heritage centre for Gloucester. This historic building was once the folk museum and many have fond memories of this venue.
By re-opening the building, creating workshops and hosting training, more memories will be created, taking The Folk of Gloucester into the next generation, led by the community.
Martyn White, chair of Gloucester Civic Trust, said: ""The next stage is to develop a funding bid to include preserving these pieces of wall art and to explore ways of displaying and describing them.
"The recent grant also paid for a professional interpretation plan - the What, Where, When, Why? element. This will help us develop ways of making the Folk financially strong so that with adaptation, essential repairs and some building improvements we can make it sustainable for years to come. This will require a lot of external support and our next funding bid will help us create that resilience."
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