Friday, August 15, 2014

Eye of the Needle Exhibition

One of two lovely caskets in the exhibit.  This one displayed so
you can take a peak inside the lid 
Wow - I have been wanting to blog about this wonderful exhibition for two weeks but have been stymied by a massive computer problem while traveling.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the opening of the Ashmolean exhibit curated by Mary Brooks on the Feller Collection.  Titled Eye of the Needle , it exhibits over seventy-five 17th century embroideries from the Feller's collection as well as a few from the Ashmolean.  Added to that are about a dozen piece in Gallery 5 (bottom floor) from the Ashmolean collection as well in pull out drawers and in cases.  That is almost 100 pieces in one place!

Mary did a fantastic job of picking from the collection and organizing them.  Some of the pieces just blew me away, including the needlelace sampler worked in colored silks and silver threads.  Speaking to Mary at the opening, she was particularly happy with how it was hung.  She insisted in lowering the pieces 18" lower than the museum regulations so that "short women" could see every part of the
Just one corner of the exhibit.  The sweet bag set in the case
was never used and the color was as if it was made
piece up close.  I have to admit that at first I didn't realize that was why I felt like I could see everything so well - but that was just the trick!

Stacey T. and I at exhibit.  Thistle Threads donated
 all the materials for the touch me panels.

My recommendation on this one is that if you can - go.  Swim across the pond if needed.  Mary's goal was to revive interest in 17th century embroidery in England and was inspired by the Bard exhibition by the MET to overwhelm with stunning pieces.  It succeeds!

The exhibit is open until October 12th.  Timed tickets are needed to enter the exhibition, but once in, you can go back in all day.  It will take a few hours to really absorb it.  One thing I wish I had done was buy a second copy of the Feller Book (Volume 2) and take notes in it next to the pieces as photos aren't allowed.

And if you go, remember to stop in Witney at Witney Antiques (30 min away) to look at the selection of samplers and 17th century embroidery there.  Always stunning pieces from coifs, nightcaps, mirrors, and pictures to be viewed.  And taken home if your account has enough shekels left in it!

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