One of the many perks of working in South Kensington is the V&A Museum. It is world renowned for its collections, exhibitions and of course the Friday Lates! Last Friday the Late was titled ‘No Place like Home’ and explored the idea of the home as a sanctuary, an instinctive feeling of belonging or simply a roof overhead.
Here at the Kit Kemp Design Studio we are true embroidery aficionados, so we fought our way through the crowds and signed up for the Feminist Textile Art workshop with textile artist Sarah-Joy Ford.
Sarah-Joy and her team gave us a wonderful introduction and guided us through the process of applique and stitching to create our own small pieces of embroidery.
Embroidery, traditionally a female craft, was once considered a homely pastime. Little did men know that women found embroidery liberating. It was a way to engage in politics and feminism. Behind closed doors and away from scrutiny, women used embroidery to express their identity and style. Embroidering their initials on to their designs was once one of the only ways women were allowed to sign their name and leave their mark, especially as pen and paper were not allowed.
One of the most famous women to express herself through her embroidery was Mary Queen of Scots during her imprisonment. Embroidery was not only a pastime, but a form of communication for Mary. The motifs expressed her private thoughts, at a time when all her correspondence was monitored by her captors. She used emblems of plants and animals in her embroidery. Mary created the Oxburgh Hangings, now in the V&A’s collection, with Elizabeth Talbot. This amazing artwork celebrates the ideas of the home as a place of friendship and creativity and illustrates how women collaborated through craft.
Coming soon at the V&A is Kit Kemp in conversation with Country Life’s Giles Kime on 16th September. CLICK HERE for more information.