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1 August 2014 – 12 October 2014


Tickets

Exhibitions: The Eye of the Needle: Events

Introductory Tours

Introductory Exhibition talks: Wednesdays 3.30–4.15pm

Tours are free with price of admission and no booking is necessary. Gallery 34.

The Big Stitch

In partnership with the Embroiderers’ Guild

Saturday 4 October 2014
11am – 4pm

The Big Stitch returns for another year! Following the success of our 2012 event we would like to invite you to join us for a celebration of all things embroidered.

Study the history of embroidery in the special exhibition The Eye of the Needle which will display, for the first time in public, a selection of eye-catching, virtuoso 17th-century embroideries from the internationally renowned Feller Collection, together with outstanding examples from the Ashmolean’s own holdings.

See both cutting-edge and traditional embroidery demonstrations; take a guided tour or learn more in a lecture; and enjoy stitching activities for all ages. Bring your own project, or start something new. Experts will be on hand to help you improve your stitching or to get you started if you’re a complete needle-novice.

A full programme of events will be announced soon, but please pre-book The Eye of the Needle exhibition tickets online today by following this link.

What you said about The Big Stitch 2012

“I had an absolutely brilliant day at the Ashmolean, sewing in wonderful surroundings”

“I knew the world’s longest embroidery would be long, but it still surprised me”

“Big Stitch = Big Success! We at the office thoroughly enjoyed ourselves... we even sewed a strawberry!“

“A heavenly day with Meiji textiles, hand stitching demos galore and Pre-Raphaelites”

Lectures

Booking is recommended for all lectures as places are limited. To book please telephone the Box Office on 01865 305 305, or follow this link to book online.

‘I can work well all manner of works which is to be wrought with a Needle’: Exploring the Making of 17th-century Needlework
With Dr Mary Brooks, exhibition curator and Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology, University of Durham
Saturday 9 August, 11am–12pm, Headley Lecture Theatre

Hannah Woolley’s proud boast gives us an unusual insight into one 17th-century woman’s pride in her needlework skills as well as her commercial acumen. This lecture will explore the context in which embroideries were made in the home and the schoolroom, the printed sources for their designs and the complex variety of stitches and techniques. It will look at examples from the Feller and the Ashmolean collections, including radiographs which reveal some surprising links between the natural world and the made world of the embroideries. Tickets £4/£3 concessions. Booking is recommended as places are limited.

Worked with gold, silver and silk’: Embroidery and Embroiderers at the Stuart Court, 1603–1689
With Maria Hayward, Professor of Early Modern History, University of Southampton
Friday 15 August, 2–3pm, Headley Lecture Theatre

Maria Hayward considers how embroidery was used at the Stuart court to decorate royal clothing, livery, furnishings and masque costumes. She explores the types of embroidery being carried out, the materials used, the design process, the cost, and the individuals who carried out the work. Tickets £4/£3 concessions. Booking is recommended as places are limited.

In Conversation: Elizabeth and Micheál Feller
With Dr Catherine Whistler, Keeper of Western Art, Ashmolean Museum
Tuesday 26 August, 2–3pm, Headley Lecture Theatre

The renowned Feller Collection was lovingly built up over many years, thanks to the enthusiasm, knowledge and energy of Elizabeth and Micheál Feller. Come and hear the stories that lie behind some of the beautiful objects in the exhibition from the perspective of the keen collector. Tickets £4/£3 concessions. Booking is recommended as places are limited.

Workshops

Booking is recommended for all workshops as places are limited. To book please telephone the Box Office on 01865 305 305, or follow this link to book online.

'Empresse of Flowers': Elizabethan Embroidery
With Lynn Hulse and Nicky Jarvis, embroiderers
Friday 1 and Saturday 2 August, 10.30am–5pm, Education Centre

Botanical motifs dominated English domestic embroidery throughout the Elizabethan period. Create a panel inspired by Elizabethan prints using a variety of stitch techniques in silk and metal threads. Tickets £175/£165 concessions. Booking is essential.

The Lost Art of Medieval Appliqué
With Tanya Bentham, embroiderer
Saturday 16 August, 10.30am–4pm, Education Centre

Appliqu. was used in the medieval textile arts to make anything from elaborate wall hangings to useful little purses. Using English wool cloth, gilded leather, and linen thread, design and make your own purse, or iPad cover, in medieval style appliqué. Tickets £75/£70 concessions (includes materials, tea and coffee). Booking is essential.

'English Work’: Embroidery Short Course
With Tanya Bentham, embroiderer
Sunday 17 August, Friday 19 September & Saturday 22 November 10.30am–4pm, Education Centre

This three-day course teaches 'Opus Anglicanum' or ‘English Work’, an ingenious stitch technique which was used in medieval Europe to create beautifully nuanced images using the natural lustre of silk. Tanya Bentham will show you the basic techniques so you can create a complex embroidery of your own design. Tickets £185/£180 concessions (includes materials, tea and coffee ? additional materials will also be available for purchase). Booking is essential.

Study Day

The Eye of the Needle
With Dr Catherine Whistler, Keeper of Western Art, Ashmolean Museum Thursday 25 September, 10.30am?3.30pm, Headley Lecture Theatre

The exuberant and technically exacting embroideries in this exhibition were made by young girls and women in 17th-century England, a century of religious and political upheaval. In this study day, we explore the social context in which these embroideries were made, and the skills and creativity of the makers through these five lectures:

Invisible Work from Female Hands: Changing Ideas about 17th-century English Embroideries
With Dr Mary Brooks, exhibition curator and lecturer in the Department of Archaeology, University of Durham

Exploring Embroideries Up Close: Techniques and Materials
With Sue Stanton, Textiles Conservator, Ashmolean Museum

Wrought with Flowers and Leaves: Depicting Embroidery in Late 16th and Early 17th century British Portraits
With Karen Hearn, Honorary Professor, University College London

Narrative Imagery and Popular Stories in English Domestic Decoration
With Dr Tara Hamling, University of Birmingham

Women as Embroiderers During the EarlyModern Period
With Dr Lynn Hulse, Editor of Text, The Journal of the Textile Society

Tickets for the study day are £25/£20 concessions. Booking is essential. To book please telephone the Box Office on 01865 305 305, or follow this link to book online.