Update: Making America Project

January 31, 2014 - Zoe Dennington

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Regular readers will remember my last post about the ‘Making America’ project, a collaboration between the Museum and Bath Spa University Mixed Media Textiles students. This morning I was delighted to join the group again to see how their work had developed. 

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Since my last visit the group had taken part in workshops inspired by the textiles techniques represented in the Museum collection. Their rag rug session had led to some interesting outcomes, with students combining a range of natural and man made fibres in their work.

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Some students had also adapted traditional weaving techniques. Jan Kinsman produced these samples following research into Navajo weaving.

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Sae Murai’s work explores themes of microbiology and decay. She has combined her research with hooked rug techniques from the Museum, creating petri dishes containing tiny textile ‘mould’ that can be viewed through magnifying glasses or microscopes. Abigail Barnes’ work explores similar themes- you can view some of her inspirations here.

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Others students have drawn inspiration from the  printed textiles that appear in the Museum’s Period Rooms. Charlee Strowger intends to create soft furnishings and wallpaper using a gun motif taken from 2013’s Gangsters and Gunslingers exhibition, creating a contrast between domesticity and themes of war and violence.

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Animals and animal products were also a theme that had inspired many students. Emily Caldwell plans to create a corset based on dresses displayed in the museum, incorporating fur and animal bones that reference our collection of prints by John James Audubon.

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Finally, this fabulous 3D rabbit will act as a prototype for a life-sized textiles buffalo head!

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 We look forward to working with the students as they develop their ideas, and seeing their finished pieces on display in June. For details of the exhibition, please see the event page.