Saturday 24 September 2016

Visit to Treleigh Church - embroidered altar cloth

Visited Treleigh Church, near Redruth, this morning where local historian Paddy Bradley (who has helped us so much with Heart of Conflict, our work on World War One) has set up an exhibition to mark the 150th anniversary of the church.  Fascinating - as ever. The church a spectacular example of mid 19th century architecture.
An unexpected surprise is the altarcloth which is famous for the standard of its needlework depicting a local landscape with mine chineys and engine house. We can't see the golden gorse at the centre as it's Harvest Festival and the sheaf of corn is hiding it. Worth coming back to see.
 Outside in the church hall - what a splendid display of cushions. Very cheerful. If they all matched, it wouldn't be half as inviting.

Friday 23 September 2016

In search of a key image

Photo research this morning at the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, where our exhibition Heart of Conflict, Cornwall's World War One, will be opening in mid December.
We're in search of a key image i.e. a picture that sums up the situation at home, the sacrifices people made and the hardship they endured. It isn't easy but there are lots of choices. Images by local photographer A.W. Jordan who was based in Truro of local land army girls are interesting. But the search continues....

Wednesday 21 September 2016

100 Faces 100 Stories

To Camborne Old Cornwall Society with our volunteer and keen local historian Valerie Grigg. Jo Mattingley makes a presentation on 100 Faces 100 Stories, a Heritage Lottery funded project to gather information and images from Cornish collections on World War One.
An amazing amount of work that resulted in an excellent booklet and website - more here.

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Christmas Eve funeral for girls blown up in explosives factory

The week continues in a melancholy fashion: as part of Heart of Conflict, in search of more graves we visit Phillack, near Hayle, where two young women were buried on Christmas Eve 1916 following an explosion at the National Explosives Factory on the dunes.  More in this article by Peter London.  Huge amounts of explosives were produced there during World War One and the work was extremely dangerous.
We don't manage to find the graves but there is a useful contact inside the church so we can email the vicar tomorrow. (Wonderful bonus to find the church open - not that usual these days).

More work at Stithians - we find a Remembrance Day date for a ceremony

Back to Stithians to meet up with Rhiannon Stevenson, our Duke of Edinburgh volunteer who has been doing some research on a local war grave. Joseph Martin died on 5 December 1917 from his wounds at Bagthorpe Military Hospital in Nottingham. He was only 22.
It's a sad story as his parents, John and Mary Martin, lost another son in infancy (the grave notes this).
Fr Simon Bone, team vicar, comes to meet us and we make arrangements for a short ceremony on Friday 11 November at 430pm. Rhiannon is going to write a poem and Fr Simon knows an organist who will play if we choose hymns. Very much appreciate such a great response to Rhiannon's idea.

Sparkling glasses and a tablecloth - World War One memorabilia

A visit to Eileen Tessier in Nancegollan, Cornwall. Eileen contributed to our first Heart of Conflict exhibition in February 2015 and promised to dig out various things that belonged to her grandmother in World War One. The glasses are exquisite - so delicate and such thin glass. They - with the tablecloth - will help to give a feel of what a home looked like in those years.

Monday 19 September 2016

Visit to Paddy Bradley, Redruth, and an unknown soldier's medal

Always fascinating to see Paddy Bradley's wonderful collection of photographs in Redruth. Paddy specialises in anything to do with Redruth  - and he has whole albums about rugby in the town, in particular the 1913-14 team which we'll feature in Heart of Conflict, our exhibition at the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, opening in December.
 Percy Lidgey, who played in that side, never returned from the War.

Paddy also has a medal that an acquaintance has given him. It apparently was awarded to J.C. Trengrove. Paddy's friend doesn't know the history - and it is apparently of no family significance. But we can research the story behind this. It would be too bad to think that this soldier might otherwise be forgotten.

War graves at home - the forgotten dead

In the afternoon - it's a grey afternoon after all and it seems to fit the mood - we discover some war graves in local churchyards. There's one in Nancegollan - a soldier who died at home from the effects of mustard gas. And another in Stithians Chapel: Pte Pascoe was laid to rest without a marker. But at least his name is on the memorial outside the chapel and the granite monument in the centre of the village.
We're working with local Duke of Edinburgh volunteer Rhiannon Stevenson on a ceremony this Remembrance Day to remember Stithians war dead.
But there are so many other graves.... We are wondering whether to create a pack to circulate to other churches to suggest that they do something similar.

Delicious autumn

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. George Eliot.

Autumn sadly not that appealing here in Cornwall where we're starting on the next stage of Heart of Conflict, our exhibition on World War One - due to open at the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro,  in December.

First stop: a meeting in Redruth. A steady drizzle is falling...

Sunday 18 September 2016

Lucinda Chambers fashion trail at the National Portrait Gallery

Mary English - portrait by William Armfield Hobday
Picked up a leaflet by chance at the National Portrait gallery - Lucinda Chambers, fashion editor at Vogue, has chosen paintings that particularly inspire her to create a 'Height of Fashion' trail. What a great idea. Click here to find out more. 

"I often find myself turning towards the National Portrait Gallery always in the knowledge that I will discover something new to me, that will both stimulate and inspire," she says. "As a fashion editor, I think people expect me to be pretty obsessed with clothes, but, I would say that for me they are a small part of what engages me, they are a piece of the puzzle. I’m far more interested in the pictures: pictures of how men and women are portrayed; how the world sees them and how they see themselves. "

We're continuing to do work on needlework and embroidery - if not fashion (but who knows what may come next). Katrina Williams will be running our next embroidery session at the Masbro Centre, Hammersmith, in October.

Friday 16 September 2016

Skate shop hit by flash floods

Really sorry to hear from Tom Hudson of Roots Skate Shop in Camborne that his shop was hit by flash floods earlier this week. We're working with Tom on our competition for new skateboard design. 
Luckily he didn't lose any stock - but the carpet was soaked and the whole place will take ages to dry out.
For all interested skateboarders - the shop will be fully open again next week.
With rain like this - no wonder there was a flood.

Sewing sketchbook

This is a good idea. Our volunteer Katrina Williams who has been leading sewing classes at the Masbro Centre has started a sketchbook with ideas for designs (inspired by a notebook designed for the purpose that she found on Chiswick High Road!).
Any notebook would do, though...
Katrina is very skilled at this kind of thing - will put up some photos, too, of her travel sketchbooks.

Thursday 15 September 2016

A 1918 diary from Cornwall

A fascinating (and cool - the temperature in London is in the high 20s again) morning at the Imperial War Museum reading the diary of a Miss Bennett, who was closely involved in recruiting and running the Land Army in west Cornwall during World War One.
It proved quite a tough battle to persuade farmers to take on women to help them. There are more than a few complaints. Miss Bennett covers dozens of miles on her bicycle in the hope of keeping up numbers and ensuring the quality of work is good.
We'll be throwing a spotlight on this diary in our exhibition, Heart of Conflict, opening in December at the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, Cornwall.

Wrapped jamjar

Still looking out for ingenious ways with fabric - this jamjar in the cafĂ© at Camborne station is tied up with ribbon. We're still working with needlework and embroidery - our volunteer Katrina Williams will be running the next sewing workshop at the Masbro Centre, Hammersmith, on 11 October 2016.  Click here to see photos of the workshop we did there in May.

Wednesday 14 September 2016

More photos of Gida - new African art collective in Brixton

A few more photos from Gida, the new African art collective in Brixton, just a stone throw from Brixton Jamm.
Our partner in the competition for an African headwrap design, Jos Brient of Azawala, has developed this with friends.
It's only just opened  -but it's a fabulous space.
Don't forget  - there's still time to enter our competition. Click here to download an entry form.

Tuesday 13 September 2016

African headwrap design competition - extended

Need inspiration to enter our design competition? There's lots here at Gida
We're extending out competition for new African headwrap designs until 31 October 2016- so there's still time to start thinking creatively. We want this to be YOUR chance to say something about your life.  The competition  is called I'M STILL HERE. It's free and open to everyone in the country.
 Download the entry form here.
"You don’t have to be African – or a fashion student – or a print maker. You just have to have a voice and want to tell us about your life and experience,” says Jos Brient of Azawala, the Africa art specialist. We've developed this competition in partnership with Azawala.
Jos has moved from Elephant and Castle and just opened Gida, a brand new venture in Brixton, just a short walk from Brixton Jamm.  Watch this space for more news about this fabulous new collective. Gida means 'home' and artists involved want this to be a space where you can hang out and spend time while looking at brand new art, design and fashion.
Gida is at 55, Loughborough Road, London SW9 7TB. Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday 11am to 7pm. Free wifi! To find out more, call 0203 5836387 or email

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