The long awaited first EG Collection exhibition at Bucks County Museum is now open. Your faithful Blogbeva trundled along to see what’s on show.
The exhibition is given plenty of space on the first floor (lift and stair access), spread through three linked areas with a few steps up to reach one section (chair lift provided).
There are six themes showing Embroidery as:
- Status and Ceremony
I chatted with other visitors who were full of questions about the items; what is Bokhara? how do you stitch with moose hair? (yes moose!), how long must it have taken to do that? Some of the “Art” pieces left us bemused, but then a lot of art does that to me!
Somehow an enormous breadth of styles, techniques, and periods of stitched work is represented and mostly shown to good advantage. Lighting and displaying textiles is tricky as there has to be a balance between making the items visible and preventing UV damage, but I felt this had been skilfully achieved here.
By nature the exhibits scream out to be handled but we are frustrated by a barrier of glass. This is where I felt there was something lacking – a selection of handling materials, allowing visitors to feel textures, fabric weights and types would have added the dimension of touch which is so important in textiles. Also the occasional sight of unfinished work and the reverse sides can be of enormous interest and can highlight that beauty and perfection are only part of the story.
I would have like to see more information about the exhibits; how or why they had been selected to represent the various themes, something about their social context maybe – but perhaps this will be explored more in future exhibitions and through the items selected for permanent or long term display.
There was no catalogue or additional written available when I visited, but I gather this is being addressed. However, the stewards were very enthusiastic and helpful – I was really impressed with how delighted they were about the Collection’s arrival and the potential opportunities it opens up for the future.
I will be returning to this exhibition to explore more of it in more detail. Fortunately it continues until October. As far as I know the space will then be closed until January 2018, when it reopens as the permanent display space for the EG Collection. A fitting home I think.