Threads of Feeling will showcase fabrics never shown before to illustrate the moment of parting as mothers left their babies at the original Foundling Hospital, which continues today as the children’s charity Coram.
In the cases of more than 4,000 babies left between 1741 and 1760, a small object or token, usually a piece of fabric, was kept as an identifying record. The fabric was either provided by the mother or cut from the child’s clothing by the hospital's nurses. Attached to registration forms and bound up into ledgers, these pieces of fabric form the largest collection of everyday textiles surviving in Britain from the 18th Century.
The exhibition is small but extremely interesting and thought provoking; connecting mothers to the babies they were leaving behind and to the scraps of cloth they left with them; tokens of a bond that was broken and the desperation that these women faced. I look forward to reading the catalogue when I get a chance.
I also went to the new Hauser and Wirth gallery in Saville Row where Louise Bourgeois fabric works were being exhibited. An excellent showcase of her cloth pieces from 2005 - 2007. Some really excellent pieces which were not in the Tate's exhibition the other year. I was really happy to see her combining 3D elements with flat painterly pieces and this has really inspired me to continue with my flat + 3D elements in my own cloth works. I also noted the heavy use of cloth strip weaving in her geometric flat pieces.
If you live in London these two exhibitions are not to be missed!