Exhibitions

SUMMER FAIR Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st July 2024

The Appliqué Art of the Tentmakers of Cairo – Exhibition and Sale in the barn Wednesday 13th - Monday 19th August

The tradition of ‘tentmaking’ in Egypt goes back at least a thousand years to the time when the Sultans used vast and elaborately decorated tents as moveable palaces to project their power when travelling throughout their realm to meet their subjects or to go to war.  Indeed, the connection between the leader’s power and his tent was so great that one of the campaign objectives in battle was to capture and topple the opposing commander’s tent.

The history of appliqué as a technique goes back even further to the time of the Pharoah’s with, for example, appliqué embellishment found on some of Tutankhamun’s vestments, and the discovery of appliquéd leather goods, including a ‘tent’ covering the sarcophagus of a royal princess.

Using a collection of antique, vintage and contemporary tentmaker pieces (“khayamiya”), this exhibition will take the visitor through the more recent history of tentmaking from the second half of the Nineteenth Century to the present day, starting with works from the so-called ‘Khedival Revival’ period of the craft and ending with examples from a very recent exhibition of ultra-modern tentmaker art.

Through the collection of pieces on display, the visitor will be able to appreciate the skill and entrepreneurial instincts of the tentmakers as their design vocabulary has expanded from their roots in the two great Islamic art forms of geometry and calligraphy over this time period.  Whilst this has happened partly in response to the changing demands of their market, both in terms of the changing taste of fashion and new business opportunities (such as the stitching of so-called ‘touristic khayamiya’ for the growing number of visitors drawn to Egypt), it has also been a consequence of their development as artists and the evolution of their craft into an art-form in the last fifty years.

So, come and see for yourselves, hopefully be enthralled by the skill of these artists (the majority of whom are still men) and perhaps even find a piece of tentmaker art to take home with you.

The Art of Reinvention - An exhibition of textiles and assemblages by Rachel Sumner. Cowslip Cafe 7th September- 27th October 2024

Rachel Sumner is well known for her intricate textile pictures. They are created from her collection of vintage, personal and charity shop finds accumulated over the years. After being carefully pieced together each picture is refined by ‘drawing’ into it with stitch. The imagery seeks to celebrate the natural world on land and at sea, some are observational others atmospheric and mysterious. The textile pieces are accompanied by an array of joyful birds and quirky boats assembled from discarded materials including driftwood, found objects and ephemera. They are very different in character yet complimentary and regarded by the artist as just another manifestation of her ‘magpie’ habit and the intense enjoyment of making something new out of something old or discarded.

A regular tutor at Cowslip, Rachel will be giving a 2-day workshop: To the Lighthouse: A Magical Seascape on the 26th-27th of October. There is also a Play Day on Friday 25th of October where it will be possible to create some of the dyeing and textile effects for use in the workshop or other projects.

CHRISTMAS FAIR Friday 15th & Saturday 16th November 2024