Gum Arabic Print by Sara Gilbert
Meet the Ancestors
Sara Gilbert studied fine art at Plymouth College of Art and this work brings together her interest of the past into the present. Photographs, memories and anecdotes are the common thread.
As a way of connecting to the past, Sara has been researching her family tree and through her research she has found a common thread. "My ancestors are from Lancashire, they worked in the cotton mills, most were poor mill workers and a couple were mill owners. My grandmother was a seamstress and both my great grandmothers too". Although she is not a textile artist Sara enjoys the tactile quality of cloth and she feels that the act of hand printing and stitching somehow binds the present to the past.
"I wanted to find a way of transferring my old family photographs onto the Lancashire cotton calico which I bought from Queen Street mill in Burnley, I began experimenting with gum arabic prints which suited the fabric perfectly".
The result evolved into a large wall-hanging of 44 prints which were hand-stitched to the calico backing cloth. It is suspended by five original Lancashire mill bobbins (circa 1904). Paper labels are attached with dress-makers pins. This work is the start of a new venture for Sara who aims to continue finding ways of communicating her work. "I hope viewers will find the piece evocative and I encourage people to engage in a dialogue about their own family stories".
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