Friday, 25 June 2021

Yarn bombers are back with a museum display

Yarn bombers are back with a museum display

THE work of the “yarn bombers” who so memorably transformed Whitchurch Bridge last summer has gone on show at Henley’s River and Rowing Museum.

The museum’s new “Your Space” gallery is hosting the colourful textile creations of the Thames Path Together community art project.

Titled “Yarn Bombing!” the show runs until Monday, April 2, at the Mill Meadows exhibition space and is open daily from 10am to 5pm.

It brings back to life and places in a new context the display seen in May last year that spanned the entire length of Whitchurch Bridge.

The work of the Thames Path Together community art project, this consisted of a series of knitted tiles featuring characters and scenes inspired by the Thames Path — together with a series of hung panels featuring paintings, drawings, needlecraft and other artistic techniques.

These depicted poeple and animals taking part in activities such as canoeing, fishing, camping and hiking. There were also scenes from nature and views of London from the Thames towpath.

Yarn bombing is a form of street art where public spaces are covered in knitting and crochet. By expanding the definition of yarn to mean any spun thread the group succeeded in creating a highly imaginative and varied display of textile artworks.

The current display also features characters who will be familiar to visitors to the museum’s popular Wind in the Willows gallery.

Museum chairman David Worthington said: “We are delighted to be displaying the colourful creations of the Thames Path Together group in our community gallery. The work of this talented group is bursting with energy and colour, inspired by our beautiful riverside location, and we hope that our visitors will enjoy spotting local landmarks and even Mr Toad within their display!”

Thames Path Together was the brainchild of Whitchurch artist Gill Williamson who set up the Art Café, a Saturday morning community coffee shop, in November 2015 with the aim of running community art projects.

Natalie Patel, the museum’s head of collections and exhibitions, said: “When Gill Williamson from the fantastic Art Café at Whitchurch got in touch I absolutely knew that the only way forward was to yarn bomb the River and Rowing Museum! This hugely talented craft collective have made some incredible textile pieces — my absolute favourite is Mr Toad!

“It has been a pleasure to welcome all kinds of groups into the museum — from budding artists to historians with a great story to share, to entries to the Mayor’s Christmas card competition from all across Henley.

“The community gallery has been hugely popular, and I’d love to hear from anyone who has an idea about what could go into the gallery next.”

Meanwhile, the coming week at the museum promises to be a busy one, with two events for adults taking place.

The first of these, starting at 11am on Tuesday (March 6), is a curator’s tour of the current “Barbara Hepworth: Finding Form” exhibition.

This is followed on Thursday by a talk titled “Lucy Pocock-Stillwell: A woman in a waterman’s world?” Starting at 11.30am, the lecture to mark International Women’s Day will explore Pocock-Stillwell’s career as a professional sculler and subsequently as a women’s rowing coach in the United States.

Tickets for the Tuesday and Thursday events are both priced £6 and can be booked by calling the museum on (01491) 415600.

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