Whitby Museum

Since October I’ve been visiting Whitby Museum every couple of weeks to research their collections and gather source material for my exhibition next year. My last visit at the start of December gave me the opportunity to finalise some of my thoughts and get specific photographs for pieces I want to create.

Text is a recurring theme in my work and the hand painted signs in the museum are beautifully made.

Narwhal Text Panel
Narwhal Text Panel
Plesiosaurus Text panel
Plesiosaurus Text Panel

I’ve been working on some text samples in  the studio using gold thread, a new challenge for me as I usually work with metallics by hand. I’ll be looking to my favourite thread supplier Barnyarns for some advice on getting the best thread and how to stitch out without breakage.

Narwhal Text Sample
Narwhal Text Sample

The collection contains a wide range of fossil material – vertebrates, invertebrates, plants and trace fossils. The ammonites, nautiloids, belemnites, marine reptiles, fish and plants are of particular interest and international scientific importance with over 200 ‘primary’ type specimens which includes many holotypes [a single specimen recognised worldwide as showing the main character of a particular species].

The fossil collection at the museum has some beautiful examples and the handwritten and typed labels have inspired me to include catalogue numbers and text in the embroideries and drawings for the exhibition.

Fossil Display Cabinet
Fossil Display Cabinet

The natural history cabinets contain so many species of birds and butterflies and I’ve been drawn to the bird’s nests and how the branches are woven together to create intricate 3D structures.

Bird Nest
Bird’s Nest

During my Christmas break from teaching I will be in the studio creating samples and developing new pieces for the exhibition. I’m looking forward to the luxury of whole days in the studio and no admin.

Whitby Museum closes for the festive season and re-opens on Tuesday 9th January. If you’ve never visited before it should be your new year’s resolution!