Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fabric with feeling

My cousin has sent me an article about an exhibit we wish we could visit together - Threads of Feeling at The Foundling Museum in London (by which I mean England, not Ontario!)

It's a collection of fabric scraps given as identifying marks for babies left in the 1700s by mothers who could no longer care for them, but hoped to be able to come back for some day. Apparently only 152 of the 16,282 children accepted by the foundling hospital over a 19 year period were ever reunited with their families, which says a lot about the life expectancy and economic hardship of the time.

The history is amazing and moving, but a side interest to the creative people who visit this blog is the fabric itself, real everyday fabric that would probably never otherwise have been preserved for people like us to look at. Even wedding fabrics might not have been saved for so long - cloth being one of the most recyclable materials, especially at the level of poverty we're talking about here. But a baby is different, and the giving up of one unimaginably significant.

If you've got time for a hot cup of something and a longer than usual read, the first link will take you to the news article about the story behind the collection, the second to the museum site and a few remarkable photographs of the actual scraps.

What a quilt all that would make!


Northmoon said...

What a remarkable exhibit!

Sally Anne said...

This is fascinating history. Thank you for posting the link.