A new exhibition, which combines displays drawn from Carisbrooke Castle Museum’s extensive collection of historic artefacts with contemporary artistic responses created by QuayCrafts, has recently opened and will run until 3rd November.
‘Out of the Box’ started when QuayCrafts, a group of artists who work in various media, were invited to discover some objects which were packed away in boxes in the Carisbrooke Castle Museum store, but which have the potential to provide fascinating insights into the history of the Isle of Wight.
These artists selected objects and stories from the museum’s collection and the Castle’s history to inspire their work.
Acquired over the last 120 years, the museum’s collection includes applied art, fine art, photography, social history, science and technology, archaeology and archives, and covers local history topics from prehistory to the present day. Now totalling over 34,000 objects, only a small number can be displayed in the museum at any one time.
Some of the objects now on display have not been on show before and displayed alongside the new pieces makes for an unusual and interesting exhibition. Several themes are used including objects that reveal the way Island people of the past lived their lives, how they worked and spent their leisure time: from working on the land, in industry and on the sea and the shore, to games and pastimes.
Included in the exhibition is the work of Chris Lines and Diana Parsons. Chris produced a garment in textile and mixed media entitled ’53 Hands’ inspired by a ladies’ jacket made by Redfern which was based in Cowes, in 1885. In the 1881 census 53 women dressmakers were listed as part of the workforce of 75 women living, working and sleeping at the Redfern premises at 46-47 High Street, Cowes. 7 of those tailoring were Islanders.
Displayed on the wall of the exhibition space Diana Parsons’ work depicting 2 Figureheads refer to the wood and stucco ship’s figurehead of the ‘Auguste of Brake’ which is now in the Castle Museum collection. Travelling from Fremantle in Australia to London the ‘Auguste of Brake’ ran aground on Atherfield Ledge on a stormy night in February 1900. 18 crew were rescued by the local lifeboat crew but most of the ship was lost.
Curator Dr Rachel Tait explains:
“It’s been fantastic to work with the QuayCrafts group, their creative work has offered us new ways of looking at these fascinating historic artefacts and the stories they tell about the Island’s history.”
Out of the Box is accompanied by a programme of special events including ‘Museum Insight: Creative Collections’ on Tuesday 12th March between 14:00-16:00. This event is an opportunity to meet some of the artists who have contributed to the exhibition and hear about what inspired them and how they developed their work. There will also be an opportunity to view the exhibition. £8 including refreshments. Booking essential.
Report by Alan and Suzanne Whitewood