Sketching just colour
Hope and resilience

Visiting the past and appreciating the present

Linen sleeve

This past Saturday Gracie and I took a last minute trip to London. I'd been wanting to visit the Threads of Feeling Exhibit at the Foundling Museum and realized it was ending on Sunday. The exhibit was showing tokens mothers left with their babies when they took them to the Foundling Hospital, Britain's first home for abandoned children. The hospital was opened in 1741 by, Thomas Coram with the help of famous friends like Hogarth and Handel. A short article about the compassionate Coram, and the significance of his undertaking during this time in Britain's social history is here.

Printed fabric and a mother's letter

The mothers left the tokens, mainly textiles, so they could identify their children if and when they went back to claim them. Hardly any mothers were ever able to return for their babies; of the thousands left there, less than 200 mothers were ever able to return for them. There were beautiful small fabric remnants and ribbons from bonnets and a lot of embroidery too. The images here are some of the items we saw; I scanned them from a set of postcards I bought, there's no named photographer to credit.

6-RibbonsRibbon from a bonnet

I found the whole experience really moving and I'm so glad we made it there before it closed. Gracie enjoys history as much as I do and has almost daily been saying she wants a time machine to go back and visit the past, especially ancient Egypt, a current topic for her in school. We discussed that while the past is fascinating, we're really lucky as women to live in the 21st century. Today as women we have choices - we can vote, have careers, choose who we'd like to marry or choose to not marry at all, we can even decide for ourselves the right time to start a family. We appreciated the craftsmanship in the textiles but also the significance and sadness in the lack of choice they represented. We're so fortunate.

Wool heart and blue ribbon

Another surprise treat for the day was meeting Jill. I can't tell you how fun it was to meet; she is so sweet and lovely and joined us for the exhibit.

Floral printed fabric

Pretty red sprig on linen and red wool

After the Foundling Museum Gracie and I went to get her an Egyptian fix at the British Museum. Gracie couldn't get enough; she was especially taken with "Ginger" the mummy with red hair. Ginger was well preserved in hot, dry sand for thousands of years. Poor guy had no idea he'd end up enclosed in glass for much of eternity with thousands of people staring at him everyday. Gracie observed, "I love looking at everything so much, but doesn't it feel like we're kind of grave robbers too." Hmmm. 

Blue-glazed shabtis

The mummies are interesting but I was drawn to the small objects, like these pretty blue shabtis

Picture heavy I know, but one more image from a current project just finished. I've been kept very busy this week with all sorts of arachnids and insects, here are a few of them now.


Wednesday is currently my favourite day. Happy Wednesday to you!



Lisa at Lil Fish Studios

I read about that exhibit after seeing your photos on Flickr. Very moving indeed.

I'd love to see Ginger in person! I'm sort of jealous!

The spider is awesome and though I'm normally afraid of them, this guy seems kind of friendly to me.

Have a great day, friend.

Nicole FollowtheWhitebunny

Oh well that's a coincidence I just found a link to this exhibit a couple of days ago and watched the slides/photos on the website which features lots of examples. I thought it was heartbreaking. I'm also surprised these little snippets of fabric 'survived' for so long. I can imagine that Gracie is fascinated by stuff from Ancient Egypt. Sounds like a great day out all together. :) I'm going to London in a few weeks time and will try and visit the V & A while I'm there.


I would have loved to attend this exhibition with you, my friend, and to meet Jill too, most evidently !!! I would have brought the boys, we love the British Museum too, as you can imagine ! :)
thank you for all these photos.
The spider and its web are out of this world ! Are they for the mag or for yourself ? Any ways, it is so so very pretty & so well done !

Jill Wignall

I had a lovely day too! It was wonderful to meet you both. The British Museum is so special, but I rarely go. i loved G telling me all about ancient Egypt ~ she knows so much! You little creatures are wonderful!


I would have loved to have visited the threads of feeling exhibition - I've read so many good reviews!
I've been trying to get hold of the book that accompanies it but no luck so far!


The exhibit sounds lovely and touching. I like Gracie's observation of visiting a museum. very good description of the experience really.

margie oomen

what an amazing exhibit that is, sad, poetic, thought provoking but amazing none the less.
and to see it with gracie and jill , what a treat that must have been!!
Of course I adore the spider box and all of its lovely inhabitants. My current favorite day is thursday, because the week is almost done and my daughter cooks dinner

Amy {giftofgreen}

Wow. Just wow. Thanks for posting about this exhibit.

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