Friday, 8 March 2013

Two-thumbed mitten

Sorry to have been silent of late; there has been no progress to report. (Should you be interested in the whys and wherefores take a look at "missing in inaction" here: ).  But, after spending last  weekend at workshops on line and colour with some other City and Guilds students in Reading, works is slowly beginning again. For my line work I'm using architecture (mainly arches, chimneys and columns) as my inspiration; here's a peep at work in progress:

(Apologies for the strange size, I scanned it as a photo, rather than a document).  It needs to go bigger and bolder and get less fussy, I suspect.  We shall see.

The real reason for this post, though. is to record the amazing talk I've just heard by this inspirational lady at the Scott Polar Research Museum as part of the University Museums' celebration of International Women's Day.  What was billed as a 30-minute introductory talk to the Museum's collection of, and research into, Inuit art produced by women was actually an hour-and-a-half of pure fascination.  I hadn't realised that the giant hoods on Inuit women's parka-like garments were that size so that they could carry their babies round safely and warmly (baby being wadded with moss to soak up that which babies emit).  I didn't know that anoraks were made from seal or walrus blubber.  I'd realised that "Inuit Art" is actually a "tradition" invented by way of job-creation for the forcibly-settled Inuit community in the late 1940s but I'd never stopped to think why a nomadic lifestyle with several months of the year spent in near-total darkness might preclude a decorative tradition.

After the talk I took a quick whirl round the museum (must go back for a better look sometime soon) and spotted the most intriguing double thumbed mittens; one thumb either side of the palm.  These curious, cunning mitts are designed to be used whilst harpooning.  If the palm/thumb get wet, the harpoon will slip.  witht these mitts you just flip them round and wear them the other way.  The workmanship was striking; neat, even stitches and a band of white leather around the cuff.  All in all, a fascinating afternoon.

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