MERL themed scarf
|Theme(s)||Arts and crafts|
|Collection||Museum of English Rural Life (The MERL) Object Collection|
This scarf was crafted by Caitlin Hinshlewood, a textiles designer based in London. It is a unique design, inspired by a visit to The MERL, and features a chicken, a tractor, a saw, a shovel, and a gingerbread mould figure. The arrangement is printed on silk and the edges are hand stitched. Caitlin’s work is often used as a narrative for untold histories, as opposed to simply emphasising visual appeal. The MERL collections were ideal for this type of storytelling, particularly with regard to garden tools, as we often know little about the specific histories of these objects. She also has an interest in folk histories, as is reflected by the inclusion of the corn dolly.
Historically, textiles in a rural setting have been function over fashion, and clothing was only unique due to the repairs carried out on it. Some smocks were the exception, sporting detailed embroidery. It’s still debated today as to the motivation behind this embroidery. Some believe it represented the worker’s profession or location, with others countering that the designs were down to individual personal preference.