Sunday, 28 August 2011

Old St Stephens

Many visitors have come from far and away this weekend to see my "Remember Me" exhibition at Old St Stephens Church, one mile above Robin Hoods Bay. I am exhausted from meeting and greeting, though today 10 of us had a merry little picnic in the church porch and I have been touched by the warmth and support from the locals. It will be on till Friday night and I will be there again all of Bank Holiday Monday to talk about it. The rest of the week the exhibition will be manned by volunteers but if you really want to see me then ring me on my mobile number and I will try and come up to the church to see you as I am staying not far away. Here is what you can expect to see

50 garlands embroidered with names of girls who died young and single. The Maidens garlands hanging in the back of the church may have been made for any of them. I have made a flower for each girl out of papers, vintage materials and silks and from each hangs a single white paper glove and ribbons. All the girls are buried in the church yard. They are all "sitting" in the pews at the back of the church near the ghostly remnants of the original garlands and near a dress which is facing away from the altar. They never got to walk up that aisle as brides!

In the chancel area, hanging over the pews are embroidered blue runners telling the stories of boys who would have been the girls' contemporaries but who were also unmarried because they also died young, all of them at sea. Many many more boys died than girls but I have selected ones who had a good description on their graves of where they were sailing, or where they were drowned. Some local buys met their deaths as far away as Tasmania but most drowned in the North Sea on the route up and down to London.
Hand embroidering these tales became a bit of a chore towards the end but it was worth it because I have met many local people with the same surname, live in the houses of these families and have shared stories with me.

You will see my recreation of Janey Levitt's garland hanging back where it belongs up near the altar. Today has been very windy and it has been turning around nicely all day in the breeze.

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