Call that a horse? Well… yes. Sort of. If you screw up your eyes. And turn down the lights.
OK. It doesn’t look much like a horse, or anything else, for that matter. So, why am I showing it to you? Because, it was finally returned to me this week some months after its ‘birth’.
On 11 June last year my friend, Jacqui, and I went to a textile workshop session at Bolton Museum. It was run as part of a collaboration between museums in Lancashire and Greater Manchester and textile producers in India. We had a presentation from an Indian textile designer called Loki, followed by a couple of short talks by members of the Bolton Museum staff during which we were shown some items from the Museum’s collection.
Towards the end of the session we were shown some horses that had been made by local craftspeople in India. The horses have a wire frame with some padding added then the entire thing is covered by calico which is stitched together. Loki had brought some of the horses with him for use in the project. Participants in the workshop were then invited to decorate either a horse or a cotton ‘Gandhi’-style hat using fabrics that were also provided. Jacqui and I both chose the horses. We were told that the decoration had to be completed during the session and that horses would be retained to be shown in an exhibition that was also part of the project. If we wanted to keep our horse it would be available at the end of the exhibition.
Unfortunately there was insufficient time to do anything other than very basic decoration. However, during that period Loki did show us how to make the tiny round fabric buttons that often feature on Indian clothing. I attempted to make two of the buttons which I then used as the eyes on my horse.
Usually I suffer from a distinct lack of imagination and creative inspiration when embarking on a project. However, this time, I knew exactly what I wanted to do to decorate my horse and even how I would achieve it. The problem was time, or the distinct lack of it!
I know that the best that can be said about my decoration is that it is naive, but that doesn’t matter to me. I enjoyed the workshop, I actually like the naïveté of the horse’s shape and decoration and I love the fact that I felt inspired whilst I was doing it. It makes me believe that my crafting abilities can, and probably will, improve. That is quite a lot to gain from one short workshop session. Don’t you agree?