The National Museum of the Royal Navy is bringing out the buttons, manning the sewing machines and making ready those knitting needles as they are re-establishing the Department for Knitted Garments for the Royal Navy! The community art project will involve getting the Navy and the nation knitting, sewing and felting. The Museum together with the Arts Stop Café’s Guerrilla Knitters, naval personnel and the community, aims to create a huge seaside themed ‘yarnscape’ for the Family Area at the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
The project was created in response to discovering 1940s patterns from ‘The Department for Knitted Garments for the Royal Navy’ in the collection at the NMRN, along with wool pictures created by sailors in 1850s, embroidered slippers, naval collection of mascots and even toys made by the sailors themselves for their children. There is a long history of crafts in the Navy and the project is a way of drawing people’s attention to this cultural heritage. One of the aims of the project is to continue this tradition by asking anyone who is currently posted on a ship to knit or crochet a sea creature for the artwork.
Chief Petty Officer Ian Macdonald – Chief Logistician (Catering Services) Specialisation Production and HMS Victory Officer of the Day, has already started to learn the skill and says it is a “fabulous project, knitting is the most calming and relaxing new venture I’ve had in years.”
Anyone can be involved in the project no matter their age or location, if they contact the NMRN they will be sent a pattern with instructions on how to make a sea creature or flower to add to the Portsmouth Seaside ‘yarnscape’. The intention is to reach as far and as wide as possible, so the organisers would like to encourage people to pass the patterns onto anyone they know, anywhere in the world, to make the project truly global.
Jo Valentine – Community Engagement Officer, National Museum of the Royal Navy, commented “I can’t wait to see all the amazing crafted creatures and flowers arrive in my pigeonhole at work! The involvement of all of these people will create a truly unique piece of community artwork which will hang pride of place in a National Museum; it’s incredibly exciting.”
As part of the project the Arts Stop Café’s Guerrilla Knitters will also be going out into the Community with museum staff to encourage schools, WI groups, brownies, church groups, residential homes and people across the area to participate. Free drop-in sessions will also be run by the artists from the Arts Stop café at the Museum in September and October for those who don’t know how to knit or crochet or need a refresher.
Katrina Henderson who runs the Art Stop Café commented “the group are really excited to be involved in such an exciting project, to help revive the skill of knitting with the Navy through this fun Community Project.”
The NMRN is also looking for businesses to sponsor or donate materials and will be pleased to hear from anyone who can give them beads, threads, wool, needles or buttons.
The aim is to have a finished piece for the Family Area at the National Museum of the Royal Navy and HMS Victory by January 2013. As Deborah Hodson – Learning Manager, National Museum of the Royal Navy, explains “this project is a great way for people to connect with the cultural heritage of the Royal Navy and our collections. It is part of our Heritage Lottery Funded Storehouse 10 new galleries project (see Notes for Editors below) and we will even be getting some of the 1940s patterns that inspired it knitted up for the new galleries for people to try on.”
Anyone who would like to be involved, know someone who would be interested in making something for the project or have any materials that they can donate please call Jo Valentine, Community Engagement Officer on 02392 727595 or email email@example.com and she will send additional information and the patterns needed to create your art piece.
Notes for Editors
Photos Left to Right Royal Navy Personnel: Chief Petty Officer Andy Dorricott, Chief Petty Officer Sid Street and Chief Petty Officer Ian Macdonald
Art’s Stop Café’s Guerilla Knitters with Royal Navy personnel (Chief Petty Officer Andy Dorricott, Chief Petty Officer Ian Macdonald and Chief Petty Officer Sid Street).
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE ROYAL NAVY: STOREHOUSE 10 NEW GALLERIES PROJECT- OPENING 2014
The National Museum of the Royal Navy, in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, is developing new 20th and 21st century galleries exploring how the Royal Navy has shaped the modern world and its profound impact on national and international life. Currently there is no single exhibition in the country that examines and shares this story. The Museum’s ‘Storehouse 10: New Galleries Project’ is filling this gap.
The £4.5m project, with support of £1.4m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, is creating new gallery spaces and exhibitions telling the story of the Royal Navy since 1900 whilst providing learning activities and new opportunities for participation. This project is part of the Storehouse 10 development engaging people locally and nationally with the story of the Navy.
ARTS STOP CAFÉ’s GUERILLA KNITTERS
The art stop cafe was established in March 2010 and is run by Katrina Henderson. It is based in Eastney Community Centre, Portsmouth, their aim is to bring the arts to a new audience and the community. As well as promoting the work of local and emerging artists within the Portsmouth area by exhibiting their work within the space, and allowing them to have the opportunity to engage with public and discuss their work.