Eighteenth-century paper was not made from wood but from cloth rags, not dissimilar to those that the Museum has in its collection as fabric tokens. Before the Industrial Revolution, people showed great resourcefulness making their own dyes, inks, fabrics and papers at home.
Working with artist Charlene Sandy over a period of seven weeks, a group from Mind in Camden explored the Museum’s fabric and paper-based tokens as inspiration to create their own works. The group were struck by the fragility and personal, handmade quality of these objects, through which individual personality comes through – in the evidence left by people’s hands and the processes they followed. Poignant touches show through in the embroidery, inscriptions and people’s initials.
During the project the group explored weaving, dyeing and making inks with natural dye extracts. This display includes handmade paper works, created by recycling paper and scraps of fabrics. Embroidery frames were used to create the paper’s circular form and personal watermarks were added, later layered with embroidery stitches. The project went back to basics, exploring the very fabric of things – learning how things are made and working with the idea of “using what you’ve got”.