Mounting the scarves:
All the scarves are cleaned and conserved before being mounted on stretcher frames. They are hand sewn onto three layers of fabric, with a top layer of silk, in a colour that complements the scarf. The art is to sew the scarves on with stitching that is barely visible to the eye, and doesn’t pucker or pull on the scarf. This technique has been perfected by Kitty Morris, who has been in the textile business for more than 30 years.
Kitty Morris Biography: A life in fabric
I grew up on a farm in Dorset, England, surrounded by sheep and cows. I also have strong Middle Eastern connections. My father, before he retired and took to farming, worked for Shell Oil all over the Middle East. My mother also worked there during World War II.
As a result of this, we had one of the most exotic farmhouses in the West Country, full of Persian carpets, embroideries and colourful ceramics.
As a child I always loved clothes and textiles. Having initially studied fashion, I became more and more interested in the construction of fabric. I flirted with the idea of being a tapestry weaver but ended up studying conservation.
When I finished my training I was shown a Suzani embroidery by a friend. “It’s very nice,” I said, “but very dirty!” I offered to wash it for him and my love of Islamic embroidery had begun.
Since then I have worked as a conservator, specialising in museum display.
I have contributed to major projects and exhibitions at venues and in institutions round the world. In the past few years, these have included:
Montefiore Endowment, London: vestment conservation programme
Winter Antique Show, New York
Arts of the Pacific Asia Show, San Francisco
Imperial War Museum, Lambeth, London
Sainsbury Centre, University of East Anglia, Norwich: textiles designed by Henry Moore
Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi: A Story of Islamic Embroidery
Swarovski, London: costume collection
Keats House, London: refurbishment
Pallant House, Chichester: Henry Moore textiles
Henry Moore Foundation, Perry Green: Moore family tapestries
Colorado Springs Fine Art Centre, USA: Designing Women
Denver Art Museum, USA: Fashion Art – Ascher scarves from post-war England