Contemporary Arts - 2022- Fragment of a Dress, by Hannah Lamb

Textile artist Hannah Lamb explores clothing and memories
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Textile artist Hannah Lamb explores clothing and memories

Bingley textile artist Hannah Lamb has been commisioned by the Bronte Parsonage Museum to create an installtion inspired by our new exhibition 'Defying Expectations: Inside Charlotte Bronte's Wadrobe'.
Textiles and clothing can hold powerful memories, reminding us of people, places and special moments in our lives. The Brontë Parsonage Museum collections include many small fragments of cloth, associated with Charlotte Brontë. Hannah was inspired by these precious scraps of cloth and the way they have been treasured as keepsakes of a literary heroine.
Today, despite living in world of ‘fast-fashion’ and disposable attitudes to clothing, many of us still keep hold of things that help us remember people, places and moments in time.

In June 2022, Hannah Lamb invited visitors to tell her about a piece of clothing that was special to them. The resulting stories were sometimes heartwarming and joyful, but also often deeply touching; “My mother was a seamstress…I still have a wool coat she wore often. When I wear it, I feel her hugging me.”
The clothing written about ranges from everyday favourites “My grey hoodie…It helps keep me warm when I am out walking the dog” to those worn on special occasions “My purple and Black wedding skirt and corset, handmade by myself”. There are many references to handmade items, that have a special resonance, as well as items repurposed and adapted from vintage materials; “1920’s Chinese silk lounge dress… subsequently refashioned into a short cloak”. Home dressmaking and up-cycling or repurposing of materials would have been commonplace in the Brontës’ time.
With the help of students from Bradford School of Art, Hannah embroidered these stories onto fabric and created ‘Fragment of a Dress’ ; a dress of memories in the spirit of a mid-19th century silhouette.

‘Fragment of a Dress’ will be on display in the Servants Room in the Bronte Parsonage Museum from Wednesday 27 July to the end of Decemeber. To book tickets to the museum to see Hannah's installation, please visit or call 01535 640192.

If you'd like to read the transcript of the memories that appear on 'Fragment of a Dress', please click on the downloads button on the left hand side, where you can access a PDF or Word format.

Click read more to find out about Hannah Lamb.
Hannah Lamb is a visual artist, lecturer and author, working in the field of art textiles. Fascinated by textiles, clothing and the stories they can tell, her practice is a personal dialogue with materials. She has a passion for sharing stories of our shared material heritage, finding that even a tiny scrap of cloth can open up a myriad of stories, from the personal to the political. 
Hannah works from her studio in Bingley, West Yorkshire and exhibits across the UK. She is the author of Poetic Cloth: Creating Meaning in Textile Art (2019) published by Batsford.
We would like to thank the staff and students at Bradford School of Art who contributed to the embroidery of the piece;
Judy Ballard
Jenny Bennigsen
Jenny Bradbury
Sarah Bray
Jo Briscoe
Nicky Brunger
Natalie Dunphy
Karen Charlton
Helen Farrar
Pippa Foulds
Janet Gore
Catherine Hartley
Sarah Hilditch
Anna Kingston
Susan Oliver
Vicky Poulson
Karey Taylor
Sharon Turner
Lois Underwood
Mary Whitehouse
Suzanne Wright
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