Adult Craft Workshop: Learn how to Crochet

Rug Making at Dorset County Museum 2012On Wednesday 9th December between 1pm and 3.30pm, the Museum is running a crochet workshop for adults.

The session is part of a series of workshops, and is designed specifically for beginners who wish to try out a new craft or technique. Tickets cost £10.00 each, and as places are limited to just 15, booking is essential. All materials will be provided.

No previous knowledge is required for this friendly workshop. Tickets are available from the Museum shop or by phone on 01305 756827.

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Dorset’s Church Treasure: Telling the Story of Christianity through the Centuries

17th Century Chalice from SwanageAn exhibition of Ecclesiastical Silver at Dorset County Museum, Dorchester from 13th October 2014 to 18th April 2015.

In Christian churches, the act of communion has always been the most important religious ceremony. Traditionally congregations wished to have the very best communion vessels that they (or their richest members) could afford. As a result Dorset churches have a wealth of beautiful and rare collections of silver, some of it so valuable that it has to be stored in bank vaults. A new exhibition at Dorset County Museum provides a rare opportunity to see some of the finest pieces in both Dorset and the UK.

The new temporary exhibition in the Museum’s Victorian Gallery tells the story of Christianity for over 2000 years – from Pre-Reformation times to the present day. Crafted by world-famous silversmiths, the pieces include the Coombe Keynes Chalice from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London – an object of huge national importance.

Dorset appears to have had a strong Christian community as far back as Roman times. An example of this tradition is a Roman spoon from Dorchester with the “fish” Christian cipher.

By the early 16th century England was a devoutly Christian country and only the Priest was normally allowed to take full communion. He drank wine from a wide mouth vessel called a chalice and took bread, in the form of an unleavened wafer, from a small plate called a paten. Pieces of church silver from this period in England are rare and in Dorset only three pieces survive. All of these can be seen in the exhibition including the Coombe Keynes Chalice which has been said by the Victoria and Albert Museum to be one of the finest in the country.

Many consider the 18th century as the greatest period for church and domestic silver and Paul de Lamerie is generally accepted as the greatest silversmith of the time; some say of all time. On display is one of the three silver-gilt communion sets made by de Lamerie for Dorset churches. There is also a letter, dated June 1737, which records instructions on how to clean the silver as directed by Paul de Lamerie, himself.

In the mid-1800s a new Anglo Catholic movement wanted to bring more powerful emotional symbolism and energy to the Church. More elaborate church interiors were introduced and the design of communion ware moved to a more mediaeval style. The chalice on show from St Peter’s church Parkstone is a fine example of the richness and ebullience of this style. The chalice is inlaid with semi-precious stones and has a diamond cross on the front, reputed to be from necklace owned by the donor.

“This exhibition contains some of the finest pieces of church silverware in the country,” said Jon Murden, Director of Dorset County Museum. “We are grateful to all the Dorset parishes which have loaned items for us to display. We hope many people will be able to see these hidden treasures before they go back into safe storage.”

In addition to silver chalices, patens and flagons, there are other fascinating items including a very rare bread knife for cutting communion bread. Accompanying the exhibition is a booklet describing Dorset’s ecclesiastical silver and the development of Christianity in Dorset since the 4th century.

The exhibition will be formally opened by the Bishop of Sherborne, Dr. Graham Kings, and will run at Dorset County Museum from 13th October 2014 to 18th April 2015.

The award-winning Museum is open Monday to Saturday, 10.00am to 5.00pm until the end of October when it closes daily at 4.00pm.

For more information please Tel: 01305 262735 or visit our website at www.dorsetcountymuseum.org.

Event: Learn to Crochet at Dorset County Museum

Rug Making at Dorset County Museum 2012

Rug Making at Dorset County Museum 2012

Evening craft sessions for adults start 26th February 2013. Following the huge success of daytime craft sessions in 2012, Dorset County Museum is now running a series of evening sessions, just for adults, on a number of different crafts and techniques. 

The first session is ‘Crochet for Beginners’ and will be held on Tuesday 26th.

February at the Museum.  Running from 6.00pm to 8.00pm, the cost is £7.50 per person and pre-booking is essential as numbers are limited to a maximum of 15 per session.  All the materials will be provided and participants will be able to learn enough basic techniques to make a simple coaster or place mat.

No previous skill is required for this session which will be run as a friendly group activity – why not come along with a couple of friends or meet new people there?  In the coming months the group will cover silk painting (on 16th April), making rag rugs, silver clay jewellery and seasonal crafts for Christmas.

Daytime sessions also run throughout the year – the next one is Tapestry Weaving on 13th March. For further information pick up an events leaflet at the Museum or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org