This April, our Exploring Artism class had the special opportunity to engage with the museum’s Paston Treasure exhibition. After our introduction in the Docent Room, our group went upstairs to have a look at the 17th-century painting after which the exhibition is named.
Our group had plenty to say about the nearly 8 x 5.5′ painting:
“They’re wearing such old costumes!”
“Why is the room so messy?”
“It looks like the owner really liked fancy things!”
These “fancy things” are the highlight of the Paston Treasure exhibition, which brings together as more objects from the picture than ever before. After sitting in front of the painting for twenty minutes, we had the opportunity to take a look at a few of the objects on display. Ultimately, we arrived at the “bearing cloth,” a 17th-century silk fabric used for bestowing a child to a king. We talked about the process of making the cloth on a loom, and the year of work required by several craftspeople in order to make it.
We returned to the Docent Room to try our hands at making our own bearing cloths. Using shiny cloths, pipe cleaners, yarn, glitter glue, and plenty of beads, our group came up with several examples that easily rivaled the work we saw in the gallery. At the end of the morning we did a quick round of show and tell, then took our bearing cloths home to share with our families.