Clare Champion, Friday, August 11, 2006
Clare Museum will launch its Autumn exhibition on Clare Embroidery on August 17. The exhibition will contain a selection of embroidered material, some of which is over 100 years old. The collection is a unique record of an industry which promoted the skill of hand embroidery to the highest standards.
It was begun by Flora Vere O’Brien in a bid to stem the continuous trend of emigration and to give young girls a skill which would help them to earn a living. The pieces were very popular and attracted attention from many different countries. “One of the most famous orders for Clare Embroidery dresses was from Queen Victoria of England who ordered twelve smocked dresses for her granddaughter”, said John Rattigan, Museum Curator.
This gave the industry the much-needed publicity it required to continue to flourish. The characteristics of Clare Embroidery were the durable, washable materials used, mainly cotton or linen, while the threads used were mainly blue and red.
The embroidery on display will date from 1889 right up to the 1930’s when classes closed down permanently.
The exhibition was last shown in Clare County Library in 1985, but it has now been given a whole new look with the use of colourful text panels and photographs to illustrate the story.
Admission to the exhibition will be free.