A new textile commission about WWI – work in progress

sweetheart cushions in progress 31

This is a section of an outsized ‘Sweetheart’ Cushion in progress, it it made up of pieces of deconstructed uniform, felt and old photography printed onto hessian sacking.

I’ve been working on a new textile installation for a show called “The Art of Remembering” at The Rheged in Cumbria.  Here are a few first images of work in progress.  

sweetheart cushions in progress 1 2 and 35

Another section of sweetheart cushion. Using imagery of WWI toy soldiers overlaid with domestic fabric patterns and stitched about with sections of Victorian lace.

sweetheart cushions in progress 1 2 and 32

A third Sweetheart cushion is stitched like a domestic pillow on cream calico. It is set with lace and florals but is embroidered with the names and dates of all the conflicts Britain has been involved with since WWI.

The Exhibition looks at the process of remembrance and remembering and part of that process for me has been looking at my own family’s links to WWI which has led to a wider, if somewhat chaotic, exploration of the way we consider and reflect on conflict.  The very ugly truths of War are bound up tightly with our collective desire to commemorate the courage of ordinary people and to give a reason to tragedy.  

I had two Great Grandfathers that I know fought and lived to tell the tale, one receiving the Victoria Cross.  William Brown, my Mother’s Grandfather, lost his leg to a shell at 18 years old but went on to live into his 90s, apparently never speaking about his experiences.  It’s been a lot simpler to find out about my Father’s Grandfather. He was David Ferguson Hunter of the 5th Highland Light Infantry and one of the “Seven Heroes of Moeuvres”.  He was painted by Neville Lewis, sculpted by Jacob Epstein and celebrated in the Boy’s Own Annual.  

david ferguson Hunter 2

David ferguson Hunter


david ferguson hunter painting by neville lewis

David Ferguson Hunter by Neville Lewis.

and a drawing of him by Jacob Epstein

david ferguson Hunter 7 heroes of moeuvres by George Soper

From the Boy’s Own annual





About morwennacatt

Artist / designer / illustrator
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5 Responses to A new textile commission about WWI – work in progress

  1. Bev Morton says:

    Great and important work Morwenna.There’s a gentleness about this work that contradicts the reasons why it was created in the first place. Magical.

  2. Ian Hunter says:

    I am a grandson of David Hunter and will be visiting Oeuvres later this year as part of a trip to mark the Somme centenary.

    • morwennacatt says:

      Then we’re related in some way. I’m a Great granddaughter. It’s been a fascinating project to work on. I finished it last year and it’s been to a few galleries. Last night it opened at a show in Bradford and later in the year it’s off to the Shire Hall Gallery in Stafford for their WWI Centenary exhibition.

  3. morwennacatt says:

    The trip to Moeuvres sounds interesting – I hope you have a good trip. Incidentally David Hunter crops up in all sorts of places. We visited the Tate last year to see their big Folk Art exhibition. There was a fantastic embroidery celebrating the VC heroes of WWI and there was his name embroidered into it.

  4. Ian Hunter says:

    I have now compiled a pretty full story of his life.

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