Those who followed my travel blog in March will already know a bit about Jenny Adin-Christie’s Harp project that I and my fellow Retreaters worked on inWindermere. Jenny designed the Harp Needlecase to replicate (and improve on) one held by the Wordsworth Museum in Grasmere. The original was made by Edith Southey, the daughter of the poet Robert Southey, while staying with the Wordsworths in Dove Cottage. It is an amazing tool that we saw, and fell for, at the Wordsworth Museum in 2017.
Jenny’s work to reproduce it is extraordinary. It combines so many skills of embroidery, design and construction. Having achieved that, she patiently taught us, in tiny meticulously explicit, steps, how to make it. Unusually, the kit for this has been made available more widely after the retreat, for anyone interested.
I finished off the last of the embroidery at home late last week.
The construction began in class. It involved a bit of careful ironing,
I didn’t attempt the construction until I got home, had unpacked, attended to accumulated tasks and could clear an afternoon and a morning. The pinning and glueing took an afternoon. The night before I had been through the kit to re-identify and organise the many component parts, all in plastic bags carefully labelled. It would be very easy to lose something -especially while travelling. The only thing I was missing were some little pins to sit in the underside of the sound box to act as little feet. A pity, but fortunately the harp is stable without them.
Inserting the needles ( bespoke -manufactured in Japan to Jenny’s specifications) was challenging. I hadn’t expected it to take so long but the placement needed to be quite precise and I needed pliers to do it. I don’t think I will be taking them out to use on a daily basis (probably not in any basis!).
The final result took my breath away. I’m not sure, confident as I am, that I believed I could really make this. It is exquisite. I have ordered a dome to go over it. It won’t arrive until October. I don’t usually go in for display items but this project warrants it, I think.
How amazing is that?
Thank you so much Jenny!