‘Celebrating Catterntide’: Saturday 23 November, 11am – 4pm
Celebrating Catterntide is a one-day free festival that commemorates the long-forgotten ‘Catterntide Day’; an annual celebration of St Catherine, the patron saint of spinners, lace-makers, rope-makers and spinsters.
It also remembers Catherine of Aragon, whom whilst imprisoned at Ampthill, when hearing of the financial plight of struggling English lace makers, destroyed all of her lace only to commission some more and give work to the local industry.
Supported by a grant of £10,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Nottingham-based charity UK Young Artists (UKYA), along with Nottingham Trent University (NTU) Lace Archive and Backlit Gallery (itself a former textile factory) host a range of family-friendly activities to ignite and inspire people on this important archive and Nottingham’s social history. Since the mid-eighteenth century the lace industry played a major role in forming communities around the world. It was responsible for shaping the urban landscape of the City of Nottingham, not only physically, but also socially and culturally.
During UKYA’s ‘Celebrating Catterntide’ you can enjoy some traditional ‘Cattern cake’, also known as ‘Catherine Cakes’ after Catherine of Aragon, historically made by Nottingham lacemakers for the festivities on their special feast day. The recipe goes back to Tudor times, and has changed little over the centuries – flavoured with cinnamon and caraway seeds.
Take part in up to ten different activities, all inspired by lace and the historical Catterntide celebrations. At NTU’s Bonington Building, learn about the history of lace as an industry and art form through talks, workshops, storytelling and tours of NTU’s renowned Lace Archive, featuring over 75,000 pieces of lace.
At Backlit Gallery, understand the creative process of lace making and explore new contemporary techniques and applications of lace through workshops and installations. From jewellery making to a piano made of lace; creating lace from extruded plastics to composing an intricate lace carpet from icing sugar, there’s something for the whole family.
Also on display are exhibitions of lace-inspired work by students of Nottingham Girls’ Academy and NTU’s Saturday Art Club, and a screening of the short documentary ‘The Last Twisthand’ featuring staff from the Cluny Lace Factory, manufacturers of traditional Leavers laces since 1845 and the last UK factory of its kind.
UK Young Artists, which has been based in the East Midlands since the charity was founded ten years ago, has had an incredible 12 months, bringing 250 artists to the city for the UKYA City Takeover, a week-long festival celebrating the talent of young artists, musicians, dancers and performers. Over 32,000 visitors engaged with the City Takeover through exhibitions, performances, events and workshops making this UKYA’s most ambitious and successful event to date. In October, they awarded the ‘Robert Walters Group UK Young Artist of the Year’ at a prestigious awards ceremony at London’s Saatchi Gallery, with Sheffield’s Conor Rogers receiving first prize. Second prize winner Camilla Hanney will be exhibiting her interactive ‘Keeping Cattern with Pattern’ at Celebrating Catterntide – inviting visitors to help create a lace carpet made from icing sugar stenciled through lace samples.
Celebrating Catterntide takes place on Saturday 23rd November at Backlit Gallery and Nottingham Trent University’s Bonington Building. All activities are free and drop-in, except for the NTU Lace Archive Tours which are free but require booking due to the small number of people able to access and enjoy the archive.
See the full programme of events at www.ukyoungartists.co.uk/catterntide