York Castle Museum

Community Room

York Castle Museum’s Community Room is a space for community groups and organisations to create their own displays based on our exhibition 1914: When the World Changed Forever.

Current Exhibition: Threads of War: Love and Loss in The Great War

16 July 2018 – 21 October 2018

Running through the history of the First World War are stories of love and hope, of loss and bereavement, of grateful survival. Using the motif of a heart, this exhibition brings together some of those themes through original and striking mixed media pieces.

Some of the hearts are from a much larger Untangled Threads exhibition of 100 Sawdust Hearts, based on the sweetheart pincushions made by soldiers recovering in hospital. Many record family histories and celebrate survival and the continuation and hope for the future, whilst others reflect a bitter despair at the futility of war.

Other hearts and works are on loan from the West Riding Ruggers. Inspired by their own family histories, and using traditional rag rugging and embroidery techniques, they have created joyous and colourful hearts which have now become family heirlooms.

Within the exhibition there are links between the First and Second World Wars: fathers fight in one war, sons and daughters in the next; their families continue into the next century.

A diverse range of materials have been used to create these works:

  • glass
  • wools
  • felts
  • silks
  • cotton
  • wood
  • paper
  • hessian
  • muslin
  • rope
  • canvas
  • board
  • metals

Previous Exhibition: Threads of War: Experiences of the Great War

11 April 2018 – 15 July 2018

Threads of War is an informal collective of textile artists working since 2013 in a range of materials and techniques on work commemorating The Great War, drawing on personal and family experiences. It comprises individual artists and members of textile groups; this exhibition also features work on loan from branches of the Embroiderers’ Guild.

Threads of War has exhibited since 2014 in a number of venues such as The Royal Armouries, York Chapel, Bradford Mechanics’ Institute and many local galleries.

This exhibition began with new pieces of work created to commemorate grandfathers, great uncles, and two local tragedies on the Yorkshire Coast during the Great War. Other works from earlier Threads of War exhibitions have been included to show different aspects of everyday life in the Great War. The knitted comforters for the troops are included since they reflect an often forgotten aspect of life at home for many women in WW1.

A diverse range of materials have been used by the exhibitors, echoing the diverse interpretations on display: wools, felts, silks, cotton, threads, paper, hessian, muslin, rope, canvas, board, metals.

Previous Exhibition: Women in the Great War

1 November 2017 – 2 April 2018

The Leavening Embroidery Group have created an exhibition celebrating the work undertaken by women in factories, hospitals, transport and on the land during the First World War while their menfolk were away.

Leavening is a small village on the Yorkshire Wolds, sixteen miles from York. The Leavening Embroidery Group (LEG) was formed in 2007 to make a stitched picture with a central panel depicting a view of the village, surrounded by smaller panels featuring various village events throughout the year. When completed in 2011 it was unveiled by Mrs Margaret Sentamu, wife of John, Archbishop of York.

Subsequent projects include contributions towards ‘Threads of War’, a World War One centenary Open Exhibition which has been displayed at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds and widely around Yorkshire. Inspired by ‘Threads of War’, LEG has completed twelve embroideries which focus on the role of women in wartime, taking on what was traditionally men’s work. These embroideries form the exhibition entitled ‘Women in the Great War’. LEG currently has eighteen members and in September 2017 celebrated its tenth anniversary.