Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Unravelling Threads

The RE Workshop has a mystery to unravel. The dusty mound on the fallen table I noticed yesterday, is a ball of beautifully preserved and colourful cottons. Major J Sharman, Commanding Officer until 1945, may have light to shed on this. He wrote that some really beautiful embroidery and knitting was produced here, and that all personnel could use the RE Workshop "to make, for instance, perspex models, fully rigged galleons, kids toys and so on." These activities were compulsory, designed to counter monotony and the threat, as Major Sharman puts it, "of fort madness". Popular exhibitions of work made by the men were held in the barrack rooms every two weeks.... perhaps in this room where I am making art today.