A craft commissioning project initiated by Somerset Art Works in partnership with The National Trust and curated by Craftspace.

Helen Snell_Stigmata Forks_Cred Nisha Haq

Stigmata Forks by Helen Snell (Photo:Nisha Haq)

Exhibition / Consultancy
2015 – 2017

Exhibition: 23 September – 12 November 2017 at Somerset Rural Life Museum.

Gathering was a craft commissioning project initiated by Somerset Art Works in partnership with The National Trust and curated by Craftspace.


The project originated in 2015 with an aim to investigate innovative and imaginative uses of Somerset’s great tithe barns. It took place at Stoke Sub-Hamdon Priory in South Somerset, a Grade 1 listed National Trust property with a large tithe barn.. The title ‘Gather-ing’ references the function of a barn as a space to collect/bring/gather people, animals and crops, as well as a symbolic meeting place to gather for celebration.


Four artists were commissioned to respond to Stoke-sub-Hamdon Priory site. Stewart Easton was lead artist in collaboration with the Quirky Quilters, musician Michael Tanner and sonic artist Gawain Hewitt. Jacky Oliver, Helen Snell, Gillian Widden and poetry technologist Christopher Jelley were associate artists. Their creative responses make particular reference to the agricultural and religious use and history of the site. Visits to Somerset Archives, contact with local historians and interactions between artists helped to inform the work. The range of ideas, skills and materials exemplify making and thinking through contemporary craft.

2017 exhibition venue

The artworks are being re-displayed in an exhibition in the Abbey Barn at Somerset Rural Life Museum. Completed in the 1340s Abbey Barn was used to store produce from the Glastonbury Abbey estates. Crops provided food for the abbey, fodder for livestock, straw for animal bedding and seed for the following year. It was also used by the community for special occasions.


Stewart Easton’s quilt is interactive and conductive threads can be touched to listen to a soundtrack. Visitors can create their own harvest of words from Christopher Jelley’s word cloud posts by taking rubbings using a word hoard activity sheet.

Exhibition details

Exhibition runs from 23 September – 12 November 2017
Somerset Rural Life Museum, Chilkwell Street, Glastonbury BA6 8DB
for details of opening times Tel 01458 831197

Related Events

Helen Snell_Stigmata Forks_Cred Nisha Haq

Somerset Rural Life Museum
23 September – 12 November 2017

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