Arts Council England
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Nottingham artist follows in the footsteps of the Mayflower Pilgrims

An artist and sculptor from Nottingham is set to create a bronze sculpture to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower sailing.

In January 2019, artist Rachel Carter was awarded a £14,815 National Lottery grant from Arts Council England to help her retrace the historic Mayflower voyage across the Atlantic and create The Pilgrim Woman.

A woman stands, surround by cameras on a circular rig.

Image by Avril Sanderson

In July, Rachel set sail from Liverpool aboard a cargo ship– in an echo of the 1620 Atlantic crossing of the Mayflower Separatists.  After eight days of rain, wind and rough seas, she arrived in America to become an artist-in-residence at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum in MA, where she taught over 500 visitors how to weave using the ancient macramé method, creating woven panels for her final sculpture.

Rachel Carter yesterday said:

"I made my own pilgrimage to get a sense of the feeling and isolation from my family. I wanted to try to understand and experience the feelings that the original Mayflower Pilgrims felt during their 66-day trip in 1620, so travelling to the US by ship, completely cut off from communication was the only way to do this.”

A woman stands on deck of a large ship, lookinhg out to sea. A sunset is beihnd her.

Peter Knott, Area Director for Arts Council England, yesterday said:

“Recognising significant events in history, like the Mayflower voyage, through art and culture is important for us all.

“The Mayflower journey and what it has come to symbolise creates mixed views in people.  National Lottery funding is supporting Rachel’s project, giving her the chance to trace the journey of the Mayflower, exploring the lessons we may learn from history, while creating new work and telling important stories at an international level.”

The final sculpture – to be unveiled in 2020 - will feature a hand-stitched Tudor-style dress, with knotted macramé panels inspired by her journey on the Kirtle and a skirt decorated by fifty woven panels made with women from across the Pilgrim roots.

The completed dress will be captured using Photogrammetry to enable the sculpture to be 3D printed and cast in bronze.

Find out more about Rachel’s workMayflower and Pilgrim Roots


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